NFL DRAFT LAS VEGAS: 100% VIRTUAL
The NFL will be the most online it’s ever been when the draft takes place toward the end of this month.
The NFL draft between April 23 and April 25 will be “fully virtual,” with prospects, coaches, general managers and executives stuck at home to make their fantasy-football-like selections. Furthermore, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made clear there would be no group gatherings.
“We have reviewed this matter in the past few days with both the competition committee and CEC (a group of league executives). And this will confirm that clubs will conduct their draft operations remotely, with club personnel separately located in their homes,” Goodell said in a memo to teams Monday.
“Moreover, we want all NFL personnel to comply with government directives and to model safe and appropriate health practices. Our staff will carry out its responsibilities in the same way, operating in separate locations outside of our offices.
“And after consulting with medical advisers, we cannot identify an alternative that is preferable from a medical or public health perspective, given the varying needs of clubs, the need properly to screen participants, and the unique risk factors that individual club employees may face.”
NFL DRAFT LAS VEGAS: 100% VIRTUAL
According to NFL.com, the league is “likely” to conduct a 32-team mock draft before the actual event to make sure the whole process goes off without a hitch. There would reportedly be multiple system checks in case technical issues arise during the actual draft.
But with the draft going completely online, coaches have expressed concerns with technical issues and security measures even with the reported plans to hold a mock draft.
“Yeah, big concern,” Harbaugh said. “Every time I read something in, like, The Wall Street Journal or the New York Times that talks about how messed up Zoom is, or some of these other deals … I immediately text it to our IT people, and [director of football administration] Nick Matteo’s one of those guys, and they assure me that we are doing everything humanly possible.”
Harbaugh cited even the most secure institutions in his concerns.
“We’ll see what happens,” he told the newspaper. “I really wouldn’t want the opposing coaches to have our playbook or our draft meetings. That would be preferable, if we can stay away from that.”
Los Angeles Rams Chief Operating Officer Kevin Demoff was worried about how to make conversations private with teams already trying to get a peek at rivals’ draft boards, according to Peter King’s “Football Morning in America” column.
“How do you make sure your conversations are protected?” Demoff asked. “Someone could hack into this Zoom, and you’re probably not going to learn a lot. Hacking into a team’s draft room on Zoom is probably a lot different. That would be my biggest concern just from an encryption standpoint of how do you have these conversations confidentially.”
Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff also had concerns about glitchy tech and how the lack of preparation is going to affect who the best available player in the draft really is, according to FOX 5 Atlanta.
“We know that we’re not going to have everything; we’re not going to have all the medicals,” Dimitroff said. “We’re not going to have all the information that we maybe had in the past. [The philosophy] is need for sure, but it’s best player at that position for sure, which could be more than one.”
One of the main staples of draft coverage on ESPN and the NFL Network would be seeing the prospects react with their families either at the event or in their own living rooms. The happy tears and live interviews would seemingly be over.
The New York Post offered some insight into how the networks were going to gather player reactions.
Players like LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, who is expected to the top pick, will be provided with a camera from the NFL and he will film his reaction from wherever he plans on watching the draft, sources told the New York Post. It could be followed by a phone interview after the selection.
Aside from Goodell just naming players from his office, the newspaper reported there would be time devoted to highlight packages and even a potential musical act.
The NFL draft was originally going to be held at glamourous Las Vegas, with prospects being featured on floating red carpets on the Bellagio lake. The coronavirus and the worry behind the outbreak forced the NFL to make the necessary changes.
DAWG SAYS: I DO NOT REALLY UNDERSTAND HARBAUGHS CONCERN. ARE THEY PUTTING THEIR PLAYBOOKS ONLINE? ARE THEY GOING TO HAVE DELICATE MEETINGS ONLINE? MAYBE HE JUST DOES NOT UNDERSTAND HOW IT WORKS OR IS JUST ANOTHER WHINER.