A New Era for Football

NFL prepares for first virtual draft


AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Goal posts and other training equipment sit idle at the Seattle Seahawks’ NFL football practice facility and headquarters Wednesday, March 25, 2020, in Renton, Wash. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has instructed all 32 teams to close their facilities to all but a select few employees as a safeguard against the new coronavirus. Now the teams plan to complete the 2020 NFL Draft virtually for three days starting Thursday, April 23.

As the Coronavirus has severely strickened human to human contact, and sporting competitions throughout the world are being canceled or postponed, the one thing that is here to stay in the NFL Draft.

The league announced last week that the highly anticipated draft will continue as planned. However, the televised event will take place behind closed doors.

What does this sudden revelation mean for the NFL? Furthermore, how will the process of going virtual effect the draft?

The apprehension of moving to a digital draft has scared many league executives and coaches into making sure their picks and strategies are 100% secured.

“It’s a big concern,” Baltimore Head Coach, John Harbaugh said during the Ravens news conference. “Hopefully we’ll be okay”.

The fact the draft lasts three days has added on to the already surmounting restlessness of every team.

Although Harbaugh is not the only person who is worried about the security of popular social networking apps like Zoom or Skype, league executives from coast to coast have voiced their uneasiness to the virtual switch.

Fans, on the other hand, want the draft to take place, via Zoom or pigeon, they don’t care – just let it happen.

“Although it doesn’t create the full effect for the players, I don’t think they mind because it is for their future,” junior Colin Lovelace said. “I think the NFL did a good job improvising with the situation they were put with.”

As most students and professionals work from home, the NFL must acknowledge and try to predict problems that might arise with a virtual draft.

“The will have to deal with internet problems because there will be thousands of people attending the call,” Lovelace said.

Another red flag raised by the social distancing guidelines that have dramatically altered the entirety of the draft is the inability for coaches and scouts to effectively scout their projected picks. Even though many teams have already had an eye on their first pick, there are still plenty of picks following the first. And since the social distancing order has been put into effect, scouts throughout the country have become seriously ineffective when trying to find the best pick for their team.

Fans just want the owners and coaches to utilize the research they’ve already done.

“The draft has to happen,” junior Gabe Alpar said. Alpar adds that they have to do it virtually because the virus is not going anywhere soon.

With possible scandals and regrettable picks sure to be had, the 2020 NFL Draft will be one to remember.