The NFL Draft is currently scheduled to be just about the only major sporting event that actually takes place this coming April. As leagues around the globe shut down due to the COVID-19 outbreak that is now growing exponentially here in the United States, with the peak expected to come in April — that is if we maintain social distancing protocols — most every event is currently postponed until further notice.
The exceptions are UFC 249, which will happen at a yet to be disclosed location in front of no fans, and the NFL Draft. It won’t look like the extravaganza that recent drafts have become, but it remains on the schedule to take place April 23-25. However, if GMs around the league have their way, that too will get pushed back.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Dianna Russini reported Tuesday night that the GM Committee voted unanimously against continuing the draft as scheduled, but the league still plans to go forward. It is bizarre that you would have such a strong opposition to the draft from high ranking executives and the league would shrug off that suggestion, but that appears to be the case.
There is a chance things change, particularly as the pandemic is set to get much worse before things have a chance to get better. The report cites that most owners want the draft to go on as scheduled, but executives worry that there will not be ample opportunity for in person meetings, testing, and physicals, along with concerns about whether some teams will have a disadvantage if they are in areas locked down and not able to be in their facilities together while other teams are.
The concerns are valid, but it should come as little surprise owners want things to go on as usual. The league stands to be the only game in town that weekend and as such they would draw a tremendous amount of attention. We’ll see if anything changes, but for now the league appears ready to overrule the request of its executives and continue with the draft happening remotely.