With the coronavirus putting a stop to any and all social gatherings, the NFL has found itself stuck between a rock and a hard place. Weeks after announcing the upcoming NFL Draft would no longer be held in Las Vegas, commissioner Roger Goodell has opted for the league’s first “fully virtual" draft.
NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reports the league still has “logistics to work out" before the draft begins on April 23, though teams and front offices have been bracing for this possibility for quite some time. With the spread of COVID-19 preventing many teams from accessing their facilities, going the virtual route was a no-brainer. Goodell explained how he arrived at his decision in a league-wide memo distributed Monday afternoon, which can be read below.
We’ve witnessed the Zoomification of America in recent weeks with most major businesses (including this one) operating remotely. Following suit, Goodell has advised club personnel to draft in “separate locations” while communicating with each other and league officials via “phone or internet.” In that regard, the three-day event won’t be all that different from fantasy drafts you’ve probably held with friends and family, though the stakes are obviously quite a bit higher.
That gives Patriots coach Bill Belichick, never the most technologically-savvy, a little over two weeks to work out the kinks. Let's just hope he doesn't go on auto-draft.