Isaac Brekken/Associated Press
The NFL is reportedly planning to use April’s NFL draft as a means of bolstering charitable efforts to help those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, more details will be revealed in the coming weeks, but the league’s primary goal is to increase COVID-19 relief funds.
Despite the fact the coronavirus outbreak has prevented teams from meeting with draft prospects and carrying out physicals, the NFL is moving forward with the 2020 draft, which will take place April 23-25.
It was originally scheduled to be held in front of thousands of fans in Las Vegas, but draft festivities were canceled as a result of COVID-19. The NFL has yet to announce how the draft will be presented on television.
Per Schefter and Dianna Russini, the NFL’s general manager subcommittee recommended to Commissioner Roger Goodell that the NFL draft be postponed because of the difficulties involved with working around the limitations that the COVID-19 pandemic has created.
Also, league sources told Schefter and Russini there is concern that some franchises would have a competitive advantage since teams located in states not currently in lockdown may have access to team facilities, while others may not.
Despite the issues, the owners and the league office are reportedly in agreement that the draft should go on as scheduled.
While the coronavirus outbreak prevented teams from meeting in person with free agents, NFL free agency has proceeded as usual, although some players with medical red flags could be waiting a while to get signed, such as defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and quarterback Cam Newton.
NFL teams won’t get to meet in person with draft prospects, and many of their pro days got canceled, but front-office members will have plenty of game tape and NFL Scouting Combine information to draw from.
It may not be ideal to hold the draft in an environment that prevents teams from getting all the information they desire, but the draft will offer a welcome distraction to sports-starved fans, and it apparently will benefit those in need of support amid the COVID-19 pandemic as well.