After weeks of discussions, the league has finally announced that the NFL Draft 2020 will be conducted in a 'fully virtual' format due to the coronavirus pandemic. NFL Network's Tom Pelissero noted that league commissioner Roger Goodell has informed all the 32 teams that the club facilities will remain closed for an indefinite period of time and the draft will be conducted from a studio in a virtual format.
NFL.com subsequently released full details of the memo which read, 'Given current and expected conditions, and to ensure that we operate responsibly and in full compliance with current regulations, both League and Club facilities will remain closed indefinitely. We will reopen facilities when it is safe to do so based on medical and public health advice, and in compliance with government mandates.'
'Because of these circumstances, clubs have been advised to prepare to conduct the 2020 Draft entirely outside of their facilities and in a fully virtual format, with club personnel in separate locations and able to communicate with one another and Draft headquarters by phone or internet. We have reviewed this matter in the past few days with both the Competition Committee and CEC, and this will confirm that Clubs will conduct their Draft operations remotely, with club personnel separately located in their homes', it added.
As the NFL works on a virtual draft experience for prospects, 2 interesting notes:— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 3, 2020
— EA Sports will create a virtual moment of the prospect walking out on stage meeting the Commissioner.
— Each prospect will choose a HS to receive a $2,500 grant towards their football program.
Earlier in March, the league stopped teams from conducting pre-draft visits with prospects. This already forced the teams to rely on virtual methods to meet with prospective players ahead of the draft. In the memo, Roger Goodell further explained that all the 32 teams will make use of their personnel and technology to successfully conduct the NFL Draft 2020 and from their remote locations. Goodell noted that the league's staff, who were supposed to be involved with the event, will remain in constant touch with the respective teams throughout the draft.
Despite the various changes in the draft format and its location, the NFL Draft 2020 dates remained unchanged. The draft is still scheduled for April 23-25, 2020. However, originally, the draft was scheduled to take place in Las Vegas, with several public events planned to make the draft a massive celebration. However, due to the country-wide lockdown, the league was forced to cancel all draft-related events. The draft was eventually moved out of Las Vegas and now looks set to be hosted from a TV Studio.
Ohio State's Chase Young, LSU's Joe Burrow, Clemson line back Isaiah Simmons, Ohio State star Jeff Okudah and Alabama star Tua Tagovailoa remain the most sought-after prospects heading into the NFL Draft 2020. The Cincinnati Bengals currently have the No. 1 pick in the draft.
Today would’ve been our pro day, a day I had been looking forward to for a long time and the last time 2019-2020 LSU Tigers competed together. I miss my guys.— Joey Burrow (@Joe_Burrow10) April 3, 2020