2021 NFL Draft in Cleveland
May 23, 2019; Cleveland, OH, USA; Voice of the Cleveland Browns Jim Donovan, right, speaks during a press conference in Public Square to announce Cleveland as the host of the 2021 NFL draft. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

There is a growing sense that college football may not happen this fall due to an acceleration of COVID-19 outbreaks in the United States. One solution is that the college football season could follow California high schools’ lead and play in the spring of 2021. If that happens, would the NFL accommodate players by moving the 2021 NFL Draft?

2021 NFL Draft could be moved to first week of June

Bruce Feldman of The Athletic explored that notion and reported that it’s one possibility.

“Multiple people with knowledge of the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement told The Athletic that the 2021 draft can be moved to no later than the first week of June,” Feldman wrote. “A college football season prior to that would have to end early enough to allow time for all-star games, the scouting combine and pre-draft workouts.”

Of course, typically the NFL draft is held at the end of April. However, the NFL offseason could certainly flex to make way for such an arrangement. Though, if it were to happen, that kind of decision would likely need to be made sooner, rather than later. The city of Cleveland would obviously have to make significant adjustments to accommodate the change.

College football stars considering sitting out 2020 season if it moves to spring

One reason the NFL might have interest in making this change is that there are reports that top college stars are mulling the idea of not playing the 2020 season if it is moved to spring.

There’s a good reason they could do that, too. Injuries can absolutely tank a prospect’s draft stock. Playing in the spring, then launching directly into the pre-draft process without any time for recovery could also potentially lead to more injuries than normal.

Chances are, even if the 2021 NFL Draft was moved to early June, some players might still consider sitting out the season to devote themselves to preparing for the draft.