Five teams set to struggle with virtual 2020 NFL Draft

By Matt Johnson
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The 2020 NFL Draft is only two weeks away and teams across the country are preparing for a fully-virtual draft for the first time. It can be difficult enough to run a draft room under ideal circumstances, but the COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home orders will provide even more challenges for general managers.

There are obvious concerns for teams working remotely during the NFL Draft. Among them, fears of hacking from outside organizations or trolls, anger over a lack of preparation time and the uncertainty of technical difficulties occurring when teams are on the clock.

Some teams, including the San Francisco 49ers with the help of John Lynch’s draft room, will thrive under the new environment. Unfortunately, other teams could struggle with the technology and an added pressure.

Here are five teams set to struggle with the virtual 2020 NFL Draft.

New York Giants

This is Dave Gettleman’s nightmare. If it was up to this general manager, the NFL Draft wouldn’t involve any computers and everything would be done on paper. Gettleman mocked analytics to evaluate prospects. When the Giants finally brought in more analytics into their front office this offseason, Gettleman showed his true feelings once again.

Now, Gettleman will be drafting from home with a computer. The irony of it all is hilarious, but Giants’ fans likely don’t feel too confident right now. It’s made even worse by Gettleman’s questionable track record with draft picks. The Giants might be better off if they just followed our seven-round mock draft for the team and told Gettleman to take a vacation.

Houston Texans

There might not be a worse coach in the NFL than Bill O’Brien. There isn’t a general manager worse than him, though, which the DeAndre Hopkins trade further demonstrated. It doesn’t help his reputation that his former players advise their peers to stay away, while O’Brien’s peers haven’t hesitated to ridicule him and mock how he runs the team.

The Texans are without a first-round pick this year. So, O’Brien will have two second-round picks and three top-100 picks to work with. It’s not remotely enough to address this team’s glaring needs, including the hole at wide receiver that O’Brien created. He should be perfectly fine operating his laptop, but there will be plenty of teams ready to rip him off on draft night.

Washington Redskins

Firing team president Bruce Allen and hiring Ron Rivera as head coach were great moves. However, this is still Daniel Snyder’s team and he’s going to make the big decisions. Given the Redskins won’t be hiring a general manager anytime soon, we’re even more concerned.

Rivera will certainly be involved in the decision-making process, but Snyder gets the final say. He’s infatuated with Chase Young, which will be a great pick for the Redskins. After that, though, it’s unpredictable what direction Snyder will go. That level of uncertainty with an owner that tends to make bad decisions, puts the Redskins in jeopardy of blowing this draft.

Las Vegas Raiders

Under ideal circumstances, we’d expect the Raiders to do very well in the 2020 NFL Draft. Mike Mayock is demonstrating that he’s an excellent evaluator and two top-20 picks can provide a strong start for a draft class. However, we do have some slight concern about Jon Gruden getting overexcited, taking over the conference call and submitting picks for the Raiders before Mayock can even blink.

If Tua Tagovailoa falls to the No. 12 overall pick, due to growing long-term medical concerns for him, Gruden would likely take him in an instant. Despite the team’s doctors not even getting the chance to examine the quarterback, Gruden likely would make that pick in an instant. There’s also the chance that one of Gruden’s favorite prospects gets drafted right before him and he smashes his computer. Really, Gruden is the ultimate wild-card coach of this virtual draft process and he will either handle it really well or break everything.

Los Angeles Rams

The Rams came into the offseason with minuscule cap room and even fewer draft picks to address their areas of need. Those circumstances would make improving the roster difficult enough, then the COVID-19 pandemic happened. As a result, the NFL eliminated team visits, Pro Days were canceled and teams lost critical time to evaluate prospects up close.

Now separated from his scouts and executives that evaluated prospects during the season, Snead will need to hope his internet connection provides a steady line of communication to his evaluators. The Rams will have one top-75 selection and four top-150 selections to address their needs. Snead was already under a lot of pressure to turn things around, now this offseason and remote draft will make achieving success far more difficult.