The 2020 NFL Draft is less than a month away, the final big event in the NFL offseason before players and teams prepare for summer. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic worsening across the country, NFL coaches reportedly believe it’s increasingly likely that the start of the 2020 NFL season will be delayed.
According to Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman, there is a growing concern among coaches that the start of the NFL’s season will not go on as scheduled. The belief among coaches comes at a time when the Baltimore Ravens president admitted that organized-team activities are unlikely to happen and the teams are just hoping to have training camp in July.
League officials, including Roger Goodell, continue to express some optimism for the NFL’s schedule and the decision to stick to the 2020 NFL Draft being held on April 23-25 further proves that. However, coaches around the league are seemingly starting to understand the reality of the situation.
Coaches have started reaching out to their team’s doctors, per Freeman, learning the true scale of the COVID-19 pandemic. Rookie minicamps, a critical time for incoming 2020 draft picks, will likely be canceled along with OTAs. As the pandemic worsens, which it continues to do in the United States, potential cancelations and delays in the NFL’s summer practice schedule could follow.
One NFC head coach even told Freeman that he believes the league could consider moving to a 14-game season in 2020 to account for an altered schedule. While that frame of mind is more pessimistic, it’s a view that more and more coaches are reportedly holding.
The NFL shut down all of its team facilities on March 24. It was just the latest step in the league trying to navigate this unprecedented situation as it goes. If OTAs and rookie minicamps are canceled before the summer and things still don’t improve in June, the NFL might need to consider altering the 2020 season.
The NBA, MLB and every other major sports organization suspended their seasons indefinitely. Meanwhile, there is now also concern that the 2020 college football season could be in jeopardy.
For now, the NFL is determined to hold the 2020 NFL Draft and keep to its schedule for as long as possible. As we’ve seen in recent weeks during the COVID-19 pandemic, things can change rather quickly and that will likely be the case for the NFL if things don’t suddenly improve.