The 2020 NFL Draft is just weeks away and the league is reportedly still trying to figure out how it will navigate a virtual draft experience. Among the changes the NFL is considering to the draft structure, brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, is reportedly allowing teams a one-time extension while they are on the clock.
According to The Athletic’s Lindsay Jones and Daniel Kaplan, NFL teams are preparing as if the stay-at-home orders will remain in place when the 2020 NFL Draft is held form April 23-25. Due to the logistical complications that would be caused by multiple executives from every team working from their homes, the NFL has considered a potential solution that would grant teams a time extension while they are on the clock.
In previous drafts, teams are each given a 10-minute window to submit their pick or trade it when they are on the clock in the first round. From there, the teams have seven minutes for second-round picks, five minutes for Round 3-6 and four minutes in Round 7. If given a one-time exemption to receive more time to make a pick, teams would have to choose very carefully with the risk of using it then running into technical issues later in the draft.
Multiple general managers asked for the 2020 NFL Draft to be pushed back, but the NFL’s executive committee unanimously voted to move forward with it as scheduled. Now, general managers and team personnel have had to make at-home draft rooms, which could now become where they submit their pick from.
The NFL is expected to send devices to top draft prospects so they can conduct interviews and record their reactions for the television broadcasts. Meanwhile, the league continues to plan out a way to use the NFL Draft as a fundraising platform for COVID-19 relief efforts.
While the 2020 NFL Draft will provide an escape for many sports fans during a difficult time, the experience will be very different for everyone taking part and watching. Normally a public event with incredible fan support, live reactions and an enjoyable atmosphere, this year’s NFL Draft will reflect the isolated experience that everyone is going through.