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Report: Steelers’ GM proposed expanding 2020 NFL Draft due to COVID-19 restrictions

Pittsburgh Steelers helmets on the field during training camp.
© Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced significant alterations to the NFL offseason and the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft. Due to a flurry of restrictions on teams and prospect, Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert reportedly pushed for the league to expand this year’s draft.

According to The New York Post’s Mannish Mehta, Colbert told league officials during a conference call that each NFL team should be given three additional drafts picks in the 2020 NFL Draft.

The rationale to expand the draft to 10 rounds is based on restrictions that the NFL has put in place with the ongoing pandemic. In early March, the NFL shut down all visits between draft prospects and teams. This came after organizations pulled their coaches and scouts from the road with colleges canceling Pro Days or closing them off to the public.

While the decisions were understandably made out of precaution, multiple players will see their draft stock suffer because of the restrictions. Likewise, NFL teams no longer have the ability to have in-person meetings, put players through workouts and medically clear them.

Colbert’s proposal would give each organization three additional picks to help mitigate the greater risk that will come with the unknown from this year’s draft. However, the NFL Players’ Association would likely push back on it since it would hurt prospects. Many players prefer going undrafted rather than being a late-round pick because it allows them to pick the best fit for them.

Ultimately, the NFL is going to stick to its current format. General managers pushed for the 2020 NFL Draft to be pushed back and the NFL ignored their request. The league wants to provide as much normalcy as possible during a difficult time, which is why the seven-round draft will take place from April 23-25.