The NFL made official Monday what had long been anticipated -- the 2020 NFL Draft will be fully virtual due to social distancing guidelines in place because of the coronavirus pandemic, with personnel from each team working the event from their homes.
"We have made this decision for several reasons," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wrote in a memo to all teams. "All clubs will not have access to their facilities, which is contrary to the fundamental equity principle that all clubs operate in a consistent and fair way. Moreover, we want all NFL personnel to comply with government directives and to model safe and appropriate health practices.
"Our staff will carry out its responsibilities in the same way, operating in separate locations out of our offices. And after consulting with medical advisors, we cannot identify an alternative that is preferable from a medical or public health perspective given the varying needs of clubs, the need properly to screen participants, and the unique risk factors that individual club employees may face."
So how exactly will a virtual draft look?
SNY's Ralph Vacchiano spoke with NFL sources, who provided their understanding of how the draft will operate...
- A studio will likely be set up in Bristol, Conn., at ESPN headquarters, with the draft potentially being a joint broadcast between NFL Network and ESPN.
- Goodell presiding over the draft from his home in Westchester is possible but may not yet be finalized.
- Top picks will be interviewed as they are called with whatever technology they can get set up in the homes of each player.
- Individual teams will set up conference calls for media with their picks, similar to what they usually do in physical press rooms.
- Teams will also set up calls each night with the general manager and possibly other team officials. In addition, team officials will likely be available via video conference call for the TV broadcast.
The draft, which runs from April 23-25, was initially supposed to take place in Las Vegas.
The Jets have the No. 11 selection in the first round, while the Giants have the No. 4 pick.