COVID-19 has put a hold on many normal activities; creating havoc all over the world. The sports industry has been heavily affected: Major League Baseball delayed its season; the NCAA cancelled Spring sports, the NBA dunked its season and the 2020 Olympics are toast.
The upcoming NFL Draft is also being affected. With the draft less than a month away, the Green Bay Packers are trying hard to figure out how to get a proper evaluation of all the incoming talent.
After the NFL combine at the end of February, most NFL teams shift 100% of their focus to meeting with, working out, and doing medical checks on the many prospects trying to get into the league. In addition, every college football program with a player deemed draftable holds what’s known as a Pro Day. Pro Days are private workouts where all of the players participate in football drills in front of Coaches, General Managers, Scouts, and sometimes even Owners.
A Totally Different Methodology
Pro Days are usually held in the weeks leading up to the draft to give players a final chance to make an impression. However, with the travel restrictions and social gathering bans, NFL teams are left having to evaluate players differently. These days, teams can only focus on game film, talking to former coaches, and conducting interviews over the phone.
FOX College Football Analyst Joel Klatt said the virus could have big implications. “Players are really left with the film they had from last season and what they did at the Combine. Though this doesn’t affect all the players, it really affects the guys who were injured or didn’t get invited to the combine. Teams won’t have as much access to medical records and the guys not invited to the combine don’t get a chance to workout in front of scouts. Last year, 30 players who were not invited to the combine were drafted. This year, that number will not even be close.
The NFL draft is still scheduled April 23-25. However, this will no longer be a live event in front of thousands of fans in Las Vegas. It will still be televised, but the NFL is working on the format that will keep the players, fans, and team personnel safe from the virus.
It’s going to be an interesting draft!
Written by: Nik Sandona
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