The NFL is planning to go ahead with the draft in April despite a recommendation from a GM subcommittee to push it back, a new report claims.
Mark Maske of The Washington Post reported on Twitter that the league had no plans to delay the draft, even as general managers were raising concerns that teams may not be properly prepared to go forward with it.
“The league does not plan to delay the NFL draft, source said, despite the recommendation by a GMs’ subcommittee to do so,” he wrote. “That recommendation was first reported by ESPN.”
The ESPN report hinted at tension between the league and the subcommittee, which recommended that the league delay its annual draft due to the coronavirus outbreak. The general manager group reportedly had concerns that a shutdown on travel and group gatherings enacted in a number of states would make it impossible for teams to properly evaluate players, including conducting physicals and gathering psychological testing. The subcommittee had voted 6-1 to recommend pushing back the draft, the report noted.
The subcommittee’s decision was spurred by the fact that some states have placed more stringent measures against travel and gatherings, and that this would have a disproportional impact around the league.
“League sources have said it would be a competitive disadvantage to have some teams in their training facilities during the draft while teams in California, New Jersey and other hard-hit areas would be in lockdown and unable to be in their teams’ buildings,” the report noted.
The NFL pushed forward with the opening of its new league year and free agency, despite some initial rumors that this too would be delayed. All major American sports leagues have either suspended seasons or, in the case of Major League Baseball, pushed back the start of the season indefinitely while the nation deals with the COVID-19 pandemic. With team activities not starting for several more weeks, the NFL has not had to delay.
While the NFL Draft itself is still set to take place between April 22-25 as scheduled, there are reportedly some major changes in the works. As The Inquisitr reported, the league is canceling plans to hold the draft in Las Vegas and is exploring other options, including holding it in a studio. Las Vegas has enacted widespread closings, with hotels and casinos shuttering indefinitely in an effort to stop the spread of the virus, making the prospect of holding it there unlikely.