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The NFL is at odds with its general managers about the timing of this year’s draft during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Dianna Russini, the general manager subcommittee asked for the draft to be postponed from its scheduled dates of April 23-25:
“General managers are concerned that, in this current environment, with offseason activities and some teams’ facilities closed, there won’t be enough time for player physicals, gathering psychological testing, getting further verified information about the players and some teams having to conduct the draft from home.”
However, Schefter and Russini noted “the consensus among owners and the league office” is to keep the draft as planned, albeit in an undetermined location after Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday the event will not be held in Las Vegas as scheduled.
The league has made changes because of the COVID-19 pandemic, with free agency notably taking place without in-person visits and with physicals away from team facilities.
Though free agency has pressed on as scheduled with some adjustments, the question now is whether the draft will follow suit, though early indications are that it will proceed as scheduled.
Per Farmer, the league plans to hold the draft in “some type of studio setting with cut-ins from the headquarters of the teams making the selection at a given time.”
Still, there appears to be opposition.
“I think a lot of owners aren’t sold on keeping it on schedule,” one league source told Schefter and Russini. “Of course the power owners are calling the shots. Plus, add to the fact that April is going to be the toughest month with this virus. It’s really a poor look.”
As of Tuesday afternoon, there were over 375,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide, with 42,164 in the United States, per the World Health Organization.