The NFL is planning on holding its draft April 23-25 despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but the location will be moved from Las Vegas to a studio setting, per Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times, as the league looks for alternative ways to host the selection process.
As a result, the tradition of inviting the draft's top prospects to be honored live is no longer an option. However, the NFL wrote to agents and stated that it is "working on a virtual solution that will incorporate prospects in the broadcast from their own locations," per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.
Top NFL draft choices sometimes eschew attending the event in person to instead spend that time with family and friends, but it appears as though all prospects will go that route this year due to the coronavirus.
The NFL may be moving forward as scheduled with the draft, but there appears to be some opposition to holding the event on its scheduled dates.
ESPN's Adam Schefter and Dianna Russini shared the general manager subcommittee's opinion on the matter Tuesday:
"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."
One source spoke with the ESPN duo further.
"I think a lot of owners aren't sold on keeping it on schedule," the source stated. "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."
However, Schefter and Russini also wrote that "the consensus among owners and the league office" is to keep the dates as is with changes to the format in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.