NFL Rumors: Steelers' Kevin Colbert Proposed Adding 3 Rounds to 2020 Draft

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistApril 7, 2020

Pittsburgh Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert watches warmups before an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins in Pittsburgh, Monday, Oct. 28, 2019. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert reportedly proposed adding three rounds to the 2020 NFL draft because of the coronavirus pandemic, which has halted all in-person workouts and interviews between prospects and interested teams.

Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reported Tuesday that Colbert made the suggestion, which would increase the length of the draft from seven rounds to 10, during a conference call with league officials. He said it would "widen a club's margin for error" given the limited predraft process.

The Steelers GM declined to comment on his proposal.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell previously sent a memo to teams in March, stating any "public discussion of issues relating to the draft serves no useful purpose and is grounds for disciplinary action," per ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Goodell confirmed to front offices Monday they will conduct the 2020 draft, which is scheduled to take place April 23-25, from their homes rather than team facilities:

"Because of these circumstances, clubs have been advised to prepare to conduct the 2020 draft entirely outside of their facilities and in a fully virtual format, with club personnel in separate locations and able to communicate with one another and draft headquarters by phone or internet. We have reviewed this matter in the past few days with both the competition committee and CEC, and this will confirm that clubs will conduct their draft operations remotely, with club personnel separately located in their homes."

A 10-round draft would give teams a chance to spend a couple of extra picks on high-risk, high-reward prospects they would have otherwise brought in for a closer look on a private workout and interview. Oftentimes, those are the players clubs target as priority undrafted free agents in the immediate aftermath of the draft.

"Some team decision-makers believe that late-round picks and undrafted players will be impacted much more than Day 1 or 2 prospects by the amended process," Mehta wrote.

It's unlikely the NFL and players association would reach an agreement to make such a large-scale change to the draft with just 16 days until it gets started, though.