Report: NFL Setting Up Safeguards to Avoid Tech Issues During 2020 Virtual Draft

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistApril 8, 2020

FILE - In this April 25, 2019, file photo, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks ahead of the first round at the NFL football draft in Nashville, Tenn. In a memo sent to the 32 teams Monday, April 6, 2020, and obtained by The Associated Press, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell outlined procedures for the April 23-25 draft. The guidelines include no group gatherings. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, FIle)
Steve Helber/Associated Press

The NFL is reportedly planning to install several safeguards to protect against technical issues impacting the 2020 NFL draft.

According to ESPN's Dan Graziano, the NFL will test its draft system multiple times before the 2020 NFL draft commences on April 23. It is also putting alternate plans in place in case a general manager's internet connection cuts out or a technical glitch occurs within the system.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, NFL GMs will conduct the draft from their homes rather than team facilities. The draft was originally slated to take place in front of thousands of fans in Las Vegas, but it will occur virtually instead, and it will still air live on television under a revised format.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the NFL draft in multiple ways, including the cancellation of several pro day workouts and the elimination of in-person visits between teams and draft prospects.

Among the safeguards that will be utilized is a conference call including all 32 teams, which will allow a GM to announce their pick should something happen to their online draft system. GMs will also be permitted to email their picks if the draft system malfunctions.

Graziano added that it is unlikely more time will be given to teams to make picks and that it doesn't appear the NFL will honor Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert's suggestion of adding more rounds to the draft.

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One thing the league reportedly will do, however, is give teams some added leeway if they are working on a trade and discussions get interrupted by a technical issue of some sort.

The NFL has two weeks to work out any potential kinks in the system before the Cincinnati Bengals go on the clock for the No. 1 overall selection in the 2020 NFL draft.

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