Report: NFL Coaches, Execs Reluctant to Have IT in Homes to Set Up Virtual Draft

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistApril 8, 2020

A general view of the NFL Draft logo on the main stage during the second round of the NFL football draft, Friday, April 26, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Steve Luciano)
Steve Luciano/Associated Press

Some NFL coaches and front-office personnel have expressed reservations about letting IT members into their homes for fear of spreading the coronavirus, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has forced the NFL to abandon the traditional draft format. Instead, the league is making the event "fully virtual" and having all team employees work remotely. Teams are barred from having the traditional war rooms with all official NFL facilities shuttered for the time being.

This isn't the first concern to arise.

Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh told reporters he was worried about hackers targeting third-party video services such as Zoom, an issue that extends beyond the NFL.

Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff questioned whether the league would provide any remedies for teams in the event technical difficulties that prolong finalizing a given draft pick.

NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported the NFL is working with teams to address any lingering technical problems:

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According to Mike Garafolo, the league also considered Dimitroff's argument before determining it shouldn't need to add more time for the purpose of making each selection:

Even before the NFL's announcement about moving the draft behind closed doors, the pandemic had an adverse impact on teams during the evaluation process.

Conducting in-person evaluations and interviews has been all but impossible following the NFL Scouting Combine. Schefter and Dianna Russini reported March 24 the league's general manager subcommittee had recommended postponing the draft.

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