Las Vegas Raiders general manager Mike Mayock said the team's front office is prepared to "embrace" doing the 2020 NFL draft in a virtual format after the coronavirus pandemic limited the predraft process.
Mayock discussed the situation on a conference call Tuesday:
"You can go one of two ways here ... you either embrace it and say, 'This is pretty frickin' cool that we're really just going to watch film and trust who we are as evaluators and trust in who we want in our building.' Or you can kind of look at it and say, 'Well, I don't have verified medicals, and I don't have verified 40s, and I don't have verified height, weight, speed,' and panic about it. And I think we kind of, as a team, as a building, we've collectively said, 'We're going to embrace it.'"
Mayock explained the most difficult aspect about the process has been trying to secure updated medical information about prospects, especially those who've undergone surgery since the start of 2020.
Otherwise, he's confident the Raiders have gathered the necessary information on potential draftees via Zoom, a networking service.
"We've spent a lot of time on Zoom. Our coaches have done an unbelievable job of preparing information to challenge the college players via the Zoom. I don't even know how many we've done so far, but it's been pretty cool spending up to an hour with each of these individual kids and getting to know them that way," Mayock said.
Las Vegas has seven picks in the 2020 draft. It's set to pick twice in the first round (Nos. 12 and 19), and all of the franchise's selections are within the first five rounds.
It gives the front office an opportunity to add a series of instant-impact players to a roster expected to take a step forward after going 7-9 in 2019.
Wide receiver and cornerback are the team's most glaring needs, though it could also use upgrades in the trenches on both sides of the ball.
Mayock joked that despite the technological nature of this year's draft, his preparations feel more like they're taking place three decades in the past rather than 30 years in the future:
"Everyone's talking about this virtual draft and how high-tech it is. If you could see my living room right now, it's the ultimate in low-tech. I've got five huge whiteboards, and I probably have a thousand magnets with names on them all over the place. So I kind of feel like I'm sitting in the middle of a 1976 draft room, and it's kind of back to the future."
The 2020 draft, which was scheduled to take place in Las Vegas before the coronavirus pandemic forced it to move to a virtual format, kicks off April 23 and runs through April 25.