While the NFL has yet to make any sort of announcements, previous reports have indicated that the league has been resigned to the fact that the 2020 NFL Draft will not be held in any way in the manner it was originally planned. In fact, it is reportedly no longer planned to take place in Las Vegas, but rather in a studio setting.
This is, of course, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the necessary precautions being enacted by the government, including social distancing policies. They have recommended that gatherings of more than 10 people be avoided when at all possible. Some states have enacted even more extreme measures.
With the draft about four weeks away, the league still intended to hold the event when it was scheduled to take place, but in a different format. And teams’ war rooms will be different, as well. For example, Pittsburgh Steelers president Art Rooney II told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that they will have to scale down the number of people in the room.
“We have a lot of people working from home. Even people who are here we are restricting the number of people who can get in a room”, Rooney told the paper last week. “It will be a bit of an unusual year in the draft room, I would say, not having the full contingent of 20 to 25 people at a time in that room. We’re trying to work through it and allow people to participate in meetings remotely. We’ll do the best we can”.
Ordinarily, the team would have Rooney, Mike Tomlin, Kevin Colbert, even Omar Khan, along with a number of position coaches and the team’s scouts who worked on setting up the draft board all throughout the season, even going back into last year.
Obviously, they wouldn’t be able to fit everybody in if there is a head count of 10. That doesn’t mean, however, that they won’t be present. As Rooney mentioned, most of their employees even currently are working remotely, chiming in from home.
Kevin Colbert recently told the team’s website that they are still conducting their draft meetings as usual from their own couches, and while it might not be quite as good as being able to all be in a room together, they are making the best of it.
No doubt whoever is supposed to be in the room but can’t be will still be present remotely in some form or fashion, and will still have their voice heard. Not that it would matter much, because for the Steelers, almost all the work is done before they even get to the draft. They set up the draft board for a reason, and more often than not, stick to it.