The 2020 NFL Draft will be unlike any other. There’s no in-person event, unless a small studio with NFL Network playing little brother to ESPN’s broadcast. Teams won’t be allowed at facilities for the draft and the entire process has been thrown out of whack ever since leaving the Combine.
But there’s one constant. Mike Tomlin’s schedule seems about the same, minus having to get into the car each morning. His wife Kiya, lauded for making masks during the coronavirus pandemic, shed a little light into her husband’s adjustment. Which is to say, there hasn’t been much of one.
“He’s working full days,” Kiya told the Trib’s Chris Adamski. “It’s kind of funny, and we laugh about it because it’s very unusual for him to be at home and especially to be working from home. It’s kind of interesting to me some of the things I kind of overhear.”
Kiya Tomlin said Tomlin’s at his desk before 8 AM each morning, working the phones presumably with Kevin Colbert and the rest of the team’s scouting staff.
It’s the closest thing to normal he and the rest of the football world will get for the next few months. The NFL has mandated all personnel must stay at home during the draft, in separate houses (so no draft party at the Tomlin’s) with the whole thing done over phone and computer.
Of course, Pittsburgh will spend the first day of the draft sitting back and watching. They aren’t picking in the first round for the first time since 1967 and are picking the latest in a draft – turning in their first card at #49 – since 1963. That year, head coach Buddy Parker trading the team’s first seven selections, waiting until the 8th round to draft DT Frank Atkinson. Parker famously hated rookies and it became common for him to deal all his picks away; in 1961, they had only two selections in the top six rounds, only one in the top six the following year, and in 1959, also didn’t make any choices until round number eight.
But back to the present day. Every team is facing an unusual set of circumstances especially in today’s overly scrutinized world. But Pittsburgh seems confident their stability and continuity will pay off and oh by the way, will come out of the first round with the draft’s most impactful player in Minkah Fitzpatrick.