The 2020 NFL Draft will be conducted in a way that none other has ever been done before, both in terms of the manner in which it is conducted as well as the broadcasting component. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, large groups of people are too dangerous, so the idea of holding the draft in a big gathering in Las Vegas had to be scrapped long ago.
More recently, it was concluded that teams will not even gather, even in skeleton crews, at their team facilities in their draft/war rooms to conduct the draft. Instead, general managers will call in their picks from their own homes.
Now a staple of the draft broadcast, players would ordinarily be invited to be personally in attendance at the event. That is, of course, not possible this year. But 58 players have agreed to have cameras in their homes for the experience, and likely will participate in interviews.
All of this required planning and implementation, including having IT crews going into dozens and dozens of homes in order to install the necessary cameras and other equipment that will enable the NFL and ESPN to produce a broadcast program that doesn’t look like a group of bloggers conducting a fantasy draft.
According to Ian Rapoport, this work has now been done, with cameras and things of that nature having already been installed in the homes of the general managers who will be responsible for calling in the picks. There will be backup plans in place in case things go wrong, as well.
As previously reported, the league’ 32 teams will participate in a ‘mock draft’ of sorts next week, which is really more of a systems check simply to make sure that everything is working properly in the hopes that things will go off without a hitch.
Rapoport writes that, in the event that the preferred mode of communication—Microsoft Team—somehow fails for one team while they are on the clock, everyone will be on a conference call, and that individual can simply unmute himself to call in his pick manually if worse comes to worst.
Truth be told, it really shouldn’t be overly complicated to get 32 people to be able to pick a couple hundred players over the course of a three-day period in a somewhat orderly fashion. But this is big business with a lot of money on the line, so it’s understandable that the NFL will want to take every precaution possible to ensure that things work as smoothly as possible under the circumstances.
Next week, there will be a “mock draft” of all 32 teams, which is really just a systems test. Picks will be submitted via Microsoft Teams — with several other redundancies in case of error. At worst, teams can unmute themselves on a league-wide call and simply say their pick. https://t.co/gnpsZMUueo
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 13, 2020