A league-wide work-from-home order officially includes the 2020 NFL Draft.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell sent a memo to teams Monday, later published by ESPN's Adam Schefter, outlining the parameters for the remote working protocol during the draft, which begins April 23 and runs through April 25. Teams were told to prepare to conduct the entirety of the draft "entirely outside of their facilities and in a fully virtual format."
"We want all NFL personnel to comply with government directives and to model safe and appropriate health practices," Goodell wrote. "Our staff will carry out its responsibilities in the same way, operating in separate locations outside of our offices. And after consulting with medical advisors, we cannot identify an alternative that is preferable from a medical and public health perspective, given the varying needs of clubs, the need to properly screen participants and the unique risk factors that individual club employees may face."
The event, which will still be televised, is scheduled to include guest interviews and appearances from players, coaches and general managers connecting via video conference.
With coronavirus cases and deaths still on the rise, Goodell followed the instructions of state and federal officials in canceling the live event, which was booked for Las Vegas.
But team facilities are all closed and rather than a prospect and league party in the NFL's newest market, Las Vegas, players have been invited to participate virtually from their own homes.
"All clubs should dedicate their personnel and technology resources toward preparing for a fully virtual Draft, with personnel in separate locations," Goodell wrote Monday. "Our understanding is that many clubs are already well advanced in preparing for a virtual Draft and we are confident that all clubs can take the necessary steps to make the 2020 Draft a successful event."
The pre-draft routine has been muddled by the pandemic as well. Many top prospects were unable to hold pro day workouts and teams accustomed to hosting prospects at their headquarters instead were limited to video and voice calls.
There were recommendations to delay the draft as physical, intellectual and psychological testing of top college talent has been interrupted because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Cincinnati Bengals have the No. 1 overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft after finishing the 2019 season with a 2-14 record. Their selection will be followed by the Washington Redskins, Detroit Lions, New York Giants, Miami Dolphins, Los Angeles Chargers, Carolina Panthers, Arizona Cardinals, Jacksonville Jaguars and Cleveland Browns. The Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs will draft last in the first round, 32nd overall.
--Field Level Media