We are now just over two weeks away from the draft, and all indications are that it will proceed as planned on April 23.
Well, not exactly as planned. The NFL already announced that public events around the draft in Las Vegas have been canceled because of the COVID-19 outbreak. The draft is still expected to be televised, but it won't have the same local flavor like it's had in recent years in Chicago or Dallas or Nashville.
As The Athletic's Lindsay Jones told DenverBroncos.com's Aric DiLalla, it appears likely that the league's television product will look something like this: Commissioner Roger Goodell based at a central location as the host, with connections to all 32 teams, 50 of the top draft prospects, key former players and die-hard fans. That model is not too different from what we normally see, though it's a much more scaled back version.
"It's going to be a good TV event," Jones said. "That's the big thing that they're really working on right now. It's still going to be on ESPN, on ABC [and] on NFL Network. We're all stuck at home. We can all take a break from [Netflix documentary] Tiger King and watch three full days of the NFL Draft."
What's also still to be decided officially is how the draft will actually be conducted. Thetwo options laid out to general managers and head coaches on April 2 are that they will either be allowed to work from their respective facilities with "limitations on both the number of individuals present and strict cleaning guidelines," or teams will have to conduct the draft from personal residences, prohibited from having a certain number of people together. Recommendations from the NFL's chief medical officer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and federal guidelines will be taken into account as the NFL makes its decision.
ESPN reporter Adam Schefter wrote on Saturday that teams are preparing to conduct the draft virtually away from team facilities, though no decision has been announced.
"The draft process from home, we're prepared for everything," President of Football Operations/General Manager John Elway said during a March 31 conference call. "I think that's one thing that we don't know exactly — what's in front of us — so we will prepare for all different situations, especially if we can't get back into our complex and make sure we have enough bandwidth for everything to be able to get everything done that we need to, depending on how many people we can have around each other with the social distancing. All those things we will start preparing for now."
With that possibility increasing in likelihood, The Gazette's Paul Klee says the Broncos' draft-day MVP might just be its senior vice president of information technology, Russ Trainor.
Below the Fold
The changes to the draft are affecting the other side of the draft equation, too. As Newsday columnist Bob Glauber details from his conversations with top NFL agents, "The biggest issue the incoming rookies face: an inability to meet with and work out for individual teams because all but a handful of pro days and all individual visits have been canceled."
Looking ahead to next year, take a look at this Denver Post projection of how the Broncos' new-look run defense might perform with Jurrell Casey in the fold.
Bored? Try your hand at 9NEWS' Broncos trivia quiz, as put together by Mike Klis.