The NFL will hold a virtual mock draft Monday, giving teams a chance at a trial run before the actual draft kicks off under unprecedented circumstances later in the week.
The exercise could give general managers the opportunity to redraft some NFL legends. According to ESPN’s Dan Graziano, teams may choose from former greats as opposed to current prospects, as no one wants to tip their hand before the big event.
Virtual Mock for 2020 NFL Draft
“We’re going to do a couple of internal tests and trial runs here, and the league is going to have a mock draft, mock trial run on Monday that we’ll participate in,” Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn said.
“We’ll have fun making some mock trades,” said Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman, one of the biggest wheelers and dealers in the business.
With team facilities closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, draft operations have moved to individual households, and IT departments have been working overtime to outfit home offices so decision-makers have all the tools they need and are able to communicate with their staffs while working remotely. Clubs are using Microsoft Teams software for their virtual meetings, which Roseman described as a “godsend.”
Backup Plans for Connection Issues
There are safeguards in place should issues arise during the draft. The NFL can stop the clock if a team is having trouble communicating its pick.
“Three separate team individuals are able to submit the pick. So, if there’s an issue at one person’s house, two other team execs could submit,” a league spokesman said. “If a team is experiencing technological issues, the player personnel department would be in position to stop the clock. They could then ensure a pick is submitted or a trade occurs.”
Teams are running simulations to get as comfortable as they can with the new approach to draft day.
“We have a state-of-the-art draft room, an amazing draft room. And we’ll miss that and we’ll miss the contact,” Roseman said. “… Before we start the draft, I [like to] go around and give fist-bumps to everyone in the draft room, and after we make a pick, having that clapping and everyone is excited and watching the highlights together. We are going to try to do that. We are going to try to have all those things that we have there and have those opportunities.
“Again, we are not making any excuses for this. There are people who are dealing with a lot worse than we are dealing with. We feel fortunate that we have this opportunity to improve our football team next week.”
This article was first published by ESPN.