In a memo sent from Commissioner Goodell to the league, it was revealed that the NFL draft will still take place from April 23-25. Though general managers expressed their concern over the fact that workouts with prospects have been canceled, it was deemed non-beneficial to reschedule.
Goodell stated, “Everyone recognizes that public health conditions are highly uncertain, and there is no assurance that we can select a different date and be confident that conditions will be significantly more favorable than they are today.”
All events surrounding the draft that was set to take place in Las Vegas have also been canceled, as the state of Nevada remains in a “shelter in place” order.
With the absence of face-to-face assessment of prospects, general managers and scouts will have to rely on whatever information they have already gathered in the previous months leading up to the draft. While this doesn’t seem to be a huge issue in making a selection, as teams have already spent hundreds of hours doing necessary scouting, it could present a challenge.
Players who chose to skip the NFL combine and planned on private workouts are now not able to display their athletic abilities in person. Doctors will also not be able to perform physicals at this time and in the coming weeks leading up to the draft. This will cause difficulty in assessing a prospects current physical health.
When it comes to the NFL Draft, it is the NFL’s second most viewed event next to the Super Bowl. Not having players in attendance with their families or having fans fill the venue will be new territory for the league. The NFL still has yet to reveal the exact format of a TV only draft, but it is assumed that the selection process will remain the same.
While the draft is still a month away, here are the top ten prospects listed by CBS Sports:
1 Chase Young: Ohio St. DE – 6’5″ 264 lbs
2 Joe Burrow: LSU QB – 6’4″ 221 lbs
3 Isaiah Simmons: Clemson LB – 6’4″ 238 lbs
4 Jeff Okudah: Ohio St. CB – 6’1″ 205 lbs
5 Tua Tagovailoa: Alabama QB – 6’0″ 217 lbs
6 Jedrick Wills Jr: Alabama OL – 6’4″ 312 lbs
7 Derrick Brown: Auburn DL – 6’5″ 326 lbs
8 CeeDee Lamb: Oklahoma WR – 6’2″ 198 lbs
9 Tristan Wirfs: Iowa OL – 6’5″ 320 lbs
10 Javon Kinlaw: South Carolina DL – 6’5″ 324 lbs
Given the current need of the Cincinnati Bengals, who hold the number 1 pick in the draft, it is assumed that they will select Joe Burrow out of LSU. Burrow had just led the Tigers to an undefeated season and a National Championship victory while also winning the Heisman trophy. The Bengals current QB, Andy Dalton, will find himself in a similar situation as Cam Newton, looking for a new team after nearly a decade with the organization.
The second pick, which belongs to the Washington Redskins, will most likely be spent on Chase Young out of Ohio State. While young ranks as the number one prospect on many draft boards, he may fall to second solely based on the need of the Bengals. Young is an extremely gifted athlete and has been described as nearly impossible to guard at the defensive end position. He was one of four Heisman finalists and had a stellar junior season at OSU.
While prospects wait for their name to be called, it will be quite a different scene at the NFL draft this year as COVID-19 continues to alter the landscape of sports in the United States.