Super Bowl-winning general manager outlines why the 2020 NFL Draft should be postponed

The ongoing spread of coronavirus has caused the postponement of nearly every sporting event in the world, but one event that won’t be postponed as of right now is the 2020 NFL Draft. With the draft now less than one month away, the NFL has made it clear that the league isn’t planning to postpone it, which is a decision that’s not sitting well with multiple team executives, including Saints general manager Mickey Loomis. 

During a recent interview on the Peter King Podcast, Loomis explained why he thinks the league should think about postponing the draft, which is currently scheduled to take place from April 23-25. 

“I’d be personally in favor of delaying the draft, so that we could get some of the work done that our scouts and personnel people ordinarily do,” Loomis said, via PFT. “And then just the logistics of trying to conduct the draft with not having access to your draft rooms and your offices creates a lot of logistic problems.”

Not only could there be logistical issues, but some teams might actually be at a competitive disadvantage. In some states — like California and New York — it’s possible that teams facilities could still be closed down by the draft starts, which means that teams would have to set up their war room at an alternate location. On the other hand, there could be other teams who have access to their facilities, which would give them an advantage. As things currently stand, the NFL has ordered all team facilities shut down until April 8, and then at that point, the league will gauge the situation and decide what the next move should be. 

The reason teams would prefer to be in their facilities for a draft is because of all the information they have to sort through, information that is readily available at their facility. 

“This is not a fantasy draft that you conduct out there with just a list of things on a piece of paper,” Loomis said. “There’s a lot of things that go into it to prepare, and there’s a lot of work that is done during the draft. Listen it’ll be very, very difficult to conduct that and do it in a way that you’re doing justice to the process.”

The other thing that will make it tough for teams to conduct the draft in less than a month is that coronavirus has thrown a wrench into the information-gathering process. 

“A large part of the information process hasn’t happened yet,” Loomis said. “And a lot of that gets done in the months of March and early part of April. And obviously we haven’t been able to do that. It doesn’t make it impossible, and yet it makes it much more of a gamble, much riskier than it would be ordinarily.”

Of course, every team in the NFL is on the same playing field right now. Teams aren’t allowed to fly prospects in to visit with them and all college pro days have been canceled, which means most teams are working with information they gathered on each prospect at the combine in February. Teams also have film on each player. 

Besides Loomis, Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta has also admitted that scouting for the draft won’t be easy this year, but he also added that the Ravens will be ready to make their picks no matter when the NFL decides to hold the event.  

“This is a challenging time,” DeCosta said, via the Baltimore Sun. “We can’t do the things that we’re accustomed to doing, we can’t be meeting with these players, we can’t be working out players, we can’t be visiting with players … So what are we going to do? We’ll have a plan.”

With no college pro days on the calendar, teams will be watching a lot of film over the next four weeks and that’s exactly what DeCosta plans to do. 

“Rest assured, I’ll be watching every single player in this draft and go back to my days as the college scouting director,” DeCosta said. “And we’ll work together, and we’ve got a great staff of people. And even if we can’t be together [at the team facility], we can get on the phone, we can work remote, we can video-conference each other, and we’ll make the best decisions that we can for this club.”

Although the NFL Draft is still scheduled to begin on April 23, the league has already announced several tweaks. For one, all public events that were scheduled to be held in Las Vegas have been canceled. Also, the league is apparently planning to conduct the draft from a television studio where Roger Goodell will presumably announce the picks from. 

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