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NFL draft to go on in April; Roger Goodell memo warns against public comment

By Tommy Fradenburg

Contributing Writer for Telegraph Local | See @tommyfradenburg

The NFL draft will go on as scheduled on April 23, and that is that according to commissioner Roger Goodell.

NFL wants April draft to go on as scheduled despite GMs’ recommendation

Despite concerns from team general managers about the reduced ability to evaluate prospects due to the Coronavirus; Goodell said in a memo released Friday that the NFL Management Council Executive Committee, “was unanimous,” in its decision. And while the decision may be unpopular, what Goodell said later might ruffle even more feathers.

“Public discussion of issues relating to the Draft serves no useful purpose and is grounds for disciplinary action,” the memo reads; making it abundantly clear he won’t tolerate dissent.  But in spite of the warning, an anonymous AFC executive called the decision, “ridiculous and embarrassing,” according to Albert Breer.

Goodell said one of the reasons to hold the draft to its original date is a lack of knowledge of when to move it to.

“Everyone recognizes that the 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.”

Changes So Far

The 2020 NFL draft was originally slated to happen in Las Vegas from April 23-25.

On March 16 the league announced its first alteration to the event, declaring it closed to the public. This came as a disappointment to some; with huge theatrics like carrying players by boat to a stage in the Bellagio fountains expected to accentuate the normal process.

On Wednesday a committee of general managers voted to recommend moving the draft date back; citing an inability to gather physical and psychological information about potential picks. New Orleans Saints manager Mickey Loomis, who is a member of the committee, spoke on the Peter King Podcast about the issue following the vote.

“I’d be personally in favor of delaying the draft, so that we can get some of the work done that our scouts and our personnel people ordinarily do,” Loomis said. “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.”

One example of a player team’s would like to see but can’t is Tua Tagovailoa. After a dominant showing for the majority of his time in college, his career abruptly ended.

After going down with hip injury in November against Mississippi State; the native of Hawaii has spent the interim working to return to top form. While he’s still likely a high draft pick, any team that selects him must now do so with incomplete information.

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This concerns many executives as the expectation for Tagovailoa, wherever he lands, will be to turn around a struggling franchise. Not just games, but jobs will be won or lost with the decisions made come late April.

But unless drastic changes come about in the coming month; executives will have no choice but to rely on the information they can gather from the seat of their couches to shape their teams.

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