The coronavirus is here. Some famous people have contracted it. Some people (the elderly, the infirm, the very young) are especially vulnerable to it. Social distancing, hand-washing and other measures are important. If you’re already sick, you need to stay home, and take every precaution to not make others ill. All of this we know.
Still, sometimes, there’s a thin line between caution and panic, and we don’t live in a vacuum. We won’t know for weeks, maybe years, if the various league shutdowns, postponements and delays were warranted, but we know, categorically, that the response to the medical emergency will have an unintended impact on many people. Among them are the thousands of players competing to land on 90-man rosters in 41 days.
Without trivializing those for whom coronavirus may prove harmful or fatal, we reached out to several NFL scouts to see how the cancellation of pro days and T-30 visits would affect the draft. Did they see it having a substantial impact?
- “Hard to say. Like the spread of the virus itself, lots of unknowns. (T-30) visits are a great opportunity for many to endear themselves to decision-makers above and beyond the tape. Pro days can have the same effects on area scouts, where a positive impression can motivate a scout to push all-in on a recommendation.”
- “Really will affect the guys who would’ve tested well who were under the radar who warrant another look, as well as the small-school guys who pop out of nowhere. Film will matter more than ever for sure.”
- “Uncharted territory. We would probably be more accurate if we drafted now before the fog of confusion sets in. They haven’t played a game since January. Biggest concern would be medical scores for non-combine guys.”
- “It’s going to have an effect across the board. Teams won’t be able to relieve character or mental concerns on players who they have questions on. Late-round and undrafted guys who can usually separate themselves by testing well won’t have that opportunity. Who knows how combine medical rechecks will be effected?”
- “Huge repercussions. Affects every level of the draft. The film will take precedence. Combine performances will be bigger influences now, more than pro days. Teams always want more info, (and) they’ll feel restricted.”
We’ll look at the impact the of the virus and the way various schools, conferences and leagues have responded to it in today’s Friday Wrap. It comes out this evening at 6:30 p.m., and if you’re in the business (or aspire to be), we encourage you to check it out. You can register for it here.
Troy Brown said:
Great perspective Neil. Thanks for staying on top of it. I can see the draft take place and it look a lot more like the early 1980s–very few people in a room, no players, 32 phones and the broadcast team being disconnected.
Coronavirus aside, that would be a dream scenario. One of the more overproduced events in sports, and that’s saying something.