Earlier in the week our site asked readers if they thought the league would cancel or alter the 2020 regular season, and a plurality thought the upcoming season would happen in full. Based on a memo sent by the commissioner’s office to teams regarding the annual College Draft, that expectation seems to be the way to go.
11 days ago, the league announced public events in Las Vegas for the draft were canceled. Six days ago, Sam Farmer at the Los Angeles Times reported that a studio setting of some sort would be used and that there would no longer be any on-site event in Las Vegas (oddly, CBS 8NewsNow in Las Vegas does not list the NFL Draft on its tracker of canceled local events yet, so who knows). The latest memo confirms that whatever form it takes, the 2020 College Draft itself still has a green light:
League still insisting on keeping the NFL Draft on schedule. https://t.co/pIXT90jbh6— Pride of Detroit (@PrideOfDetroit) March 26, 2020
The lead paragraph in the memo notes that Thursday’s decision was unanimous among the Commissioner’s Executive Committee (CEC). That means the upper management of all teams — including the Lions — agreed that this was the best way forward:
The Executive Committee includes one representative — an owner or top officer — from each of the league’s 32 clubs. Any change in game rules, league policy or club ownership or other modification to the game must be approved by at least three-fourths of the committee. Without consensus, nothing will pass.
This is interesting because just this week the general manager subcommittee voted overwhelmingly to recommend delaying the Draft. Along with the widely cited Peter King interview with New Orleans GM Mickey Loomis (a member of that subcommittee), public desire to move the date of the Draft back was expressed by Denver GM John Elway in an interview on the Broncos’ official site: “We’d rather have it backed up so we can get all our scouts and everybody in, but if it’s limited and we can stay there and they’re not going to move the draft, we’re in good shape.”
The challenge created by elimination of most pro days, workouts, etc., as team executives explain it:— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 27, 2020
30-40% of players on a team’s draft board won’t have verified measurements
15-20% won’t have a medical grade
As one exec told me: “Some teams are really gonna f*** this up.” https://t.co/nHuY5EYu25
It is remarkable that the league is attempting to stay on schedule for 2020, even in the face of recommendations by its own general managers to push things back. In fact six teams in the unanimous CEC meeting voted against their own general managers’ wishes (the GM subcommittee vote was 6-1) to try and get the Draft date moved. Does this modification to the Draft while still holding it on the same dates foreshadow future NFL events or even games without fans present?
Unless the situation improves dramatically, large gatherings of fans for sporting events pose quite a bit of risk. NFL games that happen on time this year could look very different from seasons past.
And now, on to the rest of today’s Notes:
- Michael Rothstein at the Worldwide Leader reports that the Staffords have already upped their giving to six figures to Michigan area COVID-19 relief efforts and includes an update on running backs coach Kyle Caskey’s food drive effort.
UPDATE! In 24 hours we have already hit 43% of the $20,000 goal.— Kyle Caskey (@CoachKyleCaskey) March 26, 2020
But, we aren’t done yet! Please keep sharing this out there and let’s get these much needed meals out to Detroit area families!!!https://t.co/bHXgQgIGZ7 pic.twitter.com/BjuduSX4h2
- Dave Birkett at the Detroit Free Press had a fun talk with Mr. Orlovsky:
Lot of serious stuff going on in the world right now so had some fun with this: What’s on your bookshelf?— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) March 27, 2020
Dan Orlovsky explains what’s on his for those ESPN hits he does from his office. There’s a cool football, a picture of Jared Allen & more https://t.co/7jnj1eX4WB via @freep
- The Detroit News’ Justin Rogers has a new mock draft 2.0 out, and he gave the Detroit Lions a defensive player everyone in the fanbase is very high on.
- The Lions’ new No. 1 cornerback Desmond Trufant had a conference call with the local major media on Thursday. For some fine summaries of the call, here are links to stories filed by Benjamin Raven with MLive, the Detroit Free Press’ Dave Birkett, and Justin Rogers at the Detroit News.
New Lions CB Desmond Trufant, who grew up in Tacoma, Washington, said everybody in his family is OK dealing with coronavirus at this point.— Michael Rothstein (@mikerothstein) March 26, 2020
- Remember the talk about putting Tua in at 3 but not to Detroit? (hat tip to @davebirkett for noticing this one)
- Trey Flowers wants you to be smart and keep your loved ones protected: