Lions fans got a preview today of what NFL operations look like in the current environment of remote negotiations and teleconferenced interactions with general manager Bob Quinn’s pre-draft press conference. Many members of the media and some Lions staff were connected on a joint video conference call:
I don’t believe this is the “New Normal,” but this is how we are doing today’s draft preview with Bob Quinn. pic.twitter.com/7yiRaTZ4rc— Jennifer Hammond (@HammerFox2) April 17, 2020
The distancing policies put in place by the league to protect athletes and staff have made roster building quite different from years past:
Today is the final day for restricted free agents to sign an offer sheet from another team. Up to this point, not a single restricted free agent has signed an offer sheet with another team. Quiet RFA market this year has likely been impacted by the inability to take team visits.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) April 17, 2020
This includes the functioning of the draft itself, which will need to take into account the possibility that teams may be cut off without a representative on-site to make a selection in person. The usual examples of teams having problems getting a selection submitted in time are the Ravens and Vikings episodes, but there will be no running the card from the team’s table to the Commissioner to make a pick this year. Instead, a team could plausibly have no way no communicate the pick through no fault of their own:
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said on a conference call that the league will have the ability to pause the draft and stop the clock at any point if a team experiences any technical issues.— Tim Twentyman (@ttwentyman) April 17, 2020
According to The Athletic’s Chris Burke, there are additional precautions to hopefully keep even severe technical difficulties from getting to that point, but you never know:
There also will be multiple layers built in for selection - each team will have three people capable of entering a pick. So, for example, the GM loses his connection, someone in player personnel can handle it.— Chris Burke (@ChrisBurkeNFL) April 17, 2020
Tim McManus at the Worldwide Leader reported that the league will conduct a mock draft on Monday to test the systems early. Philadelphia GM Howie Roseman joked that they will “have fun making some mock trades” during the exercise. Naturally, the mock draft will not involve real prospects:
One example I was given of how the NFL's "mock draft" might work is: Cincinnati selects Boomer Esiason, Washington selects Joe Theismann, Detroit selects Barry Sanders, etc. Just to make sure the systems work correctly.— Dan Graziano (@DanGrazianoESPN) April 17, 2020
If Detroit does not select Barry Sanders at third overall, I think a riot is in order. Hopefully everything goes well with the test and it’s smooth sailing on Thursday. With that, we now move on to the rest of today’s Notes:
- One of the greatest Lions games of the last decade is going to be shown on Sunday:
"They heard me saying 'clock' and it seemed like they were kind of falling asleep so I gave it a shot."— Detroit Lions (@Lions) April 17, 2020
Watch 2013 #DALvsDET on YouTube or @nfl Game Pass Sunday at 1pm and follow the in-game coverage right here.#LionsReplay | @budlight pic.twitter.com/BDR2XEgPp3
In case you were wondering about the status of Wheels at the moment:
Quinn on Stafford's health: "Health wise, he's good to go." Said Stafford would be a full participant in offseason workouts. "He's cleared medically from that standpoint."— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) April 17, 2020
- From Justin Rogers at the Detroit News, we find out that NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah has thoughts about two defensive options at the third overall pick (assuming they do not get Chase Young).
- The Detroit Free Press’ Dave Birkett posted the last of his position-by-position draft previews (this time for quarterbacks), and he has an interesting note about a Day 3 player the Lions could be thinking about. For more on quarterbacks from Dave, he also had a piece on how GMs may be viewing the risks and opportunities associated with drafting highly-touted quarterbacks not named Joe Burrow.
- Bleacher Report’s Martin Fenn does not think highly of Detroit’s offseason moves so far. He is particularly critical of the contract the team gave to Halapoulivaati Vaitai.
- Good work here by Marvin Jones Jr. and his wife Jazmyn:
My wife & I are so appreciative of those on the frontlines, serving communities through tragic times while putting their own lives on the line. Us along with Rubicon deli provided 400 @ScrippsHealth hospital heros w/ lunch today. So much more to do lets join & do what we can! pic.twitter.com/G9x1JLQWEb— Marvin Jones Jr (@MarvinJonesJr) April 17, 2020