Fear not, if your favorite NFL team's internet connection during the virtual draft next week lags out, they won't be going on auto pick. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy confirmed on a conference call that the league will have the ability to pause the 2020 draft at any point in the event a team or trade call experiences some technical issues, as reported by Chris Burke of The Athletic.
Originally, the draft was slated to be the spectacle that it typically is and take place in Las Vegas, but the COVID-19 pandemic that is currently affecting the world is the reason why this year's draft has shifted to a virtual platform. Because of the virus, teams can't get together in a traditional war room and will instead be leaning on technology and will mostly work from home. Commissioner Roger Goodell, for example, is set to announce the picks from his home in New York. The New Orleans Saints, however, are taking a rather unique approach and will construct a war room at a New Orleans brewery.
Nevertheless, this will be quite a different version of the draft than we've grown accustomed to and it appears like the league is ensuring teams that they will be able to manage whatever tech issues that could arise without having to look at the clock.
"We're working through a number of different platforms in terms of being able to have some video conferences and talk to one another. We're going to find the best one [and] the most secure one," said Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht when talking about his team's approach to the virtual draft. "You want to make sure you have a hardline phone. You want to make sure you have several phones available to you -- cell phones or what have you. But sometimes it comes down to the old-fashioned picking up the phone and calling the league office and saying, 'We are going to pick this player.'"
According to Dan Graziano of ESPN, Lions GM Bob Quinn noted on Friday that the league will hold a "mock draft, mock trial run" on Monday, so teams can practice going through the virtual motions. That said, teams will not be announcing actual prospects names during this mock draft, per Graziano, as they don't want to tip their hand into their actual draft strategy.
The first round of the 2020 draft NFL Network.on Thursday, April 23 at 8 p.m. ET and will air on ABC, ESPN and