The 2020 NFL Draft will be like nothing we have ever seen, and not because of anything the prospects have done or any of the picks that teams will make. The “virtual” draft, with team executives all in their respective homes and league commissioner Roger Goodell announcing the picks from his house, will test internet connections, video conferencing, and telephone communications between the league and the teams, between teams trying to make trades, and even within each individual team as executives work out who they are targeting.
It will be an odd night.
On Thursday, Miami Dolphins General Manager Chris Grier met with the media via vide conference to discuss the team’s draft plans, including how the Dolphins will manage the inability for the executives, coaches, and scouts from congregating at the team’s facility. “Yeah, we’re finishing setting up everything in the next day or so,” he explained. “I’ve got multiple televisions in here and computers. It will best mimic the draft room the best we can. The communication part of it is going to be similar to (this). We’ll be on video technology – Brian (Flores), myself, ownership, (Assistant General Manager) Marvin Allen, (Vice President of Football Administration) Brandon Shore. All of us will be in communication kind of like this, talking on stuff.”
Grier does not think the changes will cause any issue for the team, and they will be fully prepared on Thursday when the three-day selection process begins. “For us, it will be different but we’re ready to go. We’re going to have some run-throughs of it but I’m very confident. I think our IT department has done a fantastic job with getting this all set up. We really don’t have any apprehension about this process. We’re ready to go.”
One of the discussion points around the league and in the media has been a perceived advantage teams early in the selection process have when it comes to trades. Having the preceeding night or the morning to discuss trades with other teams without the stress of the clock and potential issues with the “virtual” setup could allow a team with an early pick to communicate better with other teams about potential moves. Grier does see that as a potetial advantage, but not necessarily one that is different this year than any other year. He says, “That’s what it’s been historically through the draft. If you look at – always when you start the next morning of each day or afternoon if you start in the evening, that’s always the one because teams have had the night to look over their draft board and make calls to all of those teams that are picking in the top half of the draft for players they’re interested in that they’d like to get. Yeah, it is an advantage. It’s something that we’ll take advantage of and see what happens from there.”
The NFL Draft kicks off on Thursday, with the Dolphins holding three first-round picks. It will be a busy night for the team, and one where they will be hoping the virtual process will run smoothly. Grier seems confident that the team will be ready for the unique Draft, especially with the communications side of the night.