It wasn’t that long ago when I put alerts on my phone to monitor flights to Las Vegas for NFL Draft weekend, just in case something that fit my price range fell into my lap.
But now, the 2020 NFL Draft isn’t even being held in Las Vegas. To be clear, the NFL is still scheduled to have its seven-round draft from Thursday, April 23 through Saturday, April 25. But precautionary measures aiming to slow the spread of COVID-19 has taken the draft out of Vegas. Although, where it lands is something that is still to be determined.
Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times reports the league plans on staging the draft in a studio setting, rather than a mere conference call stream or something like that. In tandem with the studio setting, you’d get cut-in shots from team headquarters when selections are being made. It’s probably the best that can be done.
This will be a stark contrast from what we have grown accustomed to seeing over the years. There will be no gathering of the draft’s top prospects in a room for a draft-night party. No walk to a podium to meet Commissioner Roger Goodell with a handshake and a hug. No jersey unveiling while fans react to the selection. All that fun stuff — not to mention a floating stage on the fountains at the Bellagio — is on hold for the time being, and is difficult to imagine it happening in whatever new setting the league comes up with for next month’s draft.
As for the Bears, they have seven picks in the upcoming draft. They have none in the first, third, or fourth rounds, but are still scheduled to have two in the second, one in the fifth, two in the sixth, and another two in the seventh. Considering their needs at a variety of spots on the field and diminishing cap space, the upcoming draft is an important one for GM Ryan Pace, his staff, and the entire organization.