In the wake of the coronavirus, the NFL is taking major precautions. The league held a conference call Thursday evening. On Friday, they announced all teams must discontinue any in-person interviews between teams and draft prospects.
The announcement is in concern for the biggest event of the year aside from the Super Bowl, the annual NFL Draft that will be held in the middle of April.
On Wednesday, the Falcons planned on shutting down their facility for a deep cleaning just until Monday. Now, the facility will not reopen until March 27th.
Even though teams can’t physically meet with prospects, they will be designated to conduct video interviews and are allowed to speak with a player up to three times per week.
‘Little’ Impact on NFL Draft
Falcons President and CEO Rich McKay is confident that the new procedures in place will have little impact as Atlanta prepares for the 2020 draft. McKay also volunteers as chairman of the NFL’s Competition Committee.
“Our scouts have interacted with these players numerous times over the course of a couple of years on their college campuses and have a pretty good feel for them,” McKay told AtlantaFalcons.com. “… Do I think it’s a big deal? It’s certainly different, but like anything else, when change comes you’ve got to adjust, and I think we’ll be able to adjust. You’ve got to remember, we’ve done an awful lot of work on a lot of these players and we’re ready to go for the draft. This becomes that final check, and now a cross-check too if you will, and maybe we’re just going to have to find a different way to do that.”
Also, follow the Heavy on Falcons Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors, and content!
Free Agency Still Happening?
While all sporting events and activities have been suspended until further notice, free agency that begins next week on March 18 is still going to happen. As of now, the league has zero plans to postpone the start date, but things could change overnight.
Another concern with free agency is that when the Falcons agree to terms with players upon the pending of passing their physical. The contract isn’t actually signed until the player passes the exam. The NFL is going to keep the specific procedure operating as normal, the results just might take longer.
“I think we’re all having those calls, and we did, ourselves, internally today on numerous different occasions,” McKay said of preparing for free agency. “I think we have for many years, for as long as I’ve been in the league, and I’m one of those guys that people would say ‘forever’ and it’s a cheap shot, we’ve had a bunch of times when you’ve agreed to terms with players and it’s been subject to a physical. That’s not a problem, we can still do that and still do that today, even without travel. It may just take a little while for that contingency to be checked, meaning the physical.”
The Falcons will continue to adjust to any new procedures as they prepare for the NFL Draft.