How Coronavirus is Affecting Patriots’ Draft Process

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The impact of the Coronavirus on professional sports continues to expand each day. On Friday, more precautions and cancellations were put in place by the NFL to curtail the spread of the COVID 19 virus.

Here is a breakdown of the latest developments.

What NFL Has Done to Protect Teams From the Coronavirus

Effective Friday, the NFL has canceled all college player visits to facilities and the prospects’ schools, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter:

NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero shared a memo the NFL released detailing the cancellation of face-to-face meetings and Pro Day gatherings:

This will significantly impact the prospect evaluation process as players probably won’t get an opportunity to perform for teams at a Pro Day. That will place an increased emphasis on the Scouting Combine numbers that were accrued just before the Coronavirus outbreak shut down most sports activity across the world.

 

What the Patriots are Doing to Protect Their Staff

In conjunction, the Patriots have pulled every member of their staff off the road including scouts and coaches.

This is a move that aligns with the NFL’s precautionary measures as well as most other sports organizations and teams throughout the United States and the rest of the world.

What the Patriots and Other Teams Can Still Do to Prepare for the Draft

While face-to-face meetings are banned, teams can still speak to players via phone or Skype and other online communications.

It will be interesting to see if players will attempt to arrange their own streamed workouts from private gyms and other facilities. It’s quite simple to host something like this with a private link that is only distributed to NFL personnel.

A prospect could even elect to do it with a public link that would likely draw a large online audience considering there are no real-life sports to watch while precautions are being taken to stamp out the spread of the virus. In fact, Tua Tagovailoa has already discussed plans to stream his Pro Day workout. That is essential for him considering he needs to show he’ll be somewhat ready for the 2020 season should it not be delayed.

How Will the Coronavirus Affect the Actual Draft?

As of now, the NFL Draft is still scheduled to take place as planned from April 23-25 in Paradise, Nevada. However, things are changing rapidly, and that could impact the NFL and other sports leagues.

There is more than a month between now and then and the NBA is set to re-evaluate the status of its season on April 10.

Things could obviously change between now and then if the virus can be contained and some of the bans on large gatherings can be removed. Expect updates on this and other draft-related news in the coming weeks.

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