Get ready for a 'hub-and-spokes' format for 2020 NFL draft

Sam Farmer
The NFL draft is still set for April 23-25, but the coronavirus outbreak is forcing the league to adopt a different approach to announcing picks.  (Naomi Baker / Getty Images)

The NFL draft is on schedule for April 23-25.

But what it will look like? That’s a work in progress.

“The planning remains fluid,” said Peter O’Reilly, the league’s executive vice president for club business and league events, on a conference call Tuesday.

“We’re confident that we can deliver a powerful, competitively equitable, and unifying draft,” he said.

The three-day event was moved from Las Vegas amid the COVID-19 outbreak, and will be conducted at remote locales, including video connectivity with about 50 prospects in their homes, as well as the option to virtually “pull in” some current and former players, and even fans.

O’Reilly described it as a hub-and-spokes format, with commissioner Roger Goodell at the hub and announcing the picks, and the spokes reaching out to all 32 club locations.

The league has outlined four basic principles for the event, which will be broadcast by ABC, ESPN and NFL Network:

  1. Ensuring the selection process is competitively equitable, efficient, and safe for all involved.
  2. Celebrating all the draft prospects in this life-changing moment, welcoming them to the NFL family even if we’re doing it remotely.
  3. Engaging and providing an escape for fans. Telling the human stories across TV and social. Allowing fan access so fans can gather virtually and share their passion for their team.
  4. Using the three days of the draft to help support and raise money for those most vulnerable and impacted by the coronavirus crisis.

O’Reilly said the league will maintain consistent health guidelines across all locations, including the homes of prospects. Those include no more than 10 people in every room, with everyone a physical distance of at least 6 feet apart; consistent hand hygiene; and anyone who is sick, has a fever, or upper-respiratory symptoms stays away.

In other news, the NFL expects to release its 2020 schedule after the draft, and no later than May 9.