The Cleveland Browns hold the 10th overall pick in the NFL draft on April 23rd. This NFL draft will be unlike any other that has been held before. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the draft will be held remotely. How will this affect the Browns?
The Cleveland Browns and the NFL are not immune to the ever-changing landscape caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Many changes have taken place already, such as all team facilities shutting down back on March 26th. How will this affect the NFL draft in two weeks?
The upcoming NFL draft will have to make a drastic overhaul to accommodate the government mandates and rules set forth by public health officials. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has maintained that the draft would not be postponed and would take place as scheduled. The where and the how have been left out until now.
According to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com, a memo that was sent out to all chief executives, club presidents, general managers, and head coaches that stated what will be expected during the draft. All team facilities will remain closed during the draft, and the clubs will have to draft remotely with their club personnel in separate locations.
How will this affect the Browns? For better or for worse, the answer to that question will fall squarely on the shoulders of the newly anointed general manager, Andrew Berry. Being the youngest general manager in the NFL, and of all-time for that matter, must have some advantages from a technological standpoint. Not that Berry has to be some sort of computer wizard but being comfortable with communicating via zoom could go a long way come April 23rd.
People are creatures of habit, and NFL general managers and head coaches are no different. There will be no “war rooms” this year, at least not in a physical sense. It will change the draft process for all 32 teams, and those who can adapt to these technological obstacles should have a slight advantage.
Berry would be wise to do as many dry runs as possible with his scouts and the Browns coaching staff so they can streamline their operation. There is no such thing as being too prepared and any advantage that could be gained must be explored. I highly doubt Bill Belichick is waiting until the night of the draft to see how this whole internet thing works. Being the smartest person in the room will mean little if you are not comfortable with the format.
Every year, millions of people play fantasy football and draft their teams online. This year, NFL general managers will get to join in on the fun, only with the highest stakes imaginable from a professional standpoint. Also, it will be televised which should make for some bizarre, yet compelling, theater.
Will this format increase teams trading up out of fear of losing out on a treasured prospect, or will there be teams that trade back for picks in next year’s draft that should be in a setting they are more comfortable with? Will we see any technical goofs that impair a team? How will Bill O’Brien fare? There are plenty of questions that will be answered.
At the end of the day, it’s still the NFL draft. Some teams will do better than others, there will be busts, some players will still be reached for, and some gems will slip far below where they should. All that preparation reduced to a crapshoot, just as it’s always been.