The NFL Draft will go on as planned, starting on April 23.
Despite concerns that it would need to be pushed back because of COVID-19, the NFL Management Council Executive Committee made the unanimous decision to have the show go on after its meeting on March 26.
Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the decision with a league-wide memo. Goodell also used the memo to warn league officials from speaking out against the NFL’s decision. Doing so could warrant disciplinary action. That warning comes after several NFL front offices previously spoke out in favor of postponing the draft prior to the decision to keep things moving forward.
Some NFL front offices wanted to postpone the draft
The league’s stance is a surprising one considering that an NFL subcommittee of general managers recommended postponing the draft. They were concerned about not having enough time to properly evaluate prospects.
Preparing for the draft has been tough for teams this year because of COVID-19. In-person visits are no longer allowed, and team facilities have been closed. Without those facilities, completing player physicals, interviews, and other tests is a lot more difficult than usual.
Despite those concerns, things are moving on as planned. The priority for Goodell and the league’s owners is to get this done.
However, this year’s draft will have to use a different format. The usual large gathering in Las Vegas is off the table, which will force the NFL to try something new. That may end up shifting toward a studio setting, although the league hasn’t made an official decision yet.
Having the draft in a studio would allow clubs to work from their respective team headquarters around the country. That could mean flying out prospects to the studio if it ends up being possible or just cutting to different teams and players remotely after announcing selections.
Regardless of how things shake out, the NFL will have plenty of options for how to conduct things remotely if it ends up going the studio route.
Noteworthy NFL Draft betting options
The Indianapolis Colts have seven picks in this year’s draft.
They were expected to bolster up the quarterback spot in the first round, but that changed after the team signed Philip Rivers.
The Colts have since traded their first-round pick to San Francisco for DeForest Buckner. Since the club traded that pick, their first selection will be the 34th overall, instead of the 13th.
FanDuel is offering odds on who the Colts will use that pick on. Wide receivers and cornerbacks are the favored positions.
- Tee Higgins: +800
- A.J. Terrell: +850
- Denzel Mims: +850
- Trevon Diggs: +850
- CJ Henderson: +1,000
- Laviska Shanault Jr.: +1,000
Big Ten-specific bets are also available for the draft.
That could make those bets popular tickets throughout the area since there are plenty of schools from the conference in Indiana and the surrounding states
For example, BetRivers has over/under betting available on how many Big Ten players will be selected in the first round. Right now, that total is set at 5.5.
Although the Cincinnati Bengals will likely select Joe Burrow to be the first pick in the draft, the order of the top three picks is more uncertain.
DraftKings has several different orders for those top picks on the board. Here’s a look at those odds listed in order from the first overall pick to the third.
- 1. Burrow 2. Young 3. Tagovailoa: +225
- 1. Burrow 2. Young 3. Okudah: +275
- 1. Burrow 2. Tagovailoa 3. Young: +300
- 1. Burrow 2. Tagovailoa 3. Okudah: +1,100
- 1. Burrow 2. Young 3. Simmons: +1,200
- 1. Burrow 2. Young: Herbert: +1,400
However, sportsbooks will likely add even more options soon. Since the draft is still a ways away, bettors can keep an eye on their sportsbook of choice until the draft starts on April 23.