A day after the CDC recommended for all gatherings of over 50 people to be canceled or postponed for the next eight weeks, the NFL has acted. While the 2020 NFL Draft will still be held from April 23-25, the entire event in Las Vegas has been canceled.
This was really a no-brainer.
The 2020 NFL Draft, which was scheduled to take place on the Las Vegas Strip with a stage over the waters of the Bellagio fountains won’t be happening anymore for obvious reasons. Last year, the draft drew an estimated 600,000 people to Nashville, according to the NFL. The NFL was expected to top that number this year.
Instead, the NFL says it is “exploring innovative options for how the process will be conducted,” and the draft will still be on TV.
The Eagles currently hold 10 draft picks this year after they were awarded three compensatory picks.
As recently as March 9, the NFL released a statement saying, “Our plans remain in place.” That kind of tells you how quickly things are changing when it comes to the spread of COVID-19.
This decision reflects our foremost priority – the health and safety of all fans and citizens,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. "While this outcome is disappointing both to the NFL and to the Las Vegas community, we look forward to partnering with the Raiders, the City of Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority for a future NFL Draft as well as evaluating opportunities for other major NFL events in Las Vegas in the future, including the Super Bowl.
As a reminder, here are some key NFL dates this offseason:
March 16: Legal tampering period begins
March 18: Start of new league year and free agency
March 29-April 1:
Annual league meeting in Palm Beach, Florida (canceled)
April 20: Eagles offseason workout program can begin
April 23-25: 2020 NFL Draft
in Las Vegas
May 1: Teams may begin rookie minicamps
After that, OTAs begin in May, leading into the mandatory minicamp in June. Training camps won’t begin until later in the summer. While there hasn’t yet been an announcement of full spring or summer schedules for teams, the Eagles began OTAs last year on May 21 and reported to training camp on July 25.
While the draft has become a massive event in recent seasons, it wasn’t always that way. In fact, until 1994 the event was held at a hotel. After the draft was held at Radio City Music Hall from 2006-2014, the NFL began moving the draft around in 2015. It spent two years in Chicago, one in Philly, one in Dallas, last year in Nashville and this year was scheduled to be in Las Vegas.
The first NFL Draft was held at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Philadelphia in 1936.
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