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Report: We still have the NFL Draft to look forward to in April

The show must go on, just without a live audience.

2018 NFL Draft Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

With sports effectively cancelled or postponed across the country, the distractions we take for granted this time of year just aren’t there. Baseball is postponed, basketball is indefinitely postponed, soccer isn’t happening, and hockey’s gone, too. Hell, I wound up picking The Price Is Right in ESPN’s Streak for the Cash the other day.

That’s reasonable and fair in light of the current pandemic and the measures everyone needs to be taking to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, of course. It does mean that the sports that are a comfortable feature of the landscape in March aren’t happening...with the exception of the NFL. We got some more good news on that front today, with the league announcing it plans to keep the NFL Draft on April 23-25, albeit without the rowdy live audience we’ve come to expect.

Because of its unique league year, the NFL has been able to keep free agency moving by tamping down on physicals and team travel. That’s going to present its own set of challenges as teams meet virtually with prospects and understanding medical issues becomes more challenging than it ever has before, but the league has every incentive to keep things as normal as possible for as long as possible, in the hopes that the worst of the pandemic will pass by the summer and the 2020 season can go off as planned. That means keeping the draft exactly where it is, without Roger Goodell clammily shaking hands with a bunch of players. Honestly, I’m not sure we’re going to lose much with that transition.

The Falcons, who have been more active than expected this offseason, will thus get their shot to pull off a transformative draft. Let’s hope they also get the chance to do bigger and better things in the 2020 season.