08 Apr Jonathan Cartu Confirms: Steelers GM Kevin Colbert proposes three more rounds for 20…
The NFL’s general manager subcommittee unanimously recommended to commissioner Roger Goodell to push back the start of the draft, ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Dianna Russini reported late last month. Goodell ultimately decided against postponing the draft, which will begin on April 23. NFL general managers wanted more time to evaluate this year’s prospects after pro days, individual workouts, and in-person visits were wiped away due to the COIVD-19 pandemic.
During a conference call, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert, one of the NFL’s longest-tenured general managers, told league officials that teams should be awarded three extra draft picks due to the “inherent challenges posed by the coronavirus restrictions,” according to the New York Daily News. Colbert suggested the idea because he feels that teams will be more prone to making mistakes without the additional time to evaluate this year’s prospects. It’s Colbert’s belief that a 10-round draft would help widen a team’s margin for error.
As it currently stands, NFL teams are permitted to conduct videoconference interviews with prospects that can last up to an hour. Teams can interview an unlimited number of prospects, as long as they disclose their list to the league office.
Colbert isn’t the only prominent NFL figure to voice concerns with the upcoming draft, which will be conducted virtually, with NFL teams drafting from home. Ravens head coach John Harbaugh recently expressed his concern over
“Yeah, big concern,” Harbaugh said during a conference Zoom call on Monday, via Jonas Shaffer of the Baltimore Sun. “Every time I read something in, like, the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times that talks about how messed up Zoom is, or some of these other deals … I immediately text it to our IT people, and [director of football administration] Nick Matteo’s one of those guys, and they assure me that we are doing everything humanly possible.”
While Goodell elected not to postpone the draft, will the NFL consider extending the draft another three rounds? It’s certainly possible when looking at the league’s new CBA that includes an expanded regular season and postseason field. The expanded regular season (expected to come into effect in 2021) will also increase team rosters from 53 to 56 players. An extended draft also would likely result in more viewers over an extended period of time, something that should appeal to Goodell and the networks that will air the 2020 draft.
Given all the positives, why wouldn’t the league allow general managers to select three more players in this year’s draft? That’s a question the NFL may have to address over the next few days, if Colbert’s request picks up steam.
Extended draft or not,heading into what has been a trying pre-draft evaluation process.
“What I’ve reminded our staff, our scouts, from the very beginning of the process since the changes of our rules, I reminded them of the 1974 draft that the Steelers conducted, and they ended up with five Hall of Famers,” Colbert recently said to Steelers.com’s Missi Matthews. “Back in that day, Art Rooney Jr., Bill Nunn and Dick Haley put together the best draft in NFL history, and they didn’t have pro days. They didn’t have combines. They relied on what they felt those guys were as football players. If we have to go into this draft with the same mentality, that’s our challenge, and we’ll do the best we can.”