Anyone who has ever held a fantasy draft online knows you have to log on early to make sure it works. This year, the actual NFL draft will be doing more or less the same thing.
With teams forced to conduct the draft from their homes due to the isolation guidelines brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, the NFL has been working to test internet connections and install safeguards to ensure that technological issues don't result in major problems such as missed picks or insufficient time to make trades.
League sources said there will be multiple tests of the system prior to the draft, which begins April 23, and that the NFL is planning to build in several safeguards to cover teams in the event that an internet connection cuts out or some other technological glitch affects a team's pick.
One safeguard will be a conference call with all 32 teams that will be in progress throughout the draft. Hypothetically, if a general manager is hooked up to that call via landline and his internet connection cuts out, he would be able to unmute the call and announce his pick in a forum in which every other team could hear it. Email is another option teams will have for sending in picks if there are online connection issues.
As of now, the NFL is not considering officially adding time for teams to make picks, nor is it likely that the league will take the suggestion of Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert to give teams additional picks. But sources said the league would be flexible in allowing teams that were working on trades to have enough time even if technological issues delay the process. If the league is aware that two teams are negotiating a trade, it would work with them to make sure enough time is allotted to complete the deal.
Another concern has emerged in recent days: Some coaches and front-office staff are reluctant to have their IT employees in their homes to prepare the technology needed for the draft over fear of the coronavirus spreading, league sources told ESPN's Adam Schefter. Some IT employees have also expressed concern about going into other people's houses, league sources said.