FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, April 6th, 2020
PETER KING DISCUSSES 2020 NFL DRAFT PLANS AND PROVIDES AN INSIDE LOOK AT HOW THE COLTS ARE PREPARING VIRTUALLY IN THIS WEEK’S “FMIA” COLUMN
“The draft is more likely to be held either in socially-distant small groups, or with each individual decision-maker at a private home.” – King on how team personnel will interact on draft weekend
“Information is king. I watched a player’s own pro day-type video on YouTube last night.” – Colts head coach Frank Reich on preparing for the draft by scouting at home
“This is the hardest-to-figure draft…Now you’re going back to drafting with 50 percent information on a lot of guys, because of no Pro Days and no individual workouts with teams.” – Gil Brandt on the difficulties of this year’s draft
Lunch Break Live, Hosted by Mike Tirico, Debuts Today at Noon ET on NBCSN Featuring Guests Peter King, Cris Collinsworth & Russell Wilson
ProFootballTalk.com Provides the Latest Free Agency News and Updates; Florio & Simms on PFT Live Weekdays at 7 a.m. ET on NBCSN
STAMFORD, Conn. – April 6, 2020 – Peter King discusses potential plans surrounding the 2020 NFL Draft and provides an inside look at how the Colts are adjusting to working from home as they prepare for the upcoming draft in this week’s edition of Football Morning in America, available now exclusively on NBCSports.com. King speaks with Colts GM Chris Ballard, head coach Frank Reich, and others inside Indianapolis’ organization to see how draft planning has been impacted by work-from-home mandates related to coronavirus. Click here to watch a clip a King’s conversation with Reich.
Also this week, NBC Sports’ new daily sports talk show, Lunch Talk Live, hosted by Mike Tirico, debuts today at Noon ET on NBCSN. Special guests on today’s opening episode include Peter King, NBC’s Sunday Night Football game analyst Cris Collinsworth, and Seahawks QB Russell Wilson. For more information, click here.
Additionally, ProFootballTalk.com continues to provide the latest free agency news and NFL insider Mike Florio and analyst Chris Simms provide offseason and free agency updates on PFT Live.
The following are highlights from this week’s edition of Football Morning in America:
2020 NFL DRAFT & FUTURE PLANS
King on where team personnel will be during draft weekend: “On Wednesday, NFL IT departments were sent a memo that implied the league would be drafting either from team facilities or from homes of team coaches, GMs and executives…The draft is more likely to be held either in socially-distant small groups, or with each individual decision-maker at a private home.”
King on teams using Zoom for draft day meetings: “It’s possible the league could move their draft-weekend video conferencing to Microsoft Teams, which several NFL people have told me seems more secure (than Zoom)…As one club executive told me Friday, it’s unnerving to think there’s even a small possibility that one NFL team with a smart IT person could figure how to hack another team’s Zoom sessions on draft night.”
Rams COO Kevin Demoff to King on using Zoom: “How do you make sure your conversations are protected?…Hacking into a team’s draft room on Zoom is probably a lot different. That would be my biggest concern just from an encryption standpoint of how do you have these conversations confidentially.”
King on the possibility of playing games without fans due to coronavirus concerns: “In this scenario, it’s certainly pragmatic to consider games without fans sitting in close proximity. As one NFL executive said to me the other day: ‘Everything [related to football] is on the table for discussion, and we’ve got a very large table.’”
King on the 2020 schedule: “It’s likely the NFL schedule-makers will spend their extra time this month working on 12-game and 14-game schedule alternatives…In the wake of the league saying the schedule would be released on May 9 at the latest, it would be foolish to sit on the schedule that could be ready by next week and not take the next five weeks to prepare for alternatives.”
King on the draft broadcast: “Momentum is building for ESPN and NFL Network to do a combined draft telecast…It’s looking more likely that instead of the two football rivals doing info-warring separate telecasts, they’ll combine to do one telecast.”
King on coronavirus fundraising during the draft: “The league is closing in on plans to weave a fundraising element into all three days of the telecast, complete with celebrity players and former players and coaches urging viewers to donate to coronavirus-related causes.”
INSIDE LOOK AT THE COLTS’ DRAFT PREP
King: “I’ve been so curious about how a team actually has been functioning in the nearly two weeks since all NFL facilities have been shuttered…The Colts agreed to share a few employees with me, and it’s clear they have been affected by the outside world.”
King on Colts GM Chris Ballard preparing for the draft: “Now it’s fine-tuning time, with info the coaches and scouts have learned through follow-up calls and virtual visits with players. Ballard hosts scouting meetings several times a week by video conference…It’s helped that, on Zoom, Ballard can pull up a few plays that everyone can see.”
Ballard on a recent video call: “We had some pretty intense discussions about two guys. We dug into the character of a couple guys and moved them down. It wasn’t all that hard, compared to being in the same room. We ended up moving seven guys either up or down in that meeting.”
Ballard: “They’ll make a 30 For 30 on this draft one day…We’ll be prepared for anything on draft weekend, and we’ll have our work done. All 32 teams will play by the same rules, so that’s fine with us.”
King on Colts head coach Frank Reich: “There’s so much for Reich to do, and it’s so different. He’s got to be ready for the start of the offseason program (with new quarterback Philip Rivers) April 20, and he doesn’t know if the program will start that day…He might have to sign off on drafting a prospective quarterback without meeting him in person.”
Reich on working from his home office: “Information is king. I watched a player’s own pro day-type video on YouTube last night…I don’t want to say this is better, but as a head coach in your office, you get interrupted 20 times a day. There are no interruptions now.”
Reich on what he tells his staff working from home: “I do remind them every so often, ‘Hey, just because we’re home, we’re not on vacation. We’re not working half days, we’re working full days. Structure your day. Plan your day.’”
King on Colts college scouting coordinator Anthony Coughlin: “Coughlin helps coordinate all the virtual visits with college prospects. Since players cannot come to Indianapolis, the Colts are allowed three contacts with players per week (that’s usually all they do with most prospects).”
King on prospect calls: “It used to be that a prospect, on a pre-draft visit to the Colts complex, would see several people in the building during the day. Now that prospect would have three Zoom or FaceTime contacts with the Colts: one with director of player development Brian Decker; one with the position coach; and one with the pertinent coordinator. Max per session: one hour.”
GIL BRANDT’S TOP 16 & OFFSEASON NOTES
King: “This will be the NFL’s 85th draft. This will be Gil Brandt’s 65th either working for a team – full-time or part-time – or working for the league.”
Brandt to King: “This is the hardest-to-figure draft…Now you’re going back to drafting with 50 percent information on a lot of guys, because of no Pro Days and no individual workouts with teams. So your scouting of the games becomes more important.”
Brandt’s 16 top-rated players, the players he thinks should comprise the first half of the first round:
|1. Joe Burrow, QB, LSU||9. Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia|
|2. Chase Young, Edge, Ohio State||10. Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville|
|3. Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson||11. CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma|
|4. Just Herbert, QB, Oregon||12. Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama|
|5. Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama||13. Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State|
|6. Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn||14. C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida|
|7. Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama||15. Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina|
|8. Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa||16. Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama|
King on the Dolphins: “If I were Miami GM Chris Grier, and I liked Joe Burrow clearly above all other quarterbacks this year, I’d call the Bengals and offer four first-round picks for Cincinnati’s first overall pick.”
King on the Chiefs re-signing Sammy Watkins: “The Chiefs’ offense now returns its six most important skill players for 2020 – Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Watkins, Mecole Hardman, Demarcus Robinson – and in a year when so many teams will be flying blind because of the vast disruption of any organized offseason activities, continuity on a great offense is hugely important.”
King on the Bears QB competition: “In January, I was sure Mitchell Trubisky would take the first snap of the 2020 regular season for the Bears. Absolutely sure. In April, I’d bet my grande macchiato that Nick Foles is the man.”
The following are additional highlights of NBC Sports’ NFL coverage:
- Lunch Talk Live: NBC Sports’ new hour-long, daily sports talk show, which is hosted by Mike Tirico, debuts today at Noon ET on NBCSN. Featured guests of the first episode include Peter King, Cris Collinsworth, and Seahawks QB Russell Wilson. Click here for more information.
- PFT Live: Mike Florio and Chris Simms provide updates on NFL free agency and continue to preview the upcoming NFL Draft.
- On the Simms Unbuttoned, Simms speaks with Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor via FaceTime ahead of the draft.
- The Rotoworld Football Podcast, with Josh Norris, John Daigle, and Ian Hartitz, continues to discuss how free agency moves will impact teams and players in 2020.
A new “Football Morning in America” posts every Monday morning exclusively on NBCSports.com through the NFL season. It was announced in May 2019 that King signed an exclusive agreement with NBC Sports Group that included writing a weekly Monday morning NFL column for NBCSports.com; making regular appearances on NBCSN’s and NBC Sports Radio’s PFT Live with Mike Florio; and continuing to contribute to Football Night in America, the most-watched studio show in sports.