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Mailbag: Will College Changes Affect The Draft?


I realize this might be a good six months early, but with discussions of the college football season potentially being pushed into spring, what impact do you think that could have on the 2021 offseason/draft schedule? Do you guys think the league would push the Combine and Draft back, if the CFB season kickoff is indeed delayed into late fall/early winter? — JOSH WHEELER / TYLER, TX

Rob: NFL Network reported that the league doesn't have plans to push anything back regarding the draft. As you said, right now they've got time to assess the situation and see how things unfold. But it's pretty surreal to see certain conferences still want to play as others vote to postpone. Even if there is some form of college football this fall, there's already notional speculation that top draft prospects might choose to sit out and focus on next year's draft. Regardless, seems like it'll be a unique challenge for NFL front offices trying to compile draft notes and draft boards for next year.

David: It's early, but I'm not convinced the league would have to push the draft back. The CBA says the draft must be held by early June, so that provides some decent wiggle room. The big question is: how many NFL-caliber players would even want to play in the spring? If I had a good shot of going pro, I would opt out and spend the spring training – which might even mean that you wouldn't need to delay the Combine. Unfortunately, it really is too early to say. It's definitely going to be a challenge for NFL front offices, but I'm confident they'll work around it.

Do you think that there will always be a "Question Mark" added to the end of this year if we are able to have the entire season played out all the way to the Super Bowl? — TYRONE YOUNG / ALBUQUERQUE, NM

Rob: There's no denying the circumstances are completely unprecedented, starting with the prospect of playing in front of limited or no fans in some cities. But I wouldn't put an asterisk on this season. Actually, I'd argue that the 2020 Super Bowl title would be one of the most impressive achievements in the history of American team sports. Think about the challenges and protocols just to get this season off the ground. The work being done behind the scenes is extraordinary, and for the players, coaches and staff, the job extends so far beyond the field this year because it will take a serious collective commitment inside and outside of team facilities to prevent any potential spread of the virus.

David: I'm with Rob. If this whole season happens as planned, no one should ever feel "lesser" for having pulled it off and won the championship. We're about to embark on one of the most trying seasons in league history. And furthermore, all 32 teams are playing with all the same bizarre restrictions and rule changes. So it's not like the eventual champion would have had an unfair advantage. If we actually make it to February and crown a champion at Super Bowl LV (knock on wood), whoever lifts the trophy will be more than deserving.

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