(Stats Perform) – The NFL Draft will occur as scheduled next month, but fewer prospects from below the FBS level may be selected over the seven rounds.
The majority of college pro days have been canceled due to the COVID-19 public health threat, and they would been the one and only pre-draft showcase for former small-school players leading into the April 23-25 draft.
Jim Nagy, the executive director of the Reese’s Senior Bowl and an ESPN NFL Draft analyst, noted on social media that NFL representatives believe the cancellation of pro days and team visits will affect the draft in the following ways:
– Fewer small-school players will be drafted without test numbers;
– Participants in both all-star games and the NFL Combine will get a boost;
– Players with character issues will likely fall;
Instead of in-person visits, draft hopefuls will be conducting interviews with NFL teams via video chats. Others may film pro day drills at a training facility to send results and film to teams, as former South Dakota State running back Mikey Daniel said he would do on Monday.
The FCS level had come to average about 18 selections annually, but only 13 players were selected in last year’s draft, the fewest since 2003. Three of the players were not invited to a major all-star game or the Combine.
Division II had five draft selections last year. A Division III player was last drafted in 2015.