With pre-draft visits canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, NFL teams, like most businesses, are turning to digital platforms to conduct meetings with prospects.
Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert is one big-name example.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday that Herbert has a video call with the Las Vegas Raiders today, and the signal-caller previously spoke with the Los Angeles Chargers in the same capacity.
In lieu of traditional meetings with players, NFL clubs are using video conferences to get to know potential draftees. These "visits" are used by coaches and front offices to get to know a player, test their knowledge of schemes, etc. While some substance is lost by not having in-person visits — most notably the inability to do medical tests — video meetings at least provide teams and players a chance to speak.
Each call between clubs and prospects can last no more than an hour, per the league. Teams can schedule no more than three telephone or video conferences with an individual draft-eligible player per week. And any telephone or video conference must be reported to the Player Personnel department upon completion, along with the call participants, date and time of the call, and total length of the call.
Herbert, a strong-armed signal-caller, is expected to be among the top players to go off the board early in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. While he has physical traits scouts love, the quarterback can answer some questions about leadership teams might have after his time at Oregon.
While the Raiders signed Marcus Mariota to an incentive-laden deal, and have Derek Carr set to start, GM Mike Mayock has consistently said he’d look to upgrade all positions, including quarterback, if the situation presented itself. Doing due diligence with Herbert continues the work. If Herbert falls to where the Raiders, who own two first-rounders (Nos. 12 and 19), select, Vegas wants to know what sort of quarterback might be on the board. Given Herbert’s physical tools, he could also be the type of player that coach Jon Gruden falls for in the pre-draft process.
The Chargers seem destined to draft a quarterback in the first round to pair with veteran Tyrod Taylor. If both Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa are off the board, Herbert could be the highest-graded quarterback on L.A.’s board when it picks at No. 6, barring a trade.
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