A virtual NFL Draft is a novelty for all parties involved and presents pitfalls and obstacles that affect each team in equal measure, no matter where they fall on the draft board or the map of the country. Every general manager across the NFL is trying to compensate in their own ways for the shortcomings of virtual meetings with their coworkers and potential draft picks.
Dave Gettleman, noted Luddite, told reporters on a conference call Monday that the Giants are making things work on the technology side, and in the grand scheme of things the problems they're facing pale in comparison to the larger issues facing the rest of the world. He did note that these virtual meetings come at the cost of a certain amount of personal touch, though. Seeing prospects through your computer screen can help approximate meeting them in person, but it doesn't measure up to the experience of face-to-face interaction.
Gettleman is big on such meetings in order to get a read on the person he plans to bring into the organization, and said as much in his own strange way:
"For me, what we miss is watching them interact, the 30 visit guys, watching them in your facility. That’s what you miss out on. By not having pro days, you also miss that personal contact. Watching guys among their peers and how they operate, how they’re received. That tells a lot when you just watch a kid in those circumstances.Obviously, when we would go to workouts, a lot of times the night before, our coach and scout that would be at the pro day would take one, two or three of the players out to dinner and have some conversation that way. We’re losing the personal touchpoints. We have the visual touchpoint, but we’re really missing out on the personal touchpoint, when you can smell or feel a guy."- Dave Gettleman
I'm not sure how much touching or smelling a person will make or break their draft stock, but Gettleman's message holds water. These prospect meetings are the NFL player equivalent of job interviews, and most employers would be loathe to hire someone without meeting them in person at least once.
This year, of course, teams don't have much say in the matter. They'll have to go without smelling, touching, or even seeing their prospects in person until they show up for their first day of work. Gettleman isn't pleased, but he certainly grasps the big picture.