The NFL Draft will take place as scheduled in late April, but it may look like no draft that has gone before it.
It may well be, according to George Atallah of the NFL Players Association, “different.”
The NFL Draft is special. Players and their families will be in NYC. It just maybe different. We will provide details when we can.
The players’ association, now a trade association since decertification last week, is considering holding a separate event away from Radio City Music Hall in New York, where Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFL teams will be drafting players. “I am told the prospective rookies won't be ordered to do this. But the suggestion would be a strong one to rookies-to-be and their agents,” Peter King of SI.com writes.
“That's right, players who aren't in the NFL yet and haven't paid a dime of union dues could be the latest pawns in the fight between the owners and players over a new collective bargaining agreement. The decertified union is looking into getting veterans from every team to show up in New York, so that when the college players are drafted, they'll all have a future teammate, not the commissioner, greet them.”
LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson said he’d prefer to go to Radio City Music Hall.
"That's a big moment to go up there and shake the commissioner's hand and get that jersey and hat. It means a lot," Peterson told the National Football Post. "I definitely want to go and no one has told me not to go. So, we'll see what happens."
The NFL is following its usual draft template. “We plan to invite the 15-20 top prospects and their families to New York as we normally do for this once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said spokesman Greg Aiello said. “And, as always, it is the decision of the players and their families as to whether they attend.”