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NFL proposal would improve draft picks for minority hires
4:23 PM ET
  • Jeremy FowlerESPN Staff Writer

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    • ESPN staff writer
    • Previously a college football reporter for CBSSports.com
    • University of Florida graduate

The NFL is considering improving draft picks for teams that hire minority candidates as head coaches or general managers, sources confirmed to ESPN.

Under the proposal, aimed at fixing diversity problems leaguewide, a team could improve its third-round draft selection by up to 16 picks — going up 10 spots for hiring a minority candidate as general manager or an equivalent-level position and six spots for hiring a minority head coach.

NFL.com first reported on the proposal, which was submitted by the league’s diversity committee and is expected to be addressed during Tuesday’s virtual meeting with team owners, a league source confirmed. The proposal would need 24 of 32 votes in favor to pass.

Under this plan, a team could move up five spots in the fourth round if a minority head coach or general manager successfully entered the third year on the job, according to the report. Retaining a minority quarterbacks coach after one year would net a fourth-round compensatory pick, a nod to the importance of quarterback expertise to the head-coaching pipeline, according to the report.

Conversely, losing minority candidates to other teams would earn draft capital — a third-round compensatory pick for a minority candidate leaving to become a head coach or general manager and a fifth-round compensatory pick to the former team for a coordinator hire.

A league source told ESPN’s Dan Graziano that commissioner Roger Goodell is in favor of the proposal, with the diversity committee trying to incentivize teams with a stronger plan. Three of the past 20 NFL head-coaching hires were minorities, while two of the NFL’s 32 general managers are minorities.

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Louis Riddick expresses his disappointment in the NFL’s proposal to offer draft picks for minority hiring.

The league declined comment to NFL.com.

Among other diversity-related items being proposed Tuesday, according to a source: removing a rule that allows teams to block assistant coaches from interviewing for other teams’ coordinator positions, requiring multiple interviews of minority candidates for head-coaching positions, and expanding the Rooney Rule to include coordinator positions.

The Rooney Rule requires every team to interview one qualified minority candidate for a head-coaching job. But owners have final say over the decisions, and during the last coaching cycle, the Washington Redskins‘ Ron Rivera was the only minority hired.

The Tuesday meetings also will include medical updates on reopening team facilities, according to a source. A memo from commissioner Roger Goodell on Friday said teams could begin reopening facilities Tuesday, provided they meet a preestablished set of protocols and have permission under state and local regulations.

In-season contingency plans amid the coronavirus pandemic are not expected to overtake the sessions, though the topic could be discussed. The focus, the source said, is getting staff back in team facilities while complying with state and local ordinances, then moving on to the reintegration of players, training camps and games.

Though some team sources believe the entire offseason program — including Organized Team Activities and minicamp — will be done virtually, the league hasn’t closed the door on the possibility of in-person work leading up to training camp.

Discussions involving players will include the NFL Players Association.

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