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Challenge Of Virtual Draft Doesn't Intimidate Kliff Kingsbury

Coach confident in technology and Cardinals' process

Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury has reasons to smile with the way his team has added pieces this offseason.
Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury has reasons to smile with the way his team has added pieces this offseason.

Kliff Kingsbury doesn't think he's any further advanced in using technology than others in the NFL when it comes to the draft process.

"I'm used to FaceTiming but most of the time I was trying to sell those kids on coming to Texas Tech and obviously that didn't work out as much as I would've liked," the Cardinals' coach said with a chuckle Tuesday while conducting a press conference via Zoom.

Like the rest of the NFL, Kingsbury is preparing for a virtual draft in a couple of weeks. Unlike some of his peers, there isn't trepidation for the process, not given the circumstances. Kingsbury, who spoke from a spot at State Farm Stadium after giving blood to aid during the fight against COVID-19, reiterated multiple times perspective was crucial now.

That includes any work preparing for or during the draft.

"There are challenges, but it's nothing compared to what the rest of the world is facing," Kingsbury said. "It's football. There will be adjustments to be made but we'll be able to call and text. For the most part we're doing the same draft prep we do in our offices, just without the human interaction."

While the reality is that the Cardinals – like the rest of the NFL – may not have any offseason on-field work, Kingsbury hasn't let that bog him down. Noting that his players still weren't scheduled to return, voluntarily, to the facility for another couple of weeks anyway, "up until this point nothing has really changed," Kingsbury said.

The team's IT department has set up Kingsbury in his home so that watching video is no different there than what he'd do in his office. His staff is already preparing, without in-person work, to do as much "tele-coaching" as possible.

As for the draft, while he would love to be able to watch a prospective draftee on the field in a workout or even video from a pro day, the fact that meetings have been transferred from in-person sitdowns to FaceTime or Zoom could have a benefit.

"A lot of these kids are more comfortable doing that," Kingsbury said. "They're on FaceTime 12 hours a day with friends. You get the most comfortable version of them on FaceTime, honestly."

Kingsbury acknowledged the lack of time to see players on the field could impact how a team drafts, perhaps pushing a team to rely on a first instinct and game tape.

But he also said he doesn't think the situation of every person at their own house – with he, General Manager Steve Keim and owner Michael Bidwill all separate – will change much of the draft outcome.

"Honestly, having talked with (Steve), he's kind of welcoming the solitude of it all," Kingsbury said. "It's a big day and there are a lot of voices that can get in your head and a lot of clutter that can go on if you're not careful. I know he's excited to have the process streamlined, and we'll be in constant communication with the scouts and Michael. I don't think it'll affect much. If anything I think it'll be good for him and allow him to have a clear picture and clear thought process."

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