AS THE NFL Draft played out across the United States over the weekend, a number of AFL recruiters eagerly watched on from the other side of the globe attempting to gather any trends or strategies they could identify.
The 'virtual' nature of an NFL Draft impacted by the coronavirus outbreak was one obvious difference to previous years, but the subtler changes to live trading plans and an inability to scout as comprehensively as previous years were undoubtedly more important.
NFL scouts had a clear advantage over their 'colleagues' in Australia, in that the American college football season went ahead uninterrupted and finished in early January.
Closer to home, AFL recruiters have already conceded they will be lucky to see any junior football this season and will therefore be forced to rely heavily on tape from the bottom-age seasons of the country's top prospects.
However, where NFL pre-planning for the weekend's draft hit a hurdle came from their inability to complete medical checks with their own doctors, privately workout prospects in front of their own recruiters or conduct face-to-face interviews with players.
It might sound like a minor roadblock in comparison to the struggles AFL recruiters will face in successfully scouting prospects later this year, but it still led to significant alterations in plans among NFL teams.
A number of reports in the week leading up to the NFL Draft had suggested franchises would consider 'lesser' offers involving future picks on draft night, essentially trading better capital in this year's draft for more surety in the next.
It piqued the interest of a number of AFL clubs contacted by AFL.com.au this week, who said they had already discussed the value in investigating similar tactics ahead of this season's player movement period.
Of course, differences in the two draft processes have been noted. The most obvious is the bigger pool and stronger depth of talent in the NFL Draft, as well as the advantage of having significantly larger roster sizes.
It therefore makes it far more common for NFL teams to trade down in the draft order to secure more picks than would ever be the case in the AFL.
However, it has still led to AFL clubs weighing up whether the risk of trading down into future drafts holds more value than staying put with better picks this year. That is due to clubs selecting prospects with less evidence of player improvement this season.
Talk among clubs around actually enacting this plan is a long way off. Indeed, almost every team has indicated it will wait until there is more certainty from the AFL as to what the trade and draft period will look like before finalising their approach to it.
Contract situations, potential cuts to list sizes and the prospect of a condensed NAB AFL Draft featuring far fewer picks are all likely to factor into how deeply clubs will look into this particular scenario.
However, it has already reached the point where clubs are identifying rival teams who could potentially be looking to move between 2020 and 2021 drafts depending on their list positions.
One recruiter contacted by AFL.com.au mentioned teams in the premiership window potentially trying to profit from the situation by trading out of this year's draft for more capital next season.
Another noted that younger teams could also benefit, should they back in their recruiting staff in an otherwise uncertain draft year, by trading into this year's pool and getting more value.
Greater Western Sydney, Melbourne, Port Adelaide and West Coast don't currently have 2020 first-round picks. Rival clubs have suggested they could be among the sides who might roll the dice on this year's draft by trying to trade for first-round picks at a cheaper rate.
Ultimately, NFL franchises largely held firm with 2020 picks across Friday, Saturday and Sunday's seven-round draft. However, would they have done so if there hadn't been a college football season precede it?
Thinking among clubs back home is perhaps not. It's why planning measures among AFL recruiters are already being drafted and tentatively thought about.
It's just one way in which clubs are identifying opportunities within an AFL world that is going to look incredibly different in the aftermath of the coronavirus crisis.