NFL Draft Goes Virtual; Tune in at Home Beginning April 23

NFL teams will make their selections from home. Camera crews will capture the reactions from the homes of the top 58 prospects.

For the first time in history, the NFL draft will be held in a virtual format due to the Coronavirus pandemic and the resulting social distancing and stay at home orders.  This will be remembered as one of the most unique drafts of all time.  The live draft is one of the most important moments in a football player’s life.  Last year, the draft brought in more than 600,000 people to Nashville while approximately 47.5 million people watched from home.

The draft was originally planned for Las Vegas to coincide with the Las Vegas Raiders’ arrival in the city. It was supposed to be the most outlandish spectacle yet, with players arriving by boat on the red carpet stage at the Bellagio’s fountains. Now, it will look a lot different.  Commissioner Roger Goodell will announce the names of this year’s first-round draft picks from his home in New York.  In addition, NFL teams will make their selections from home, making this show a fully virtual draft. The players will also be at home, with cameras being sent to the homes of the top 58 prospects to capture their reactions. During the first round, each team has 10 minutes to make its pick, but some teams might be granted extra time if their remote equipment malfunctions while they’re on the clock.

The first pick is expected to go to the Cincinnati Bengals and is expected to take former LSU quarterback Joe Burrow. Burrow threw for 5,671 yards and 60 touchdowns in 2019 and also led the team to the NCAA championship. Most analysts expect the top five to consist of Chase Young, Jeff Okudah and Tristan Wirfs.

The decision to hold the draft virtually wasn’t a surprise. Commissioner Goodell said, “The draft has always been about hope, but this year with all that’s going on in our society and around the globe, we need more experiences together and we need that ability to look forward and maybe have a distraction or diversion from all that we’re going through over the last couple of months. And this is a way to bring people together virtually.” Many professional leagues have chosen to shut down for the time being, not only for the health of their players, but to set an example for the fans to practice social distancing.

The NFL Draft 2020 will begin on Thursday, April 23 and end on Saturday, April 25. Fans can watch on ABC, ESPN and NFL Network.