In less than 24 hours from now, the 2020 NFL Draft will begin and it will be unlike any other in the history of the league. Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, this year’s draft will be fully virtual. No handshakes with the commissioner on the stage, no booing or cheering from fans in attendance when they hear pick selections. Teams will not be allowed to gather at team facilities and have been instructed to conduct draft operations remotely with essential staff only.
The 2020 NFL Draft runs Thursday, April 23 through Saturday, April 25. The first round will take place on Thursday at 8 p.m. EST with rounds two and three airing on Friday beginning at 7 p.m. The last four rounds will happen on Saturday kicking off at high noon. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will announce the picks of the first round from his home in New York City, per a report by NBC Sports.
Tonight, I’ll take a look at five things I’m looking forward to with this year’s draft.
Overall success of the virtual draft/broadcast efficiency
With the draft being completely virtual, there’s plenty that could go wrong. From a standard technology standpoint to the threat of the draft being hacked. Besides that, as someone with a background in working with a sports broadcasting team, I know all the work that goes into a smooth broadcast that we all get to enjoy from our couch or favorite sports bar. I can’t imagine all the other hurdles and extra concerns with covering the draft remotely and getting the many interviews and segments together. I’m just interested to see how things unfold and what the broadcast itself will look like for all of us sitting at home.
While I suspect we won’t have much drama or surprises with this year’s top pick, never say never. Joe Burrow to the Cincinnati Bengals makes plenty of sense and will almost certainly be how it unfolds. Heck, reports broke Wednesday that he’s already been informed by Cincinnati that he is their guy. Nevertheless, there’s always a buzz around that first overall pick in the draft.
Excitement of the moment
I hate that these guys have waited their entire lives for this moment only to be robbed of the full draft day experience. Makes matters even worse that simply having all your close friends and family over for a watch party isn’t feasible, either. On the bright side, lives will still be changed forever and dreams will become realities. Nothing like seeing the raw emotion from guys the moment they pick up the phone or hear their name called. It’s my favorite part of professional sports and it’s not even close.
As a Clemson fan, I’ll obviously be extra excited anytime a Tiger gets drafted this weekend. There are several former Tigers that will make that jump to the next level and I’m excited for them all. Isaiah Simmons will likely be the first to come off the board but Tee Higgins, A.J. Terrell, K’Von Wallace, Tanner Muse, John Simpson and Tremayne Anchrum should all stay near their phones and computers this weekend. Maybe we’ll finally see the Carolina panthers draft a Clemson Tiger for the first time ever.
Finally, I’m just pumped for a live sporting event on television. I honestly don’t care too much what it is. But the NFL Draft is as good of an event as any to give us a little sports fix. We’ve all desperately missed sports and live games. I’ll be honest that I don’t typically get as invested into actually watching the draft most years but that won’t be the case this weekend. I think we are all aggressively itching for anything sports related to watch. It won’t have the same draft weekend vibe we’re accustomed to but at this point we have to take what we can get.