Pandemic Forces NFL to Hold a Virtual Draft

Amadu Tadesse, Staff Writer

   For the first time in the National Football League (NFL) history, the draft was held virtually through the internet, which was then broadcast on television. Due to COVID-19 and social distancing guidelines, all the players, managers, coaches, and even NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell tuned in from their homes.

   The draft is held every year during the offseason and provides the top college athletes a chance to be drafted into the NFL. The draft consists of seven rounds with a total of 254 picks and the order of the draft is based on team performance the past season. The team with the worst record in the past season gets the first pick in every round while the team that just won the Super Bowl gets the thirty-second (last) pick, in every round. This year the Cincinnati Bengals had the first overall pick. Freshman Marty Todorov, a fan of the Bengals, explained, “Although it’s embarrassing we were the worst team in the League last year, it’s still super exciting to have the first pick of the draft.” The draft is a way for every team to better their squad, and give fans new players to cheer them on for the upcoming season.

   Every year there are always a few surprises during the draft, with teams taking big chances on players or drafting players their fans don’t want. This year was a little different though; many fans and pundits hoped for some funny complications with teams’ internet connections and picks. Former Colts Punter and Sports Analyst Pat McAfee commented, “This has all the makings to be a total disaster… The NFL will deal with it, but this is going to be must-see television.” Unfortunately, there were no communication issues during the draft, but some teams still made some pretty shocking picks. The biggest surprise was the Green Bay Packers trading up in the first round to take Quarterback Jordan Love. Not only was Love a reach for a first-round pick in some people’s eyes, but the Packers already have Quarterback Aaron Rodgers, a potential Hall of Famer with four years still left on his contract (patmcafeeshow.com).

   With all the coaches, players, and managers communicating from their homes, there were a lot of interesting moments that were shared on national television. Many children were popping in and out of the camera wandering around. Also, viewers got to see coaches’ homes and see how basic and normal they were or saw the extravagant features of the mansions some lived in. For some, this virtual draft showed a deeper insight into the lives of many famous people in the industry. For others, it showed just how similar the lives of the people that are on television are to those of the people who are at home watching television.

   One of the biggest positives of this virtual draft is how coaches and the commissioner of the NFL actually enjoyed this version of the draft.

Although drafting online has been more difficult, many coaches and players alike have expressed their enjoyment with working from home.”

Miami Dolphins Manager explained, “It’s been a lot of fun actually… I haven’t spent this much time with family in a long time.” Not only that, but the draft also had a record viewership of over 55 million people and got generally positive reviews from the fans. The bottom line always comes down to the fans — the NFL would be nothing without its fans, so it’s important that their voice is heard. 

   The draft isn’t just for the players and teams, it’s for everybody. This year, with the help of the fans, they also raised over 100 million dollars for COVID-19 relief. Looks like this year was a real success.