NFL Draft virtually broadcasts top picks


Courtesy of Tammy Anthony Baker

Joe Burrow, the LSU quarterback who led his team to a National Championship, was drafted first overall by the Cincinatti Bengals in the 2020 NFL Draft.

By Allison Jacobs, Editor-in-Chief

Due to social distancing and Coronavirus, the 2020 National Football League (NFL) Draft was broadcasted on TV, but was executed via Facetime calls from team coaches to the players being drafted. The first round of picks started on April 23rd, the second and third rounds on April 24th and the fourth through seventh rounds were on April 25th. Even though the draft was a challenge, the NFL took it head on. 

“I was a little scared something wasn’t going to work,” senior Jesse Lacefield said. “There were so many factors and things going into it, it seemed like something was for sure going to mess up and cause a delay.”

According to ESPN, ‘“almost every person involved in the draft will be working from home,” including Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the NFL. That baseline has required a massive IT effort to install and/or confirm reliable internet connections, appropriate equipment and backups for all. All 32 teams will be connected via one video conference, through a modified Microsoft Teams application, and will have a separate broadband connection with members of the league office.’

In order to make their pick, general managers told the league officials through the internet connection. Then they would facetime the player and tell them the good news as a family member or friend recorded the reaction of the room. 

After a brief introduction at 8 p.m., the first pick began. The Cincinnati Bengals had the first pick and they chose Louisiana State University quarterback Joe Burrow. The camera then switched to Burrow and his family celebrating in their family room as he talked to Mike Brown, the general manager for the Bengals.

“My favorite part was seeing the players reactions when they got drafted,” Lacefield said. “Even though they didn’t get to go up on stage, it was almost even more special because they were instead with their families in their own homes.”

The draft continued the same pattern, allowing 10 minutes for picks in the first round, then dropping to seven minutes for the second round, and five minutes for the third through seventh rounds. 

The rest of the top ten picks were Chase Young at second, then Jeff Okudah, Andrew Thomas, Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert, Derrick Brown, Isaiah Simmons, CJ Henderson and finally Jedrick Wills Jr. at the tenth pick. Instead of going upstage and getting a jersey, players were sent a hat for whichever team they were drafted by to represent the next chapter of their lives. 

“I think the draft went great,” Lacefield said. “Obviously I would prefer a normal draft, but I think with the conditions they were given, they really nailed it and it was a great event.”