The NFL’s first ever “virtual draft” did not disappoint


NFL Logo, Fair Use

This year, the 2020 NFL draft was held remotely, and it was virtually perfect.

Brady Wine, Staff Writer

With very little new things to watch on TV, especially from the world of sports, the NFL Draft could not have come at a more perfect time during this quarantine. However, instead of boats carrying draftees to an extravagant stage in Las Vegas, the NFL had to use an all-remote draft with everyone including NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, recorded live at home. Even with the extreme measures that were in place for this year’s draft, the NFL succeeded in putting on a great show to satisfy everyone’s boredom for at least a few hours over the course of 3 days, and surprisingly, was even better in some aspects than years prior.  

One of my least favorite parts of this year’s draft was the actual announcing of the draft picks by Goodell from his home. He did so in front of a panel of fans and cheerleaders from the selecting team because the NFL was going for a more connected experience even with everyone at home. This idea did help to showcase each team and its fans, but many times it made the picks hard to hear with yelling in the background when Goodell would announce. Also, with it being used for every pick announced—even beyond the first round—the live reactions were overused. As great as the in-person fan booing of Goodell tradition is at normal drafts, with him encouraging fans to boo him through a screen, it was not the same and just came off as forced.

Though the announcing of the selections was not as enjoyable as usual, (no player interviews to fill the time and other extra stuff involved) it allowed for the broadcast and commentators to focus on the player itself and get more analysis and highlights in. With ESPN and NFL Network crews working together, viewers could get more people to weigh in on each draft prospect, and get plenty of highlights and analysis for each player. Commentators were split up across the country, but between everyone the analysis flowed very well together and made for a great draft with even more information and in-game clips than usual that football fans could consume. It was great for myself as a football fan to hear analysts like Kurt Warner and Mel Kiper Jr. working together on one channel. 

Many people were bothered online about the overuse of tragedies with a lot of players in this draft, but these sad storylines with many of the draftees are pretty common for Draft’s in the past and didn’t affect my viewing experience much. With no in-person interviews and such to fill time, it was understandable that they needed information about players to fill time, and even though it took away from many players’ celebratory moods, it was fine with me because it did add more for analysts to talk about. 

The NFL Draft broadcast did the job to perfection.

— Brady Wine

Another great addition to this year’s draft unique from past years was the live shots of players at their house after being drafted. Usually, top prospects for the draft are gathered at the Draft location to celebrate being picked, but this year headline players were filmed with their families from their respective houses. This not only created great genuine reactions from everyone filmed but also helped create great storylines that helped keep the Draft interesting to watch and read about on social media. Whether it was Ceedee Lamb snatching his phone back from his girlfriend, or Isaiah Wilson’s mother pulling his girlfriend off of him so the camera could be on him after he was drafted, the storylines did not disappoint. 

For three days during this uncharted time, the NFL Draft broadcast did the job to perfection, giving fans entertainment as well as a glimpse ahead into the football season. Being able to incorporate commentators from the NFL Network and ESPN from across the country was most likely a very difficult task but came together very well. Though the broadcast did have its flaws, those were to be expected from a virtual draft and all in all combined to a unique draft that I will not forget watching.