As you well know, the NFL Draft begun last night as we finally got to see an actual live sporting event for the first time in what feels like an eternity.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NFL were forced to cancel their normal extravagant party-like format, due to be held in Las Vegas. Instead, they went with a fully virtual format – and it worked surprisingly well.
Raiders fans and Las Vegas natives will be pleased to know that the NFL announced during their coverage last night that the NFL Draft will have a second attempt in Nevada next year.
For the most part there were very few issues throughout the course of the night as NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced the picks from his basement, while the virtual “war rooms” also seemingly worked well.
It was very different to what we’ve come to expect but, given the current climate, it was refreshing to see the NFL adapt and overcome the rubbish circumstances in such a positive way.
With the Draft-A-Thon going on alongside the draft, the NFL turned the event into a very positive experience all around, using the platform to raise money for the fight against COVID-19.
Personally, I missed the party atmosphere that the draft normally brings with it. The pantomime like booing of Goodell, the roar as the host city announces their pick – yeah, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t thoroughly miss that.
The situation at hand did lead to a few side effects too, one of which being a lack of trades. There were just four over the course of the evening, compared with 12 in the first round in 2019.
Also, for the first time since 2015, there wasn’t a single trade in the top ten picks.
It also meant that we couldn’t listen in on the conversations between the fresh draftees and their new GM or Head Coach – something which I always tend to find a highlight.
As for the picks themselves, as always there were one or two surprises but the first two picks proved to go the way we all expected.
Wide receiver Henry Ruggs III was the first off the board as the run on receivers we were expecting between 10 and 15 didn’t really materialise. Instead, we got something of a run on OT’s as Tristan Wirfs proved to be the surprise slide of the night, in my opinion at least.
Another major surprise was the Dallas Cowboys selecting wide receiver Ceedee Lamb at 17. The Oklahoma Sooner was tipped by many to be the first receiver off the board, but fell further than anticipated and, in the end, Jerry Jones and co couldn’t pass up on him – despite having more obvious needs than WR.