It won't be the glamour or have the star power that past NFL drafts have, but tomorrow night's draft will be something entirely different.
Due to the COVID-19 distancing guidelines, there will not be a gathering in a selected city with the predicted players seated waiting to have their name called. Since 2015, the draft has been held at Chicago, Arlington, Philadelphia and Nashville. It was to be held in Las Vegas this year.
Instead, all the general managers or presidents of the 32 teams will be at remote locations calling in their picks. While the discussion is that the selectors will be at homes, nothing requires them to do so. Each team will have a designated selector who will make the pick using the NFL's Microsoft Team's encrypted draft channel. That person can also call Ken Fiore, the vice president of player personnel, to make the pick in case of a disruption.
Roger Goodell, the NFL Commissioner, will be announcing the first-round picks from his basement, according to NBC's Peter King.
“All clubs should now be doing the necessary planning to conduct draft operations in a location outside of your facility, “ said Goodell in a memo, “with a limited number of people present, and with sufficient technology resources to allow you to communicate internally, with other clubs, and with draft headquarters. “
Players considered top picks have been sent cameras in order to get their reactions live from home when they are selected. An interesting fact about that is all players have been warned not to show any non-NFL sponsored items.
As in the past, the first round will be held on the first night, followed by rounds two and three on Friday. Round four-seven will be held on Saturday. ABC and ESPN will broadcast all seven rounds.
Cincinnati will have the first pick. Rounding out the top 10 will be Washington, Detroit, the New York Giants, Miami, Los Angeles Chargers, Carolina, Arizona, Jacksonville and Cleveland.
Several teams have multiple first round picks due to trades. Besides having the fourth pick, Miami also has the 18th (from Pittsburgh) and 26th ( from Houston) picks. San Francisco selects 13th (from Indianapolis) and 31st. Minnesota has picks No. 22 (from Buffalo) and 25. Las Vegas has the 12th and 19th (from Chicago) picks. Besides the ninth pick, Jacksonville also has the Los Angeles Rams 20th pick.
While Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow of LSU is considered by many to be the player that will be selected first, a pair of players from The Ohio State University could be selected very early. Defensive lineman Chase Young and defensive back Jeff Okudah are considered top prospects.
The Cleveland Browns have the 10th pick in the first round but will have the ninth pick of the second round, swapping places with Jacksonville. Since both teams finished the 2019 season with 6-10 records, they will alternate places after the first round.
Cleveland is expected to take a tackle, preferably a left tackle. The top prospects at tackles are Jedrick Wills of Alabama, Andrew Thomas of Georgia, Tristan Wirfs of Iowa and Mekhi Becton of Louisville.
Last week, NFL Media's Ian Rapoport suggested that the Browns would be trading down, taking tackle Ezra Cleveland of Boise State in the second round. The Browns would take a linebacker, either Kenneth Murray or Patrick Queen, in the first round at No. 15 in a linebacker-light draft.
The draft began in 1933 and had, at one time, as many as 30 rounds. It wasn't until the 1980s that it became the big television event, pushed to the front by ESPN.