First Online NFL Draft Makes History

Nate Rashkind, Sports and Entertainment Editor

On April 23, 2020, the NFL made history. For the first time in its history, the annual draft was held virtually, as a result of the novel CoronaVirus outbreak that has ravaged the United States, as well as the rest of the world. Instead of making picks from the fountains of the Bellagio in downtown Las Vegas, teams made their choices from their living rooms or offices, while the draft hopeful players sat waiting to hear their names called. 

While it was noticeably different, ESPN and the NFL spent weeks trying to recreate the feelings of the drafts over the past number of decades. As the draft commenced the first pick was one that seemed inevitable for months. Roger Goodell confirmed this, as he announced Joe Burrow from Louisiana State University as the first overall pick. As he was picked, Burrow simulated the walk he would have done across the stage in Las Vegas, walking over to his father and then celebrating with his family. Burrow had just finished one of the most successful single seasons in College Football history. He led LSU to the National Championship,and won one of the most illustrious awards in football, the Heisman Trophy. Burrow will look to lead the struggling Cincinnati Bengals, who were an abysmal two and fourteen in 2019. 

With the second pick the Washington Redskins took hometown hero Chase Young who was considered by many to have the highest upside of any player in the draft. At six foot five and 265 pounds, young seemed like the obvious second choice after Burrow. Young seems poised to be a starter early after being the most dominant player on the field at Ohio State, giving the opposing team nightmares all game long. 

After Young, there was little sense as to who would go next. Many felt Clemson’s Isaiah Simmons was a more than worthy third pick, however, the Detroit Lions took cornerback Jeff Okudah also from Ohio State. From the beginning of this season it was clear that Okudah was the best cornerback in the class, constantly shutting down the opposing team’s top player.

During a time when people are feeling uncertain and isolated, the NFL online draft provided a welcome distraction and joy to countless families.