Due to the coronavirus pandemic, NFL fans won't be able to take aim at league commissioner Roger Goodell, who normally announces the first-round picks during the NFL Draft. Goodell will announce the first-round picks for this year's draft, but it will be a little different as the event will be all virtual. According to Peter King of NBC Sports, Goodell will announce the picks from his basement as he will be practicing the social distancing guidelines for the coronavirus pandemic. He will appear in front of an in-home camera in the basement of his home in Bronxville, New York.
"Roger Goodell will preside over the first round, as is the commissioner's habit," King wrote in his weekly column. "On April 23 at 8 p.m. ET, he'll appear via an in-home camera in the basement of his home in Westchester County, N.Y. Interesting note from a Saturday conversation with the NFL's special-events czar, Peter O'Reilly: During each pick, a virtual montage of 15 fans of the team on the clock will be the backdrop behind Goodell, with those fans reacting (booing?) to the commissioner and to whoever their team picks."
Last week, Goodell announced the draft details in a memo to all 32 teams. He wrote: "Because of these circumstances, Clubs have been advised to prepare to conduct the 2020 Draft entirely outside of their facilities and in a fully virtual format, with club personnel in separate locations and able to communicate with one another and Draft headquarters by phone or internet. We have reviewed this matter in the past few days with the Competition Committee and CEC, and this will confirm that Clubs will conduct their Draft operations remotely, with club personnel located separately in their homes."
The NFL offices have been closed since March 13, and all team facilities followed suit on March 26. The question is how will the virtual draft work? King was able to talk to Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff, and he showed him a setup of his home. Dimitroff will have three screens on the wall with one screen on ESPN, NFL's pick-by-pick feed another screen, and he will also have the Falcons draft board. He also has smaller touch screens with player reports and league information. The draft will air on ESPN, NFL Network ABC starting on Thursday, April 23 at 8 p.m. ET.