The 2020 NFL Draft is finally here. After weeks of mock drafts and rumors, all 32 teams will select their new players in the draft, which will take place over three days, Thursday through Saturday. And due to the coronavirus pandemic, the NFL Draft is the first major sporting event in over a month. However, this year's draft won't be like the ones in years past, as it will be completely virtual. Also, the draft will serve as a fundraiser benefitting six charities that are battling the spread of COVID-19. The first round of the draft will air Thursday night starting at 8 p.m. ET. It can be seen on ABC, ESPN, NFL Network, ESPN Deportes, and ESPN Radio. The coverage of the draft can be streamed on CBS Sports HQ.
The reason the draft will be all virtual is the league is practicing social distancing to help fight coronavirus. Earlier this month, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell shared details of the virtual draft, and he said: "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."
This week, the NFL teams held a virtual mock draft to get ready for the real thing. Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network said there were some issues, including one team not showing up on time and a few general managers didn't mute their cell phones, which is a violation of the rules. "There were some issues because the initial NFL script had the Cowboys and the Bengals making a trade for the No. 1 pick," Pelissero said. "Jerry Jones and company had to figure out how the league wanted that to be done."
The Cincinnati Bengals are on the clock with the No. 1 pick. It has been predicted the Bengals will take LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, the 2019 Heisman Trophy winner who led the Tigers to a national championship.