It was hard to know what to expect from the 2020 NFL draft when it was announced it would be done virtually. Many fans, and some team personnel, feared the worst in regards to relying on technology for a process which helps shape a franchise for years to come. But with the virtual draft appearing to be pulled off without any glitches, it made for some interesting and entertaining moments.
It is possible that the 2020 NFL draft might end up producing more memes than any other NFL draft… combined. Between moms pulling girlfriends off of their sons, prospects snatching phones away from people, and couples emerging suspiciously from other rooms, there has been plenty of entertainment behind the scenes from the 2020 draft. And that is just the humans.
But with the side stories and entertainment removed, was it a successful draft format? For the times we are living in with the current global pandemic, it’s amazing the NFL was able to pull off their yearly spectacle. Add in the fact many people are longing for sports, the three days of the NFL draft had me forgetting about many other things going in this world if only for a while. Do to the fact this was the most-watched draft in NFL history, I can say with certainty I was not alone.
As for the coaches and GM’s involved in the process, some of them gave the virtual setting a ringing endorsement.
Anthony Lynn on the virtual draft: "Hell, I was talking to some of the other NFL coaches, and we was thinking maybe we should do this again next year. I mean, I'm at home in a t-shirt and shorts. No tie, no suit. It's pretty comfortable."— Daniel Popper (@danielrpopper) April 25, 2020
One downside of the virtual draft was players losing their moment to walk across the stage. For those few who have had the experience, it’s something they will never forget. With having the draft conducted in this manner an impossibility right now, the NFL did a fantastic job holding the event as close to normally as possible.
It will be interesting to see how the players selected in the draft pan out for their NFL teams. Perhaps some teams got a steel late in the draft which they may not have otherwise based on the change in the process over the last several months. Or perhaps things weren’t really affected all that much when it came to player evaluations and teams making their selections.
One thing we do know for sure: If, a few years down the road, a team is deemed to have a very weak 2020 draft class, they will automatically have a built-in excuse.