COVID-19 leads to virtual NFL Draft

Tonight is the much anticipated National Football League’s 2020 Draft. Usually this momentous event is held on a grand stage in Vegas. Tonight, due to the affects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Draft will be held virtually from living rooms across the country.

“I think it is a good call to keep people safe,” freshman TC Smith said, “but I think it will take some of the virtue out of it for the people being drafted since they will not be there living in the moment.”

Upon the start of the NFL Draft, announcers took the time to show an opening sequence focusing on one thing: hope.

Star quarterback Peyton Manning narrated an opening video sharing this “powerful” opening.

“This may look like separation but it’s actually solidary. It’s sacrifice and service to the greater good. It’s a sign that through isolation we are fighting as one. And there’s no better reason than that for hope. Hope is something we sports fans know all about. It’s what keeps us cheering year after year… And in football the draft is where hope starts all over again… But this year we’re hoping for more than a future star, a stronger line, or greater speed. We’re hoping to fill a deeper need,” Manning said.

With nearly every aspect of our normal everyday lives affected by COVID-19, I was pleased to see that the NFL chose to acknowledge this pandemic instead of trying to distract people from it. Although, it would be hard to ignore the fact that everything about this first ever virtual draft looks different from years past.

“I think this is a smart and intuitive way of doing things due to our current situations going on in the world. I’m glad [the Draft] didn’t get pushed back because this still give us that sense of security that everything will return back to form,” junior Darren Porche said.

With the absence of usually present sports, the success of a virtual Draft helps to recreate that sense or normalcy that many people have been missing.

College students alone now have to juggle their full-time class load online after being sent home from their universities. While this was done with the best intentions and the safety of everyone in mind, it has still been a large bump in their journey to become accustomed to.

“It’s a been a hard adjustment because not everyone’s situations at home is the same and unfortunately mine is one that’s not so good. Some of my classes I’ve been told to either take the incomplete or withdraw from. Still though I’ve been doing good in the other classes to where I’m going to finish strong during this,” Porche said.

The NFL, being as popular as it is, is doing their best to remind us to be hopeful during these difficult times. To hope that things will get better and this pandemic won’t last forever.

With this message as the introduction, the first night of the 2020 Draft began.

The first pick decision of the evening went to the Cincinnati Bengals. Once they are “on the clock” they have 10 minutes to either make a trade with another team or select a draftable player.

The Bengals went on to select Joe Burrow as the number 1 overall pick of the 2020 Draft.

Day one featured all first round Draft picks with player and coach interviews along the way. The South Eastern Conference (SEC) also set a new record for the most 1st-round Draft picks by conference this year with a total of 15.

Tomorrow for day two will feature rounds two and three. Saturday’s day three with showcase rounds four through seven to wrap up the three day event. Day two will begin at 7pm ET, and day three will get started at noon ET.

Students, athletes, and fans of the sport remain hopeful that COVID-19 will be cleared up enough to continue with the start of football season this fall.

“I think this will all be over towards the end of summer and the season will kick off on time,” Porche said. “During the time between now and then I think the NFL will do something rigorous test on players coaches and staff in order for this to happen, which they have already, and this will be something to look back and just return life back to [normal].”

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