The Sun : NFL Draft 2020 explained: ‘Fully virtual’ with no Las Vegas backdrop, millions of viewers and lives changed forever

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THIRTY TWO college kids will have their lives changed forever on Thursday night in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

Tens of millions of Americans will tune in to watch one of the biggest annual events in the sporting calendar despite no actual live sport taking place – much like transfer deadline day.

Commissioner Roger Goodell will announce this year's NFL Draft picks from his house in New York
AP:Associated Press
The NFL Draft stage was due to be built in front of the famous Fountains of Bellagio in Las Vegas
Clark County Nevada

Coronavirus may have forced some major changes to the Las Vegas spectacle and the first ever 'fully virtual' draft, but it's all systems go in the gridiron world.

Here's all you need to know about the 2020 NFL Draft.

What is the NFL Draft?

It's a selection of the best young talent from the college football ranks.

Over 200 prospects will be selected by the 32 teams over seven rounds in a three-day event.

Round one will take place on Thursday night, rounds two and three on Friday night, and rounds four to seven on Saturday.

To be draft eligible, players must have spent enough time in college education in the US or deemed eligible by the NFL. They must also have been out of high school for at least three years.

Joe Burrow admits NFL Draft prep has been 'super crazy' with coronavirus cancelling plans

How does it work?

Teams are placed in reverse order of their final standings from their previous season to determine the draft order.

So the Cincinnati Bengals, who won just two games last year, will have the No 1 overall pick followed by the three-win Washington Redskins.

The Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs will have the 32nd pick, just after the team they beat in the showpiece finale – the San Francisco 49ers.

Is it different because of coronavirus?

Oh yes. This year's draft was supposed to be held in Las Vegas in front of the famous Fountains of Bellagio.

Instead, this year's draft will be 'fully virtual' with team coaches and general managers forced to work from home.

Team executives have set up offices in their houses, and commissioner Roger Goodell will announce all the selections from his home in New York.

At the same time, the NFL are running a 'draft-a-thon' event to raise funds for America's fight against coronavirus.

The event will be streamed on NFL social channels and feature celebrities such as Kevin Hart.

The Fountains of Bellagio in Las Vegas were supposed to be the backdrop for this year's NFL Draft
Getty Images - Getty
The streets of Las Vegas are deserted as America battles coronavirus
AP:Associated Press

Who will be No 1 pick?

Quarterback Joe Burrow is the overwhelming favourite to be taken No 1 overall by the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Bengals need a quarterback (among other things) and Burrow was brought up down the road in Ohio – the stars seem aligned.

Defensive end Chase Young is expected to go second overall to the Washington Redskins.

Who is Joe Burrow?

The 23-year-old put on an absolute show last season with LSU in college football.

He threw 60 touchdowns in leading the Tigers to winning the National Championship – including an amazing 12 in two playoff games against Oklahoma and Clemson.

At 6 foot 4 and with an arm like that, Burrow is tipped to become one of the NFL's leading quarterbacks in years to come.

Joe Burrow is expected to be the No 1 overall pick on Thursday night
AP:Associated Press
Chase Young looks likely to be taken No 2 overall by the Washington Redskins
Getty Images - Getty

Anyone else to look out for?

Defensive beast Young has been labelled a 'generational talent' and most believe he is the best player in this year's draft.

Young is widely expected to go No 2 overall to Washington Redskins with Cincinnati seemingly having their heart set on Burrow.

Much of the pre-draft hype has also been about quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and where he will fall.

Tua's talent is similar to Burrow's but teams have concerns over his history of injuries.

He is expected to go No 6 overall to the Los Angeles Chargers as the third quarterback off the board behind Burrow (Cincinnati, 1) and Justin Herbert (Miami, 5).

Tua Tagovailoa comes with huge potential but injury concerns
AP:Associated Press

What about trades?

This is where it gets really interesting.

It's rare that the draft will go in order from last year's standings without a trade. Teams are open to swap their draft picks at any time throughout the season.

For example, Pittsburgh traded their first-round pick this year to Miami to bring in Minkah Fitzpatrick

That means Miami will pick fifth and 18th on Thursday night and Pittsburgh will have to wait until the second round to get involved.

The Dolphins also acquired the 26th overall pick in a trade from the Houston Texans.

Teams can also trade up on the night as the draft is unfolding. In 2017, Chicago Bears were third to select and broke the bank to move up to second.

They gave San Francisco 49ers the 3rd, 67th and 111th picks as well as a 2018 draft pick to move up to second and land quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.

The quarterback has turned out to be underwhelming so far in Chicago, and to make matters worse two of the league's leading lights Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson were taken after him.


UK: Sky Sports/Game Pass – Friday 1am, Friday midnight, Saturday 5pm

US: NFL Network/ESPN/ABC – Thursday 8pm ET, Friday 7pm, Saturday noon.

Does it always go to script?

No, it doesn't. Some No 1 overall picks prove their worth in the NFL, such as Peyton Manning in 1998.

But arguably the best ever quarterback Tom Brady was not selected until 199th overall in the 2000 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots.

Two former No 1 overall pick quarterbacks in ex-MVP Cam Newton and Jameis Winston are currently free agents in the league.

Tom Brady slipped all the way to 199 in the 2000 NFL Draft, and is widely considered the greatest quarterback ever

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