1. The technology worked!
While many of us can’t join a Zoom meeting without remembering to turn our mics on, the NFL tech heads managed to pull of a remarkable feat, connecting 32 teams and hundreds of reporters, analysts, draftees and their families with very few glitches. Sure there were a few awkward moments – most of them involving Commissioner Roger Goodell – but by and large this was an amazingly well-executed piece of television.
Huge TV numbers last night: Round 1 of the NFL Draft had a record of 15.6 million viewers. The previous high was 12.6 million.
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) April 24, 2020
2. Roger Goodell might be the most wooden man in America
Admittedly it wouldn’t be easy for anyone to host an event of such magnitude from their basement, so we have to cut the Commish a little slack. But his interactions with the fans ‘booing’ him virtually, his attempted off-the-cuff comments and his bumbling and stumbling ‘thank you and goodnight’ speech didn’t do much to change his image as a stiff-shirted automaton.
— Sportsbet.com.au (@sportsbetcomau) April 24, 2020
3. The good side of isolation
Coaches and General Managers all had varying degrees of home setups, but it was great to see family members – often younger children – taking part in the draft. These are kids who generally don’t see their workaholic parents during the season, so to see them prepare and celebrate as part of the team was unique and something we’re unlikely to see again.
4. The bad side of isolation
Let me count the ways: Henry Ruggs in a bathrobe…CeeDee Lamb snatching a phone out of his girlfriend’s hand…whatever the hell was happening at Mike Vrabel’s house (apparently it wasn’t what people thought).
Let’s recap Mike Vrabel’s war room.
L-R: Normal girl, A GUY ON A TOILET, GUY IN A SUPER SUIT, Mike Vrabel, and his son (?) with a mullet wearing Mike’s pro bowl jersey pic.twitter.com/YRgzh2jgsD
— Chase Snyder (@ChasingSnyder) April 24, 2020
5. Predictions of chaos were highly exaggerated
Once again proving that no one really has any idea, the first seven or eight picks were relatively predictable, with no trades up or down and the obvious Joe Burrow/Chase Young/Jeff Okudah top three selections to open the draft.
6. Grand (and not so Grand) Designs
In what was a far cry from the traditional ‘war room,’ coaches and general managers made their picks from their own cribs. From Kliff Kingsbury’s billionaire bachelor pad to Dave Gettleman’s attic hideaway to Mike Zimmer’s Minnesota hunting lodge, it was fascinating to see the different décor that the player personnel people opted for.
compare and contrast pic.twitter.com/MQc8DdO2iq
— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) April 24, 2020
7. The Raiders never fail to disappoint
Somewhere Al Davis is smiling as the Raiders drafted a super-fast guy (Ruggs) ahead of two receivers (Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb) most rated higher.
Henry Ruggs III is the first WR drafted, going to Las Vegas.
Al Davis would have loved the Raiders pick.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 24, 2020
8. So much pure joy
There were some beautiful scenes from family homes that you wouldn’t have seen had the draft been held normally. A thankful, pensive Cesar Ruiz with his head in his hands, a joyful Justin Jefferson – who the Eagles passed on at #21 – obviously ecstatic to be picked by Minnesota at #22 and Javon Kinlaw’s father, amazed that his son was taken by the team he supports.
Mr. Kinlaw is a lifelong #49ers fan.
— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) April 24, 2020
9. The preoccupation with death
There are always heartbreaking stories of draftees who lost a parent, a sibling or a friend in tragic circumstances. But ESPN seemed to take it to another level this year, with unnecessary explanations of these personal events. Trey Wingo’s painful description of Jordan Love’s father’s suicide crossed the line into tabloid television and was very difficult to watch.
10. Paging Aaron Rodgers
The quickest time known to man was the time between Green Bay trading up to pick #26 to take Jordan Love and social media exploding with Aaron Rodgers takes.
Someone start the rumor Aaron Rodgers to NE 👀
— Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) April 24, 2020