Eagles

Eagles

It hasn't even happened yet, but 2020 NFL Draft will be remembered as one of the most unique drafts of all-time. 

With social distancing measures in place to combat the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the NFL is holding a virtual draft starting April 23, with far less flash than past years and no in-person component.

If you're surprised the draft is still going on as scheduled, you're not alone. And if you're wondering how it will work, here are some answers to a few key questions.

Where will everyone be?

Normally, the top draft picks are waiting for their names to be called at a central location - this draft was supposed to be held Las Vegas - with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, while decision makers from each team are huddled in the same room at their respective team's facility.

This year, almost everyone will be working from home. Goodell will be announcing each pick from the basement of his New York home. A group of 58 players, most expected to be drafted in the first two rounds, will be in their respective homes, with cameras provided for their reactions. All other prospects will also be in their own homes.

Team decision makers like general managers, head coaches, and scouts will also be working from home. Each team, according to ESPN, has been allowed one IT specialist to join the general manager at their house, but otherwise the organizations' top minds will be spread out.

 

The Eagles, for example, explained this week that general manager Howie Roseman will be in his home, owner Jeffrey Lurie will be in his home, and head coach Doug Pederson will be in his South Jersey home, breaking up a triumvirate that would normally spend draft nights together.

How will the picks work?

Teams will use a secure, slightly modified version of Microsoft's Teams application, a Slack-like central messaging and communications app, according to ESPN.

The league has reportedly been working directly with Microsoft to safeguard the app's security, a step that should in theory help protect sensitive discussions and information from leaking. 

Some general managers expressed concerns about the security of using an online application make picks, especially amid ongoing Zoom bombing efforts around the country. 

The NFL will have staff from multiple departments, including Football Operations and IT, in touch with each team throughout the draft.

When a general manager/front office collective makes a pick, they will communicate the choice to league officials via the Teams application. If anything interferes with communicating via the app, each team will have the ability to call the pick in via phone, or email the pick to the league, according to ESPN.

How you can watch

The draft will be seen on ABC, ESPN and NFL Network, with ESPN handling the production. 

Here’s the full schedule: 

April 23: Round 1 (8-11:30 p.m. ET) 
April 24: Rounds 2-3 (7-11:30 p.m. ET)
April 25: Rounds 4-7 (12-7 p.m. ET) 

All three rounds will be on ABC, ESPN, NFL Network, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Radio. And the entire draft will be streamed on NFL and ESPN digital properties.

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