2020 NFL Draft: When Fantasy Football Becomes Reality

Originally scheduled for Las Vegas, the 2020 NFL Draft will instead be conducted virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, the league ultimately decided to proceed with a draft in an effort to provide hope to a sports world in need of it.

During an appearance on ESPN, Goodell expressed his belief in the NFL Draft to restore hope.

“It’s hope for our fans. It’s hope for our teams. It’s hope for our players, for these young men who are about to start their careers as prospects and players in the NFL. That’s what this is all about, and I think we need those diversions.”

The draft will be conducted entirely from home, with Goodell calling out the names of the first round picks from the basement of his house in New York. Although, roughly 60 draft prospects will have their reactions aired as they will be connected via remote video.

A virtual draft certainly poses some potential issues that the NFL in its entirety must be prepared for. Perhaps the biggest possible problem is glitching due to service interruptions. The league has already stated that they will be able to stop the clock when a team is drafting, should that team experience technical difficulties. Aside from glitching as its own issue, what is stopping teams from having staged “technical difficulties” in an effort to prolong the time they have to make a selection or formulate a trade?

In the 2016 NFL Draft, offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil saw his value drop just before the draft began. A video was posted to Twitter ten minutes prior to the draft that showed Tunsil with a gas mask smoking from a bong. The likely first overall pick became the thirteenth overall pick in a matter of minutes. Hopefully, the NFL has used previous draft issues to help formulate a plan to deal with potential concerns that may arise from this year’s virtual draft.

Draft day in the NFL, or any professional sport, is a day that comes once in a lifetime to the select few who are talented enough, and have dedicated years of hard work to earn the opportunity. Similar to graduation, getting married, or having a child, it is a day that players never forget as their dreams become reality.

Even though they won’t be seen walking across the stage to shake Goodell’s hand upon hearing their name called, let’s take a look at the potential top five picks in this year’s NFL Draft.

Cincinnati Benglas – Joe Burrow QB (LSU)

Burrow seems to be the unanimous overall first pick in this year’s draft. Burrow had arguably the best individual season for a quarterback in college football history in 2019 and led LSU to a National Championship. Additionally, the Bengals have been in need of a new, young quarterback as Andy Dalton has continued to disappoint year after year. Unfortunately, Cincinnati needs more than a new quarterback in order to be considered a contender in the coming seasons, but Joe Burrow would be a huge first step in the right direction.

2. Washington Redskins – Chase Young DE (Ohio State)

An absolute menace at Ohio State, Young is considered to be a franchise-changing player on the defensive side of the ball. After selecting quarterback Dwayne Haskins in the first round of last year’s draft, drafting his former Buckeye teammate would be the right move this year. Young would help bolster a Redskins defense that gave up approximately 27 points per game last season, the fifth-most of any team in the league.

3. Detroit Lions – Jeff Okudah CB (Ohio State)

Okudah would become the second Ohio State defensive player to be selected out of the top three picks in this year’s draft. After trading Darius Slay in the offseason, Detroit is looking to fill the spot at the cornerback position. What a replacement they would get in Okudah, who has great recovery skills and is quick enough to potentially become a shutdown-type corner.

4. New York Giants – Tristan Wirfs OL (Iowa)

Some debate surrounds the fourth overall pick in this year’s draft. Many believe that the Giants will select an offensive lineman and others believe they may draft Isaiah Simmons, the versatile linebacker from Clemson. Simmons certainly has the potential to have a significant impact on any team’s defense, but due to some offseason additions at the linebacker position made by the Giants, it is likely that they will select either Tristan Wirfs or Jedrick Willis with the fourth overall pick. Both lineman have a similar build, but Willis seems to be the safer pick here.

5. Miami Dolphins – Tua Tagovailoa QB (Alabama)

What had originally seemed to be a sure selection at number five overall, the Dolphins now seem to be deciding between Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert from Oregon. Both quarterbacks present tremendous upsides and have the skillset to be an elite quarterback at the next level. Although, as the most efficient quarterback in NCAA history during his time at Alabama has proven, Tua Tagovailoa will be drafted to lead Miami.

As NFL fans know, draft day is full of surprises. Whether picks are traded, players are traded, or questionable selections are made, the NFL Draft is sure to keep fans entertained and on the edge of their seat.

Be sure to tune in to ABC, ESPN or NFL Network on April 23-25 to see who your favorite team selects as the road to Super Bowl LV begins!

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