NFL DRAFT PICKS 1-5
1. Cincinnati Bengals: Louisiana State quarterback Joe Burrow
2. Washington Redskins: Ohio State defensive end Chase Young
3. Detroit Lions: Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah
4. New York Giants: Georgia offensive tackle Andrew Thomas
5. Miami Dolphins: Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa
He didn’t shake NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s hand at the podium, and there weren’t any fans adulating him at his home in Athens, Ohio on Thursday night, but Louisiana State quarterback Joe Burrow was picked first by the Cincinnati Bengals to open league’s virtual draft amid the COVID-19 crisis.
‘It’s a dream come true,’ Burrow told ESPN from his parents’ living room while wearing a shirt emblazoned with the state of Ohio and Athens’ area code, 740.
Burrow is one of 58 NFL hopefuls who received camera equipment from the league to set up a makeshift studio in their respective homes for this week’s draft after plans to host the event in Las Vegas were scrapped due to the ongoing epidemic.
Instead of being booed on stage, Goodell received his annual dose of vitriol over social media on Thursday night as he announced picks from his basement in Bronxville, New York.
Even the national anthem was performed from the New Orleans-area home of Emmy award-winning singer and devout Saints fan Harry Connick Jr.
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Unlike other top picks who were applauded on stage with commissioner Roger Goodell, LSU quarterback Joe Burrow was on his parents’ couch in Athens, Ohio when he went first overall
Louisiana State quarterback and Heisman winner Joe Burrow is expected to be taken first overall by the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday. The Ohio native is coming off a national title
Goodell hosted the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday from his basement in Bronxville
Barber shops are not open in Burrow’s hometown in Ohio, so he may look a bit harrier tonight
Much fo the NFL Draft was seen in split-screen, as participants continued to shelter at home
Burrow moves to a team that went 2-14 last season under first-year coach Zac Taylor, losing a club-record 11 games in a row. Cincinnati has lost 21 of its last 24 games.
Ohio State defensive end Chase Young was taken second overall by his hometown team, the Washington Redskins. Young and Burrow were briefly teammates on the Buckeyes before the quarterback transferred to LSU.
Washington received calls from other teams interested in trading up but opted to take a Heisman Trophy finalist considered by many the top non-quarterback available in the NFL draft.
Young appears to have that potential. He led the nation with 16 1/2 sacks and had 46 tackles during his junior season. Vice president of player personnel Kyle Smith said ‘everything’ stands out about Young.
NFL DRAFT PICKS 6-10
6. Los Angeles Chargers: Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert
7. Carolina Panthers: Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown
8. Arizona Cardinals: Clemson outside linebacker Isaiah Simmons
9. Jacksonville Jaguars: Florida cornerback CJ Henderson
10. Cleveland Browns: Alabama offensive tackle Jedrick Wills Jr.
New coach Ron Rivera believes a top-five pick needs to provide an immediate impact, and the Redskins went with the best player available rather than addressing a major need. They already have Ryan Kerrigan and 2019 first-rounder Montez Sweat as part of their pass rush and spent 2017 and 2018 first-round picks on defensive linemen Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne.
Young already endeared himself to Redskins fans on Thursday morning by sending lunch to 300 nurses at Southern Maryland Hospital, where he was born 21 years ago.
Young was followed by another teammate, cornerback Jeff Okudah, who was taken third by the Detroit Lions.
After taking quarterback Daniel Jones in the first round last season, the New York Giants looked to protect him with the fourth pick on Thursday, Georgia offensive tackle Andrew Thomas.
Thomas started 41 games for the Bulldogs in three seasons, the last 26 at left tackle. The 6-foot-5, 320-pounder was considered the most complete tackle in the draft, but some experts felt others had a bigger upside.
Ohio State’s Chase Young is expected to be picked second by his hometown Redskins
Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa was taken fifth by Miami despite some injury concerns
With Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert (pictured) also potential top 10 picks, this could be the sixth straight year with multiple quarterbacks selected among the first 10 selections. That would be the longest such streak in the common draft era
Despite some concerns about his surgically repaired hip, Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was taken fifth overall by the quarterback-starved Miami Dolphins.
The Dolphins hope Tagovailoa can become a franchise quarterback and the centerpiece of their rebuilding effort that began a year ago. They were undeterred by his long injury history, most recently a dislocated and fractured hip that ended his 2019 season in mid-November.
Last month doctors cleared Tagovailoa to run and begin football activities, and his agent has said his client is healthy and will be ready for training camp. That would allow Tagovailoa to compete with returning starter Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is 37 and in a caretaker role.
NFL DRAFT PICKS 11-15
11. New York Jets: Louisville offensive tackle Mekhi Becton
12. Las Vegas Raiders: Alabama wide receiver Henry Rugs III
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Iowa offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs
14. San Francisco 49ers: South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw
15. Denver Broncos: Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy
He was followed by Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert, who went sixth to the Los Angeles Chargers, who are replacing longtime starter Philip Rivers.
It is the first time the Chargers have selected a quarterback in the first round since they took Eli Manning with the top overall pick in 2004. Manning was traded 90 minutes later to the New York Giants for Rivers.
General manager Tom Telesco can only hope to get as much out of Herbert as the Chargers got out of Rivers, who started 235 consecutive regular-season and playoff games over the past 14 seasons.
Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown went seventh overall to the Carolina Panthers.
Clemson outside linebacker Isaiah Simmons was picked eighth overall by the Arizona Cardinals.
The Cardinals were expected to take an offensive tackle or a defensive lineman with their first selection but the prospect of adding the versatile Simmons proved too good an opportunity. The 6-foot-4, 230-pounder was a do-everything defender for the Tigers who had 104 total tackles, seven sacks and three interceptions in 2019.
Florida cornerback CJ Henderson went ninth to the Jacksonville Jaguars, who traded starting cornerback Jalen Ramsey to the Los Angeles Rams last season for multiple first-round picks.
Alabama offensive tackle Jedrick Wills Jr. was taken tenth by the Cleveland Browns, who are looking to protect third-year quarterback Baker Mayfield.
The New York Jets followed by taking massive Louisville offensive tackle Mekhi Becton, who stands 6-foot-7, 365 pounds and is among the biggest players in this year’s draft.
Another member of the Crimson Tide, wide receiver Henry Ruggs III, went 12th overall, becoming the first pick of the newly relocated Las Vegas Raiders.
The move to take Ruggs gives the Raiders the dynamic receiver they had hoped they had acquired a year ago when they traded for Antonio Brown, only to cut him before he ever played a game for the team.
Perhaps looking to protect newly acquired Tom Brady, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers traded up to the 13th pick to take Iowa offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs.
The San Francisco 49ers traded down to No. 14 and drafted South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw.
Another Alabama wide receiver, Jerry Jeudy, went 15th to the Denver Broncos.
Ohio State defensive back Jeff Okudah went third overall to the defensively challenged Lions
After taking quarterback Daniel Jones in the first round last season, the New York Giants looked to protect him with the fourth pick on Thursday, Georgia tackle Andrew Thomas
Clemson’s Isaiah Simmons was picked eighth overall by the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday
Goodell, who ordered all team facilities closed on March 26 and has extended that ban indefinitely, didn’t share any hugs with Burrow, Young or any of the other 32 first-rounders. He offered congratulations remotely, in an unusually understated broadcast, by NFL standards.
It’s unlike anything his predecessor, Paul Tagliabue, ever faced as commissioner. In fact, not since the NFL draft became a televised event in 1980 has it been stripped to the basics like this year’s proceedings will be.
With all participants and staff sheltering in place, the NFL needed to build massive technical infrastructure over just a few weeks to bring the draft to fruition under difficult circumstances.
Some of it already existed because of the amount of video transmitted during games, but this is more extensive because of the more than 100 feeds coming in from prospects, general managers, coaches and fans. Three call centers were set up to serve as the main point of communication before they were transferred to the ESPN/NFL Network production center in Bristol, Connecticut, to be interviewed.
In an effort to raise money for the NFL draft-a-thon, which will benefit COVID-19 relief charities, Goodell appeared in a Bud Light ad asking fans to record themselves booing the Commissioner and using the hashtag, ‘#BooTheCommish.’ Bud Light pledged to donate $1 for every tweet containing that hashtag up to $500,000. To date, the claims it has donated $76 million to COVID-19 relief efforts in collaboration with the National Football League Players Association, clubs, owners, and players
Fifty-eight prospects received video kits from the NFL that record their reactions to being selected, whether is it is during the first round on Thursday, second or third rounds on Friday, or during the remaining four rounds on Saturday.
The kits sent to prospects included two cellphones, two light stands, a pair of tripods, a headset for interviews and a microphone. One of the phone cameras was to stay on the entire time until the player was selected while the other was used for interviews with Goodell and the teams that pick them.
The package also included hats from all 32 teams, so the players could put on the right one after they’re selected.
Michelle McKenna, the NFL’s chief information officer, said prospects had an easier time adjusting to things being done virtually.
‘You don’t have to tell them how to mute or unmute a phone because they know how to do it,’ she said. ‘The only issues have been making sure the framing and lighting were going to be right.’
Coaches and general managers also received a kit, but it included only one phone. While the information technology departments of teams put in overtime to ensure homes are set up for the draft, not much rewiring was required in Goodell’s basement, where the commissioner dug in during the draft.
Goodell’s home in Bronxville, New York, has plenty of televisions in the basement for him to watch games on weekends when he isn’t traveling.
Roger Goodell on stage during the first round of the NFL Draft on April 25, 2019 in Nashville
‘One of the fun things has been seeing how relaxed he (Goodell) has been throughout the process,’ McKenna said. ‘He recognizes it is a special moment in history and we can do something unique.’
In an effort to raise money for the NFL draft-a-thon, which will benefit COVID-19 relief charities, Goodell appeared in a Bud Light ad asking fans to record themselves booing the Commissioner and using the hashtag, ‘#BooTheCommish.’
Bud Light pledged to donate $1 for every tweet containing that hashtag up to $500,000. To date, the NFL claims it has donated $76 million to COVID-19 relief efforts in collaboration with the National Football League Players Association, clubs, owners, and players.
There were some teams that wanted the draft pushed back a few weeks. The main issue naturally, has been the collection of information.
With no in-person interviews outside of the brief ones at the scouting combine, few pro days and, perhaps most essentially, no in-depth physical exams conducted by team doctors, the deep data dives have turned into snorkeling exercises.
That obviously didn’t hurt the likes of Burrow, the Heisman winner who had been projected to be taken first overall for months.
Chase Young, a Washington-area native, is already endeared himself to Redskins fans by sending lunch to 300 nurses at Southern Maryland Hospital
Goodell did address the upcoming 2020 season, but stopped short of guaranteeing that it would begin on time with fans in the stadiums.
‘We’re going to be prepared, obviously, to play as planned,’ he said, ‘but we’re also going to be prepared and look at alternatives.
‘Right now, it’s too early to speculate on anything specific that we’d be focusing on. We’ve still got 3 1/2 months before we kick off (the preseason). So, I think what we’re going to do is obviously help be part of the solution. Try to help get our economy back, our country back.’
Goodell did stress that he would listen to government officials when making his decision about returning amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
‘I just believe that our job is to continue on, and to operate within whatever guidelines are necessary to keep our personnel safe,’ he said. ‘But we also need to carry on. We need to move towards the future, we need to make sure that we’re prepared when we come out of this to be in position to start our season on time and to play our season.
‘That’s our role.’
Grammy and Emmy award winner Harry Connick Jr. sang the national anthem from his New Orleans-area home. Connick is a well-known Saints fan