Football fans are counting the seconds until the NFL Draft kicks off on Thursday.
And we really hope the draftees take the virtual stage just like this.
On Thursday, the 2020 NFL Draft weekend will ensue, running all the way through Saturday. It marks the first time the NFL Draft will be held virtually.
Here’s everything you need to know about the first-ever virtual NFL Draft:
Round 1: Thursday, April 23, 8 p.m. ET
Rounds 2 and 3: Friday, April 24, 7 p.m. ET
Rounds 4 – 7: Saturday, April 25, noon ET
ESPN and NFL Network are collaborating on one broadcast, which will air on both networks. ABC will broadcast its own show.
In addition, there will be a special live stream component added to the joint broadcast. A “Draft-A-Thon” fundraiser will provide aid to healthcare workers and first responders who have been working tirelessly to combat COVID-19.
NFL UNVEILS PLANS FOR DRAFT-A-THON LIVE STREAM
For more information: https://t.co/VwcLl8Plfo
— NFL345 (@NFL345) April 17, 2020
How will the virtual draft work?
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will announce draft picks from the basement in his home in New York.
From NFL Now: Commissioner Roger Goodell will announce picks from his house, a secured trade line is coming… and other virtual draft tidbits. pic.twitter.com/xNGSSJAnRx
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 13, 2020
All personnel from the 32 teams will participate in the draft from home, working and communicating remotely to make their selections.
Teams and NFL personnel will stay connected through a private video conference on an encrypted channel using the Microsoft Teams app, as well as through a league-wide conference call that will be ongoing during the entirety of the draft. Each franchise will also have a direct way to contact NFL officials if needed.
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) April 18, 2020
Each organization will have one designated drafter – most likely the general manager – who will submit the team’s pick. The designated drafter will send a message to VP of Player Personnel Ken Fiore on the Microsoft Teams draft channel in order to make a selection. If any technical difficulties occur, the designated drafter can call or email Fiore or announce their pick on the league-wide conference call.
Fans will still have access to their favorite teams – there will be cameras set up in the homes of all 32 general managers and coaches.
Draftees will also be at home, and while they won’t get to walk across the stage and hug the commissioner, the league shipped cameras to the top 58 prospects so that they can still share with the world their special moment.
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) April 22, 2020
Strict rules still apply, including no more than six people on-camera in the homes of these future NFL-ers.
Lastly, New Era sent 32 hats to the prospects, so they can rock the cap of their new team after they’ve been selected – because we all know that’s a very important part of this whole thing.
How many picks are in each round?
There are 255 picks in total, and almost every round features a different number of picks. Here’s what the lineup looks like:
Rounds 1 and 2: 32 picks
Round 3: 42 picks
Round 4: 40 picks
Round 5: 34 picks
Round 6: 36 picks
Round 7: 41 picks
What’s the draft order?
The first round looks like this:
4. NY Giants
6. LA Chargers
11. NY Jets
12. Las Vegas
13. San Francisco f/IND
14. Tampa Bay
18. Miami f/PIT
19. Las Vegas f/CHI
20. Jacksonville f/LAR
22. Minnesota f/BUF
23. New England
24. New Orleans
26. Miami f/HOU
30. Green Bay
31. San Francisco
32. Kansas City
How many picks does each team have?
— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) April 20, 2020
It’s almost that time❗️
Tune in starting Thursday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC, ESPN, and NFL Network❗️ pic.twitter.com/LRWQcSDKmZ
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) April 22, 2020
The Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, San Fransisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans and Washington Redskins all have 7 picks.
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) April 18, 2020
The Bills, Bears, Texans, Colts and Steelers are the five teams that currently don’t have a first-round pick.
How was Monday’s test draft?
Because of potential technical issues, the league organized a practice draft on Monday to ensure things will run smoothly for the main event beginning Thursday. The test had a few minor glitches that caused delays, and several unmuted phone lines created a chaotic conference call.
But all-in-all, the outcome was positive.
“The fact of the matter is, this is the reality that we are all living in,” said Adam Schefter. “This is how teams have to conduct their business, and the rest of the draft was done without any issues at all.”
“The NFL is prepared to stand down and stop the clock if it has to. It’s not like it’s going to put the draft on auto-draft …”@AdamSchefter on the NFL Draft’s virtual test-run. pic.twitter.com/xDskb3vC20
— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) April 21, 2020
The NFL will allow each team to have one I.T. personnel onsite at the home of each team’s designated drafter, in case any technical difficulties arise. There will also be security personnel onsite.
Will the crowd boo Roger Goodell?
But for a good cause!
A chorus of boos will ring out whenever Goodell steps up to the podium from submitted online videos, and every time a booing video is played, Bud Light will donate to the Draft-a-Thon fundraiser.
Turns out there will be boos at this year’s draft for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. And those boos will raise up to a half-million dollars for the NFL Draft-a-Thon. https://t.co/UttCwnyDbi
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 20, 2020
If it feels like you’ve been seeing NFL mock drafts for months, it’s because you have.
While we can’t know for sure where the top talents will land, we’ll give you the predictions of a few, in-the-know football minds.
The top three picks are pretty much unanimously agreed upon by NFL analysts, with former LSU quarterback Joe Burrow going No. 1, Ohio State defensive end Chase Young landing at No. 2, and Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah coming in at No. 3.
After that, however, things get a little dicey.
Check out Joel Klatt’s Mock Draft 2.0:
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) April 22, 2020
Jason McIntyre weighed in with his picks for the entire first round on FOXSports.com on Tuesday, but you can hear his top 5 picks right now:
Mel Kiper’s Mock Draft 4.0 has the same top 3 picks as both Klatt and McIntyre’s mocks, but he also has Justin Herbert going at No. 5, ahead of Tua Tagovailoa.
And when it comes to wide receivers, Todd McShay’s and Kiper’s drafts look very different.
FOXBet is providing a plethora of prop bets throughout the course of the draft.
In addition, they are offering a Super 6 game for each day of the draft – all you have to do is download the app, sign up, make your picks and watch the action. It’s free and easy!
Oh – and you have a chance to win $10,000!
Let the draft countdown begin!