NFL Draft 2020 Epilogue

LOS ANGELES, April 25, 2020 — The first round of the first ever virtual NFL Draft was in the books. Rather than the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas, most owners and coaches were drafting players in their home offices. Arizona Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury showed the world his the view from his McMansion, but even NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was in his basement. Naturally, Jerry Jones held his virtual Draft office on his luxury yacht that resembled an intergalactic spaceship.

The joy that comes along with the Draft was replaced at the start with the somber reality of life under a Corona virus pandemic. There was still plenty of jubilation and tears of happiness from drafted players, but a brutal bolt of sadness near the end of the night. Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott informed the world that his beloved older brother Jace had died at age 31.

During gut-wrenching times, football is a form of escapism. The first round of the NFL Draft was desperately needed to give fans something to unite around. The second day brought players with names less familiar, but it was still football in a nation starving for sports of any kind.

After being shut out of the first round entirely, the Steelers, Bears and Patriots finally got to participate on the second day.

As with the first round, the Cincinnati Bengals picked first in the second round. They gave newly acquired quarterback Joe Burrow a new toy to play with, picking wide receiver Tee Higgins of Clemson. Some analysts had him as a first round pick. In a draft loaded with receivers, the Bengals were lucky he fell to them.

With the 37th pick overall, the New England Patriots finally made a selection. The Patriots traded out of the first round yesterday to stock picks. With Tim Brady gone and the top quarterbacks off the board, what would Bill Belichick do? He did what he does. Despite having a 2019 defense that was better than it had been in years, Belichick opted for an unknown safety from an unknown school. Kyle Dugger from Lenoir-Rhyne, which is actually not in Belgium. It is a private Lutheran university in Hickory, North Carolina. Belichick and his scouts can find anybody, anywhere.

The 49th pick had the Pittsburgh Steelers giving grizzled veteran Ben Roethlisberger a wide receiver to replace talented head case Antonio Brown. Chase Claypool of Notre Dame was the pick.

The 52nd pick saw the Los Angeles Rams of Anaheim, Cleveland and St. Louis choose Florida State running back Cam Akers. He replaces Todd Gurley, who took his sore knee to the Atlanta Falcons after being released.

The 53rd pick brought some audible gasps. It seems that Aaron Rodgers is not the only one being sent a message. The Philadelphia Eagles chose Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts. Eagles fans normally hate their quarterback, but for some reason Carson Wentz has been fairly loved in the brutally tough city of brotherly love. While Jordan Love is clearly Rodgers’s backup in Green Bay, the Hurts selection may be a message to Wentz. Stay healthy for an entire season or find employment elsewhere.

The Oakland-Los Angeles Raiders of Las Vegas did not have a second round pick, but they had three selections in the third round. The Raider Nation saw slight confusion as the team had consecutive picks at 80 and 81. They picked wide receivers on both picks, a stunning development for a team needing plenty of defensive help.

Bryan Edwards of South Carolina was the 81st pick and a traditional receiver. The real surprise was Lynn Bowden Jr. of Kentucky with the 80th pick. The TV screens said he was a wide receiver. The Commissioner said he was a running back. The analysts said he played wide receiver, running back, and even quarterback. He is expected to be used as an all-purpose threat. However, with Josh Jacobs firmly entrenched as the starting bellcow, Bowden will be mostly playing wide receiver. Jon Gruden has given Derek Carr a ton of toys to play with. To keep the raider Nation from going catatonic, it was essential to start drafting some guys on defense.

The Raiders traded their final third round pick in the 91st spot to the New England Patriots. By moving down 9 spots to pick 100, the Raiders also gained an extra fourth round pick. The teams also swapped fifth round picks to the benefit of the Patriots. New England used the pick to obtain UCLA tight end Devon Asiasi. With Rob Gronkowski opting for retirement and then Tampa Bay over Belichick, the Evil Hoodie has a new rookie to whip into shape.

More confusion reigned when the Raiders used pick 100 on Tanner Muse of Clemson. The sports analysts kept referring to him as a linebacker but the TV showed him as a safety. Either way, he plays defense, which the Raiders desperately need.

The final pick of the third round belonged to the Baltimore Ravens. With the 106th pick in the Draft, the Baltimore Ravens selected guard Tyre Phillips of Mississippi State. Although Philips pronounces his last name Tie-ree, he is built like a tire.

After five hours, the second day of the NFL 2020 Virtual Draft was in the history books. The third and final day on Saturday would cover rounds four through seven all the way through to the final pick, the beloved “Mr. Irrelevant.”

Mr. Irrelevant turned out to be Georgia linebacker Tae Crawford. He was taken with the 255th and final pick by the New York Giants. Due to the Corona virus pandemic, he will not be given the usual festivities associated with “Irrelevant week.”

For the undrafted, there is still plenty of hope. Shortly after the Draft ended, the Washington Redskins announced the free agent signing of tight end Thaddeus Moss. He is the son of Hall of Fame wide receiver Randy Moss.

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