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Who Mastered (And Muffed) The Virtual NFL Draft

Who Mastered (And Muffed) The Virtual NFL Draft

The “annual player selection meeting”, as it was called at the time, had only team executives and was broadcast on a brand new cable network, ESPN, which was to convince the league that was something that people would like to watch.

But now it’s one of the most anticipated and talked about events on the American sports calendar.

Last year, more than 600,000 people filled the streets of downtown Nashville for a three-day extravagance.
Who Mastered (And Muffed) The Virtual NFL Draft
Who Mastered (And Muffed) The Virtual NFL Draft

This year’s project was to take place on a floating stage in front of the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas.

But because of the coronavirus pandemic, these lavish plans were abandoned and the very first virtual project was born.

Everyone, from Commissioner Roger Goodell, to players, team leaders and even fans in their own homes, connected only via the Internet and televisions.

And he delivered great things.

The American sports fan

Some NFL commentators were skeptical about whether the league should hold a project when many were in the midst of massive suffering and loss during this coronavirus pandemic.

But an opening montage told by hopeful Super Bowl quarterback Peyton Manning, focused on hope, set the perfect tone for a draft like no other.
Who Mastered (And Muffed) The Virtual NFL Draft

The show was peppered with dozens of messages from actors and former players thanking health workers and others fighting the virus.

And the league hosted a Draft-A-Thon during the broadcast, raising more than $ 6.7 million over three days, adding to the more than $ 100 million the league has helped raise for aid agencies to people in need during the pandemic.

It was both respectful and fun and just what sports fans in the United States needed after spending more than a month without a major live sporting event. The league says more than 55 million fans followed the three-day event, setting a new record.


After a few early hiccups during a dress rehearsal, everything seemed to go smoothly, at least for the average spectator.

Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the choices in front of a television in his basement and even offered fans the possibility of booing him virtually (a night tradition) upon his arrival on television.

The league donated more than 60 potential video devices to capture the moment they were selected.

The cheers and tears that followed were sincere and magnificent to watch. And it was great to see moving moments from the team owners, coaches and executives.

Who Mastered (And Muffed) The Virtual NFL Draft

Many of them celebrated the choices they made with their families, which they don’t have to do when they’re all huddled in team facilities all weekend.

We even saw the dog of the New England Patriots Belgian trainer sitting at his computer at the dinner table.

You will never see that again in a draft.

Patriots without Brady

After losing Super Bowl champion Tom Brady six times to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in free will, the Patriots hoped to push a quarterback with one of their ten draft picks. But that did not happen.

Bill Belichick said it was not by design but that the right quarterback was not there when their time came to choose.

That leaves Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer on the list.

Could the Pats be in contention for another quarterback before the start of next season or will they have to play with an unproven attack leader?

Tom Brady and the Bucs

Who Mastered (And Muffed) The Virtual NFL Draft

Brady joins an elite offensive talent at Tampa Bay, including the addition of former teammate Rob Gronkowski last week.

But they needed help on the offensive line and they got it with their first round pick Tristan Wirfs.

Then in the second round, they helped their defense with cornerback Antoine Winfield Jr.

Antonie Sr. has been a cornerback in the league for 14 years and intercepted a pass from Brady in 2001.

Now Jr. will play with Brady in Tampa.

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Aaron Rodgers and the Packers

As a supporter of Green Bay, it hurts me to register them as losers, but I think I have to.

The Packers were a Super Bowl win last year, but their superstar quarterback seemed frustrated with the lack of production from its large receivers.

Thirty-seven receivers were taken into the project, none of them by Green Bay.

Who Mastered (And Muffed) The Virtual NFL Draft

Not only that, but the Packers also traded in the first round to select quarterback Jordan Love.

Rodgers was drafted at the end of the first round in 2005 and sat behind the legendary Brett Favre.

Let’s see how Rodgers is going to have to face a quarterback caught at the end of the first round.

Arryn Siposs

Three shoulder reconstructions forced the former Australian Football League player to leave the sport and turn his attention to American football.

He hoped to be drafted after a successful career as a bettor for Auburn University, but that did not happen.

Once the draft is completed, players who are not drafted are free to sign with any club and Siposs was the first to find a home, with the Detroit Lions signing it as a free agent a few minutes after the end of the repechage.

If Siposs makes the club, he will be the 8th Australian in the NFL.

Seven other people born outside the United States were involved in the project.

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