Goodell to announce picks from his basement

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    NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. (REUTERS/Brendan McDermid)

    NEW YORK. – The 2020 NFL Draft won’t have crowds, big stage and the usual fanfare that comes with the off-season’s biggest night because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. But fans who do tune in for the first night of the event will reportedly get a different sort of treat.

    A look inside the NFL commissioner’s house.

    According to a report Sunday by NBC Sports’ Peter King, Roger Goodell will announce the first-round picks from the basement of his house on April 23.

    In announcing some of the items in his Football Morning in America column, King added at the end of a tweet: “Roger Goodell will (as suspected) announce first-round picks standing in his basement in Bronxville, N.Y.”

    Typically, Goodell reads the names of each first-round pick from the stage at a large venue filled with fans, then shares on stage an embrace and photo with each player in attendance after he announces their selection.

    The draft was originally scheduled to take place along the Las Vegas Strip. While the draft dates remain unchanged — April 23 through April 25 — Goodell last week sent a memo to NFL teams outlining how the draft will be conducted remotely to adhere to social-distancing guidelines and the various stay-at-home orders in place around the country.

    “We want all NFL personnel to comply with government directives and to model safe and appropriate health practices,” Goodell wrote. “Our staff will carry out its responsibilities in the same way, operating in separate locations outside of our offices. And after consulting with medical advisors, we cannot identify an alternative that is preferable from a medical and public health perspective, given the varying needs of clubs, the need to properly screen participants and the unique risk factors that individual club employees may face.”

    The event, which will still be televised, is scheduled to include guest interviews and appearances from players, coaches and general managers connecting via video conference.

    “All clubs should dedicate their personnel and technology resources toward preparing for a fully virtual Draft, with personnel in separate locations,” Goodell added in the memo. “Our understanding is that many clubs are already well advanced in preparing for a virtual Draft and we are confident that all clubs can take the necessary steps to make the 2020 Draft a successful event.”

    Last week the NFL also announced the names of the 58 players who will participate virtually in the ESPN/NFL Network joint broadcast. Among them are LSU quarterback Joe Burrow — expected to go No. 1 overall — Ohio State teammates Chase Young (defensive end) and Jeff Okudah (cornerback), Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and Utah State quarterback Jordan Love.

    The Cincinnati Bengals have the No. 1 overall selection after finishing the 2019 season with a 2-14 record. Their selection will be followed by the Washington Redskins, Detroit Lions, New York Giants, Miami Dolphins, Los Angeles Chargers, Carolina Panthers, Arizona Cardinals, Jacksonville Jaguars and Cleveland Browns. The Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs will draft last in the first round, 32nd overall.

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