What does it say about how life’s been going in the sports world of this land when the NFL Draft is the most anticipated sporting event of the last two months?
Thursday’s first round of the draft was the first sports telecast since mid-March that hasn’t been from the past, where we know the outcome. The annual gala was supposed to be held in Las Vegas, but the coronavirus shut down events like that and turned the annual selection show into a virtual, work-from-home draft, even for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. The commish introduced picks from his own basement, possibly foreshadowing an odd 2020 season that could see games played in empty stadiums and the season start late, if it starts at all.
But enough about that. Round One is about the hoopla of the college ranks’ best talent getting chosen, so here are some of the highlights.
The Miami Dolphins, with two picks, ended speculation on the quarterback they wanted and chose Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, despite a hip injury in his last season with the Crimson Tide. Later, with the 18th pick the Dolphins chose a block of granite to protect their new toy in tackle Austin Jackson from USC.
The Jacksonville Jaguars also had two first-round picks and highlighted defense, selecting C.J. Henderson, a cornerback from the Florida Gators and K’lavon Chaisson, a defensive end from LSU.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who now Tom Brady under center, traded with the San Francisco 49ers to move up and draft protection for their 43-year-old quarterback in Tristan Wirfs, an offensive tackle from Iowa.
Trends: six receivers were taken in a 14-pick stretch: Alabama’s Henry Ruggs (12th, Las Vegas Raiders, and get used to saying that) and Jerry Jeudy (15th, Broncos), CeeDee Lamb (17th, Cowboys), Jalen Raegor (21st, Eagles) and Brandon Aiyuk (25th, 49ers) … four quarterbacks went in the first round: Joe Burrow (1st overall, Bengals), Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert (sixth, Chargers) and Jordan Love (26th, Packers) … a record 15 players from the SEC were chosen in the first round.
The second and third rounds air Friday night at 7 p.m. on ABC, ESPN and the NFL Network, and the fourth through seventh rounds start at noon on Saturday.