From the Press Box: The 2020 NFL Draft was virtually amazing


The handshakes in team war rooms, the green-room anxiety and the hugs to the commissioner by drafted players.

All of that was non-existent this year as the NFL held their first-ever virtual draft last Thursday through Saturday.

Say what you want, but the NFL Draft gave a sports-starved nation a brief reprieve from the reality of this pandemic.

The event was even the highest-rated broadcast of the NFL Draft in the history of the event.

Personally, aside from the extra B-roll highlighting each drafted player, I enjoyed this draft more than I have in years past.

We spend our entire time watching games and these athletes, coaches and general managers lose their humanity and connection to the fans.

But watching the draft where coaches would have their children in their lap or sitting next to them, suddenly these larger than life people seemed to be just like me.

Even the evil genius and real-life incarnate of _____ (insert super-villain here) all of the sudden was just a guy when he was feeding his dog a treat.

The family reactions were the best in the latter days. I understand this is a long journey for every player drafted every year. But you can tell the kids know they are a high draft pick so while they are excited, it’s a less enthused excitement.

But when the Denver Broncos selected Iowa corner Michael Ojemudia, the emotion on the young man’s face was visible and you could tell that moment was the culmination of years of hard work, blood, sweat and tears.

I am sure he is just one of many that showed the raw emotion whether it was on or off of prime time.

The NFL Draft, despite being done virtually, still had the predictable moves such as former LSU quarterback Joe Burrow being drafted by Cincinnati No. 1 overall. It also still had the surprising moves, like the Green Bay Packers drafting a quarterback in the first round instead of getting Aaron Rodgers some help.

As for my Denver Broncos? I thought they had a great draft and took more steps toward being a playoff contendor once again, if we get football in the fall. 

Next year the NFL Draft is in Cleveland, COVID-19 permitting, and the following year Las Vegas gets another crack at it.

But if they have to do it virtually again, for whatever reason, I don’t have my doubts it would be a great event.

John Lee is the editor of The Pampa News and can be reached at or find him on Twitter: @jcl1987

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