The Draft Drives On
Well, it’s weird to say this, but we have had no actual sports for 2 months because of the Coronavirus pandemic. The NBA suspended its play; the MLB suspended its spring training and is delaying the start of the season; the NHL also suspended its play; and soccer leagues around the world have closed down their leagues.
But one sport that has been staying active is football. The NFL finished its season in early February when the Kansas City Chiefs beat the San Francisco 49ers in dramatic fashion, 31-20. But the offseason wasn’t canceled. The NFL went on with their free agency and, most notably, a virtual NFL draft.
Yes, 32 teams selected 255 players virtually.
The Commissioner of the NFL, Roger Goodell, had this to say about it: “It definitely was full steam ahead,” he said. “But you always have your hesitations, your concerns. I know how important this is to the clubs. If we had come out of this where they didn’t have time to make trades or if something operationally went wrong … but we heard zero of that. People were making a big deal of that, making a big deal of, is it really the right time to do this kind of event.”
It definitely was full steam ahead.
People had reason to be concerned about them doing it fully virtual. What if there were technical issues and a team couldn’t communicate? What if the wrong pick goes in? What if trades couldn’t go through?
Luckily, everything worked out. And Goodell was the person who was the most nervous because if anything went wrong, it would fall on him for going forward with the event. “It went well, so I’ll sleep a little better,” he said.
The Bucs’ Draft Picks
So let’s get into the Tampa Bay Bucs draft. How did they do? Will they improve? Will Tom Brady and the squad benefit from it?
With their first pick in the draft, the Bucs selected Tristan Wirfs, the OT out of Iowa. A lot of analysts agreed that he was the most athletic tackle in the draft and was one of the “big four” OT’s selected in the first 15 picks. He even jumped out of a pool from standing position, demonstrating his pure strength.
They picked Antoine Winfield Sr. which was the consensus first or second-best safety in the draft, Keshawn Vaughn to add competition and depth at the running back spot, and one of the most underrated picks in the draft might be Khalil Davis.
Davis literally bolted through the combine, as he had the fastest 40 yard dash time among D-linemen in attendance at 4.76 seconds. He also proved that he is strong as he put up 32 reps on the bench press, second in the combine, only trailing DaVon Hamilton.
Other Notable Draft Picks
As for other teams, there were plenty of great drafts because of the amount of talent there was in this year’s draft.
The Bengals hit the jackpot as they got Joe Burrow. He was the best quarterback in the class and can change this franchise around. He won the Heisman Trophy en route to leading LSU to the College Football Playoff championship. He also had arguably the best season college football has ever seen as he threw 65 touchdowns.
The Ravens also had a strong draft, which is very scary since they finished with the best record in the NFL last year at 14-2. They added Patrick Queen a dynamic linebacker out of LSU and didn’t stop there as they snagged J., K Dobbins, and Devin Duvernay to add to an already explosive offense.
According to NFL.com, the top 15 drafts this year belonged to the Ravens, Cowboys (who selected CeeDee Lamb), Vikings (who got Justin Jefferson and Jeff Gladney in the first round to replace Stefon Diggs and several CB’s), Cardinals (who added to their already impressive offseason by grabbing Isaiah Simmons with the 8th pick), Bengals, Jags, Dolphins (who added their potential franchise QB in Tua Tagovailoa), Lions (who added standout Ohio State CB Jeff Okudah), Browns, 49ers, Bucs, Giants (who added franchise tackle Andrew Thomas), Jets, Panthers, and Broncos (which probably had one of the best off-seasons in the NFL as they were trying to build around their young QB Drew Lock and added Jerry Jeudy, the best receiver in the class and will do wonders for this young Denver offense).
Some teams that disappointed in the NFL draft were the Eagles, Packers, Patriots, Bears, Seahawks, and Steelers.
Football Lives On
This was really the only major sport that had action in April, so it was a big deal.
This was an exciting draft that has made people excited about their teams and their new young players. The draft has given fans hope that the NFL will continue on schedule and has given them optimism for their team.