Like everyone around the world, the United States is completely different than where it was just a few months ago. Restaurants are no longer dine-in, people are losing jobs and the world of sports has, for the most part, gone away.
While games, practices and many other events are not being held at the time, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is not allowing the pandemic to stop the draft. The original plans were to have the draft take place in Las Vegas, Nevada, but it will now be held virtually.
The WNBA held their draft the other week virtually and given the circumstances, things went smoothly, albeit a few minor glitches. That draft gave a sense of normalcy in people’s lives and it was the second highest viewed draft, and the most in 16 years according to ESPN.
The NFL Draft should see a spike in viewership because it’s about the only sports related content being held on television.
The Cincinnati Bengals hold the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft and barring any major change, quarterback Joe Burrow out of LSU should be the top pick. Following him will more than likely be defensive end, Chase Young.
The top two picks are pretty much locked in at this point, but anything after that is completely up in the air. Not one mock draft has a similar prediction, which should provide for an entertaining night.
As for the Minnesota Vikings, they have two first round picks after trading away star wide receiver Stefon Diggs. They will be drafting at the back end of the draft at 22 and 25.
Minnesota’s biggest needs will be to draft a defensive back and an offensive lineman. There should be plenty of options for them to take at either of those picks. Some defensive backs to keep an eye on are A.J Terrell, Jeff Gladney and Kristian Fulton.
As for offensive lineman, Josh Jones, Ezra Cleveland and Austin Jackson are three names that could be selected. There has been steam that the Vikings are attempting to trade for offensive tackle Trent Williams of the Washington Redskins. If there was a trade, that would likely come before or during the draft.
Darren Wolfson of KSTP noted that there is buzz that Minnesota could draft at 22 but move on from their pick at 25. General Manager Rick Spielman is known to make a lot of moves during the draft, so what he does with the two first round picks is unknown.
Minnesota should look to draft a defensive end or wide receiver soon thereafter. With Minnesota losing Everson Griffin, Stephen Weatherly and Diggs, the Vikings will need to fill those holes quickly. Luckily, this is a deep wide receiver class.
The NFL Draft will hold the first round at 7 p.m. Thursday night, and the remaining six rounds will take place in the following days.
Header photo: Louisiana State quarterback Joe Burrow speaks to the media during a press conference at the NFL scouting combine. (Aaron M. Sprecher/AP Photo)