The 2020 NFL Draft gets underway this Thursday night, representing the first major sporting event held in over a month due to the corona virus pandemic. Fans from around the league will get to experience a glimmer of hope on the horizon as their teams look to draft players who could eventually become franchise players. The highly anticipated event will kick off Thursday and run through Saturday, but this year there’s a twist.
The NFL will hold a fully virtual draft that will serve as a fundraiser benefiting six charities that are battling the spread of COVID-19 and delivering relief to millions in need.
Teams will orchestrate the draft from their homes, communicating through several virtual platforms (Zoom, Skype) in order to make their selections. Each team’s designated drafter will be logged in to the league’s Microsoft Teams private and encrypted draft channel, and will make the pick through the portal. For a backup plan, a team can call the league’s vice president of player personnel, Ken Fiore, and make the pick that way. There is also a muted conference call where the club official can unmute his/her line and announce the selection to the league.
While the draft selection process will be different, the format remains the same. The time allotted to select picks won’t change: 10 minutes in Round 1, seven minutes in Rounds 2 and 3, and five minutes in Rounds 4 through 7.
ESPN and NFL Network will simulcast all rounds, while ABC will have its own version of the prime-time telecast for Rounds 1-3 on Thursday and Friday. ABC will simulcast the final day of the draft with ESPN and NFL Network (Rounds 4-7). The draft telecasts will originate from ESPN’s Bristol, Connecticut, studios and a majority of the analysts and reporters will contribute from at-home studios.
Here’s how you can watch the 2020 NFL Draft on TV and on live stream:
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Thursday, April 23 (8-11:30 p.m. ET)
Round 1: ABC, ESPN, NFL Network, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Radio
Friday, April 24 (7-11:30 p.m. ET)
Rounds 2-3: ABC, ESPN, NFL Network, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Radio
Saturday, April 25 (12-7 p.m. ET)
Rounds 4-7: ABC, ESPN, NFL Network, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Radio
You can also catch live coverage on CBS Sports HQ and CBS Sports.com, where we’ll accompany our draft trackers with grades on each and every pick as they’re made.
SiriusXM, Westwood One, and ESPN Radio will provide coverage of the draft.