NFL commissioner Roger Goodell relieved after first round of virtual draft

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced the picks from his Bronxville, N.Y., home during the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Screenshot from ABC-John Angelillo/UPI
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced the picks from his Bronxville, N.Y., home during the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Screenshot from ABC-John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

April 24 (UPI) -- NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was relieved after the first round of the first-ever virtual draft unfolded without any major miscues.

Goodell announced the first-round picks from his basement Thursday due to the public version of the draft being canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. Players, team executives and coaches also participated from their respective homes.


"It definitely was full steam ahead," Goodell told NFL Network. "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?"

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The NFL's partners for the draft include Bose, Microsoft, Verizon and Amazon Web Services. Bose provided more than 130 headphones to assist in communications. Microsoft teams will assist with communications between the league and teams. Verizon helped to secure more than 100 phones and will assist with live broadcast video. AWS Cloud will help deliver video feeds of draft prospects, college coaches and NFL personnel throughout the broadcast.


Goodell began the day by giving viewers a tour of the draft setup at his Bronxville, N.Y., home. He asked viewers for a moment of silence in honor of those impacted by the pandemic before he said the Cincinnati Bengals were on the clock with the No. 1 overall pick.

The Bengals selected former LSU quarterback Joe Burrow. The Kansas City Chiefs picked Burrow's former teammate Clyde Edwards-Helaire with the final pick of the first round, just after midnight EDT. Goodell FaceTimed with nearly every first-round pick. He also had cameos during the league's virtual Draft-A-Thon fundraiser in between his announcements of the picks.

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Goodell also had some time for a TikTok dance with former Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy.


Hey Jerry, can't believe I'm doing this but you asked... welcome to the league! ##goingpro ##nfldraft ##duet with @jeudyjerry ♬ Toosie Slide - Drake

"The technology worked, so it shouldn't be an issue, knock on wood," Goodell said. "You never know with things. I think the mock drafts and all the work, and the clubs put a tremendous amount of work into it, too. There were elements we'll look back at it, this may change the way we do it."

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Goodell will continue to announce picks for the second and third round of the draft. Day 2 of the 2020 NFL Draft starts at 7 p.m. EDT Friday and airs on NFL Network, ESPN and ABC. NFL football operations executives Dawn Aponte and Dave Gardi will announce the picks for the fourth round through seventh round Saturday from their homes.

"It's an adjustment, and it's different," Goodell said. "You don't compare it to the other [drafts]. It was really cool."

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