Coronavirus: 2020 NFL draft will be virtual affair

From the chalkboard to the computer screen.

The NFL draft has come full circle. What began in 1936 with team officials sitting in a hotel, selecting names written on a blackboard, will now enter the virtual world.

In a memo sent to NFL teams Monday, Commissioner Roger Goodell said this year's draft, scheduled for April 23-25, will be held in a virtual format, the NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported in a tweet.

Because team facilities have closed and the NFL canceled its plans to hold the draft in Las Vegas, its newest market, Goodell decided that teams can work the draft from their homes, The New York Times reported.

That gives fantasy football geeks the chance to follow the draft online even more closely, instead of congregating in the auditoriums of venues where the draft has been held in previous years. The draft will still be televised, Goodell said. The NFL Network, ESPN and ABC will air the draft live.

“Everyone recognizes that public health conditions are highly uncertain and there is no assurance that we can select a different date and be confident that conditions will be significantly more favorable than they are today,” Goodell wrote in the memo. "I also believe that the draft can serve a very positive purpose for our clubs, our fans, and the country at large, and many of you have agreed.

“Because of the unique circumstances in our country today, the 2020 draft will obviously need to be conducted in a different way. Already, we have canceled all public events, we will not be bringing prospects and their families to the draft, and the draft itself will be conducted and televised in a way that reflects current conditions.”

The Cincinnati Bengals have the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft after finishing 2-14 during the 2019 season.

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