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Live Reporting

Ben Collins and Andy Toft

All times stated are UK

  1. How does the draft work?

    I know, it’s a lot to take in. Here’s a reminder…

    Video content

    Video caption: NFL draft 2020: How does it work?
  2. Top pick Manning refuses to join the Chargers

    Memorable draft moments: 2004

    news  world news  bbc news  cnn news  sport news Eli Manning with a San Diego Chargers jersey after being picked first at the 2005 draft

    Copyright: Getty Images

    Image caption: Eli Manning had to hold up a Chargers jersey before being traded

    Osi Umenyiora won two Super Bowls with the New York Giants, led byEli Manning,and the quarterback had a memorable introduction to the NFL. He made it clear before the 2004 draft that he didn’t want to join the San Diego Chargers, who had the first pick. The Giants, the Mannings felt, were acceptable, so they agreed a trade with the Chargers involving fellow QB Philip Rivers, who the Giants would select with the fourth pick.

    But the Mannings still had to go through the motions of going up on stage after the Chargers took him number one and although Eli declined to wear a team hat, Peyton’s younger brother couldn’t have looked any more awkward as he held up a San Diego jersey, while fans at the venue chanted ‘Eli sucks’.

    The Giants kept up their end of the bargain by taking Rivers and the deal was done. Eventually Eli got what he wanted and he was off to New York. After two Super Bowl wins, he retired at the end of last season, aged 39.

  3. ‘Chase Young’s going to be a superstar’

    Yet Jason Bell and fellow BBC pundit Osi Umenyiora believe that Chase Young, 21, is actually the best player in this year’s draft. The defensive end from Ohio State is expected to go second in the draft.

    “I heard all the hype so watched his tape and he’s a fantastic player,” said Umenyiora. “He’s dynamic, has good burst off the line and a good motor so he’s constantly hustling, constantly trying to get to the quarterback.

    “He’s a big, physical, freaky athlete. Over the next 10 years I think this guy’s going to be a superstar. He’s the only one I can point at and say ‘this is a can’t-miss prospect’.”

    Video content

    Video caption: NFL draft 2020: Osi Umenyiora and Jason Bell look ahead to unique occasion
  4. Why will Burrow be the first pick?

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    Jason Bell

    Former NFL cornerback

    He’s had one of the best years ever in college football, in the quarterback position, and we know from looking at Patrick Mahomes and what he’s done for Kansas City that if you get a franchise quarterback, especially under a rookie contract, you can do a lot. When you have a young quarterback you can use the money you save to get other assets because you have him on a rookie deal.

    Burrow won a national championship so that shows you he’s a winner. He was also in the best conference, the SEC has the most players that end up going to the NFL. He played well when he played against elite competition – that’s what you want to see in a quarterback. It’s what he does when he plays against the best teams and he always shined. He also won the Heisman Trophy.

  5. No practice, no problem

    Vintage draft classes: 2011

    news  world news  bbc news  cnn news  sport news Cam Newton

    Copyright: Getty Images

    This took place during the 2011 lookout, when a dispute over the league’s new collective bargaining agreement saw team owners stop players using team facilities and shut down league operations.

    But no practice, no problem. Top pickCam Newtonhit the ground running with the Carolina Panthers and the quarterback was named the Offensive Rookie of the Year while the second pick, Denver Broncos linebackerVon Miller, was named Defensive Rookie of the Year.

    They were then on opposite sides at Super Bowl 50, making it the first time the top two picks from the same draft faced each other in the Super Bowl, with Denver winning.

    The top 11 picks also featured the Cincinnati Bengals wide receiverAJ Greenand three-time Defensive Player of the YearJJ Wattwhile the Atlanta Falcons traded up to take their star wide receiverJulio Jones.

    This year’s class will face a similar challenge as, due to the lockdown, who knows when they’ll get on the training field with their new team.

  6. Who’s going to be this year’s first pick?

    news  world news  bbc news  cnn news  sport news Joe Burrow with the national championship trophy

    Copyright: Getty Images

    The draft is notoriously an unpredictable event, but this year one thing seems clear – the first pick will beJoe Burrow.

    The Cincinnati Bengals go first and want a new quarterback. And it just so happens that Burrow, 23, has had arguably the best ever season by a college QB, leading Louisiana State University to the national championship and winning the Heisman Trophy (for best college player).

    Burrow is expected to be the third straight Heisman Trophy winner to be the first pick, after Murray and Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield.

    Burrow could also join Cam Newton (2011) as the only quarterbacks since 1967 to win the Heisman and the national championship in the season before becoming the first draft pick.

  7. Murray the coveted first pick in 2019

    So, I mentioned last year’s draft there. What happened?

    The Arizona Cardinals had the worst record of the previous season so went first and they went the way many people expected, makingKyler Murraythe coveted first pick.

    Murray made history in becoming the first man to be chosen in the first round of the Major League Baseball and NFL drafts – he was signed by the Oakland Athletics baseball team before deciding to instead commit his future to the NFL.

    Video content

    Video caption: Kyler Murray: Arizona Cardinals pick multi-sport star first overall in 2019 NFL Draft
  8. Record TV audience expected

    The draft broadcast will be hosted by a small team at the ESPN studios in Connecticut, with draft prospects, commentators and team officials joining in remotely.

    More than 11 million fans watched last year’s draft, while around 500,000 attended the event in Nashville. Obviously none will be there this year so you can bet most of them will be tuning in.

    Since the sporting landscape has been pretty sparse the last few weeks, you’d expect plenty more to be watching tonight to get some sort of sporting fix.

    It may not be a live game, and you may not be a huge American football fan, but how good does it feel to be a part of a live event again?

  9. ‘We’re ready for it!’

    With team facilities shut, officials are also at home, communicating remotely via FaceTime, Skype, Zoom – whatever they’ve got that works.

    Some teams have expressed concerns over hacking, while officials have frantically been upgrading their WiFi service. The winners in this year’s draft could well be the team with the best IT staff – check out the home set-up the San Francisco 49ers general manager now has.

  10. War rooms swapped for living rooms

    So, this year there’ll be no war rooms, where team officials discuss their strategy throughout the draft and are normally seen in heated debate or pounding away at phones to discuss a trade with other teams.

    Just look at the Dallas Cowboys war room from 2018. No chance of practicing social distancing in there.

    There’ll also be no green room, where the top prospects are invited to wait backstage to be picked.

    However, 58 of them have agreed to have cameras in their own home to create a virtual green room, so we’ll get to follow their reactions and see what it means to them and their family if/when they’re picked.

    news  world news  bbc news  cnn news  sport news Dallas Cowboys war room during the NFL draft

    Copyright: Getty Images

  11. What’s happening tonight?

    It’s just the first round on day one, and the first 32 picks, and it all gets under way at 01:00 BST.

    In the meantime, we’re going to have a look at what this draft will look like and how it might play out. Plus we’ll look back at some memorable draft moments and vintage draft classes.

    Make yourself comfortable. This should be fun.

  12. From Vegas to video calls

    news  world news  bbc news  cnn news  sport news Bellagio Hotel fountains

    Copyright: Getty Images

    I mean, can you imagine how cool it would’ve been? The stage would’ve been right there. Rumour has it, when the players got picked they’d be taken to the stage by boat.

    But hey, some things are more important. And Vegas can wait. The NFL have promised to take a future draft to Sin City.

    Until then, in the spirit of life in lockdown, let’s embrace this ‘new normal’ and see what the 2020 draft has in store.

  13. It’s the NFL draft – but not as we know it

    news  world news  bbc news  cnn news  sport news Bellagio Hotel fountains

    Copyright: Getty Images

    Finally, some actual sport. Kind of.

    While the coronavirus pandemic has put a halt to sport events around the planet, the NFL draft is going ahead – albeit in a vastly different format.

    Beginning tonight, the 32 NFL teams will spend the next three days selecting players from the best of last season’s college prospects.

    It will be a life-changing moment for the 255 who get picked, and it’s become the second biggest event in the NFL calendar.

    To coincide with the Raiders relocating to Las Vegas this off-season, it was supposed to held on a stage built over water at the Bellagio hotel fountains.

    Instead, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will be announcing each pick in his basement.

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