Author’s note: what follows is best taken like breaking news from Jay Glazer, which is to say, not very seriously.
The 2020 NFL draft is set to be as distanced as it ever will be, including Commissioner Roger Goodell announcing the selections from his own home.
It’s a near impossibility that everything will go without a hitch next week. Too many variables, too many unknowns, too much newness.
It’s just as unlikely, however, that everything goes wrong on April 23rd. But that world is much more entertaining, and in these trying times, that’s exactly the story this quarantined brain dreamed up.
The Mock Draft where everything goes wrong
Pick 1, Cincinnati Bengals. The very first commercial break just starts to feel a bit longer than normal before the broadcast abruptly returns to Goodell walking across an empty, homemade stage to stand behind last year’s draft podium. He’s also grinning like an idiot, because the sound engineer has piped in some light booing as background noise to simulate realism.
Anyway, that slightly long commercial break? Bengals general manager Duke Tobin was unable to get the first pick in time because massive and repeated server errors on the various Zoom and Google Hangout calls.
Hadn’t they practiced this? Of course, but after the dress rehearsal, Bill Belichick shared the login info with his entire staff, who all signed on simultaneously on individual devices to crash the system.
The NFL awarded Cincinnati with Joe Burrow anyway, because that’s been the play for months now.
Just like that, the 2020 NFL draft is underway.
Pick 2, Washington Redskins. Things continue apace as Bruce Allen makes a safe choice with EDGE Chase Young. However, Allen’s misuse of the merge call feature on his iPhone 6s broadcasts the initial acceptance call on air. Young’s announcement is therefore quite anticlimactic, as the nation has seen it three minutes before Goodell makes the announcement.
Pick 3, Detroit Lions. The Lions select top corner Jeff Okudah, although nobody knows for a couple of minutes because the in-home tech intern has left Goodell’s mic muted since the second commercial break. With no sound, there’s no graphic, and no shot of Okudah’s family, and a very chaotic passage of time ensues.
Pick 4, unclear. The New York Giants are slated for this slot. But Dave Gettleman’s three megabyte per second Mediacom internet keeps cutting out on simultaneous Skype calls with the Los Angeles Chargers and Las Vegas Raiders. Subsequently, both teams believe they have agree to terms for a trade up to the fourth selection and submit picks to the league office.
Roger Goodell walks to the podium, looks nervously off to his left, walks halfway off screen - halts - takes a step backwards before pivoting on his heels and returning to podium, nearly stumbling. A long, heavy look down at his hands lasts no less than seven seconds, and a barely-audible “why...” is almost discernible as he looks to camera.
“The New York Giants have traded the fourth pick to the Los Angeles Chargers, and whatever else they say after a trade.
Anyway the Chargers select Tua Tagovailoa and cannot believe their good fortune.
Pick 5, Miami Dolphins. Chris Grier selects Justin Herbert and ruins the franchise for the next five years. That’s it, that’s the pick.
New York Giants Las Vegas Raiders. Dave Gettleman’s crackshot team have finally gotten all their Windows 2000 running at full speed. However, the backed-up emails floundering in outbox purgatory from three picks ago finally get forwarded to the office, who promptly accept the previously-intended trade between the Giants and Raiders.
Pick 7, Carolina Panthers. The Panthers select ILB Isaiah Simmons from Clemson. However, it’s announced by a very winded-looking Head of Football Operations Troy Vincent. After the draft, word surfaces that someone on media misplaced three commercials, and Goodell was still on a bathroom break when the cameras suddenly went live. Carolina’s pick had already been submitted so the hasty decision was made to proceed. One wonders, what was Vincent doing at Goodell’s house anyway?
Pick 8, Arizona Cardinals. Steve Keim grabs OT Tristan Wirfs from Iowa. No surprise there, protecting Kyler Murray is greater than not protecting Kyler Murray.
Meanwhile, the NFL had requested that extra feeds be installed in the various GM’s homes to simulate War Room footage. The upcoming Jacksonville Jaguars have been on camera while the Cardinals deliberated. If one pays attention, they can see on the screen of Jacksonville’s Dave Caldwell the Zoom call with one of his crew, working remotely. Their entire draft board is being screen shared.
Pick 9, Jacksonville Jaguars. Awkwardness aside, the Jaguars make the choice that everyone has now known for the last five minutes: DT Derrick Brown from Auburn. Trey Wingo is noticeably holding back chuckles as he tries to recap the pick, clearly amused with the board-sharing blunder, which included a sad face drawn next to Isaiah Simmons’ name.
Pick 10, Cleveland Browns. The youngest general manager in the league forgot to lock all the doors and baby gates. As the screen shifts to the deliberations and phone calls for the Browns, both of Andrew Berry’s children burst into the room.
Well, burst might be an overstatement, as one them is pulling the other in a wagon as they slowly meander over to the front camera before anyone notices, neither of them tall enough to be seen over the scattered desks and piles of papers. Either way, it’s completely adorable. Can’t even remember who the Browns chose as I was busy laughing at the kids trying to floss on screen.
New York Jets San Francisco 49ers. John Lynch trades a third to move up two spots in order to grab Jerry Jeudy before the New York Giants take him. Why? No idea; not the point of this piece. But this is Field Gulls, and the Niners will therefore make bad decisions.
Pick 12, New York Giants. While on the clock, footage of the Giants room gets ugly. Dave Gettleman has invited new head coach Joe Judge over to participate in the draft. They’re clearly in disagreement over who to take here, presumably because Jeudy was their man.
What makes the fight interesting, are the blue painters tape lines on the floor around Gettleman’s living room. He’s apparently sequestered his team’s workstations at six-foot intervals. Gettleman and Judge are standing with toes on their respective lines, pointing and gesturing and yelling at each other like an umpire and manager after a blown call. Gettleman keeps grabbing papers at random off his desk and hurling them towards Judge without crumpling them, and they fall harmlessly into no-man’s land.
Anyway they take CeeDee Lamb and life goes on.
Pick 13, New York Jets. The NFL Network has had a difficult time fighting lag creeping into their servers, and every time they flip to a player’s highlight footage the audio gets further behind the video. They decide now would be the appropriate time to not provide any commentary on players selected, because Jets.
New York takes some offensive tackle from some school in the Southeast, and the average fan has no idea who it is and, frankly, they may never know.
Pick 14, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Buccaneers take DT Javon Kinlaw, but then coverage immediately turns to iPhone footage of Tom Brady throwing to his kids at his new Florida home. No one is entirely sure whether the network is still working on that lag issue, or if they think we don’t care about Tampa Bay besides Tom Brady.
They’re not wrong.
Pick 15, Denver Broncos. A quick glance into John Elway’s home shows that he’s set up his phone to stream vertically, as the black bars dominate either side of the screen for fans. He’s also failed to properly tighten his tripod, and the phone has tipped forward, displaying Elway only from shoes to elbows. Elway’s sporting a white pair of Nike Commemorative 509’s signed by Peyton Manning. The Broncos select WR Henry Ruggs III, apparently unclear that they won’t be able to get him the ball.
Pick 16, Atlanta Falcons. Atlanta GM Thomas Dimitroff is not drafting from his home. He’s in the presidential suite at brand new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. It looks to be entirely for publicity, as the NFL granted his request to be shown by first flying a drone in through the top of that ridiculous flower ceiling.
Alas, like the definition of a catch or pass interference, the NFL has trouble with objects flying through the air. The drone engineer failed to account for change in windspeed, air pressure, and other science-related variables upon entering the stadium, as he loses control of the drone just as Dimitroff’s war room is coming into view. A dismayed image of his face quickly passes through screen as the broadcast hastily shifts back to the commentators.
Stick around for Part 2 on Tuesday, including the Seahawks’ draft pick and shocking decision.