By Brian Hinchion, Staff Reporter
Well that went well.
Once it was announced this year’s NFL Draft would take place virtually and not in Las Vegas as originally planned, I immediately thought of how much of a fiasco it could be.
Technologically inept coaches and general managers would be at the whims of routers and WiFi connections for the new cornerstones of their franchises. There was ample opportunity for communication problems on the day between team officials, mistakes in player selection due to electronic device incompetence or outright sabotage on behalf of rival teams.
Instead, for the most part, the draft went off without a hitch and resulted in an efficient viewing experience for the fans and a streamline draft process for the teams themselves. Fans at home enjoyed how quick selections were made and teams focused on drafting their needs rather than burning the clock for potential trades.
To start the draft the Bengals, Dolphins and Chargers hope to have found their franchise quarterbacks of the future drafting Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert respectively. Washington took the consensus top player of the draft, according to ESPN rankings, drafting Chase Young, defensive end out of Ohio State with the number two selection. The Broncos and Cowboys will be pleased with the top two wide receivers according to ESPN, Jerry Jeudy of Alabama and CeeDee Lamb of Oklahoma fell to them at 15 and 17 respectively.
Locally, the Chargers draft was highlighted by their first round selection of Herbert, quarterback out of Oregon. In Herbert, the Chargers hope to have found a suitable quarterback to replace the outgoing Philip Rivers for years to come. They rounded out their draft taking local running back Joshua Kelly of Eastside High School in Lancaster and UCLA, as well as a couple of wide receivers to help Herbert break into the league.
The Rams replaced Todd Gurley and Brandin Cooks, with Cam Akers running back out of Florida State and Van Jefferson wide receiver from Florida with both of their second round selections. In the later rounds the Rams focused on drafting players on the defensive side of the ball.
In an otherwise drama-free draft, the big story to come out of it was the Green Bay Packers moving up into the first round to draft quarterback Jordan Love from Utah State. Former Indianapolis Colts punter Pat McAfee of the Pat McAfee Show pointed out in the buildup to the draft how the Packers were one game away from going to the superbowl last year. McAfee mentioned drafting players who could help stop the run, something they had a problem with against San Francisco in the NFC Championship game last year.
“That’s a team that gave up 186 yards before contact in the NFC Championship game, drafting a backup quarterback and trading up to do so,” said McAfee on his draft night livestream.
Instead the Packers chose to select a quarterback with their first selection in the draft despite their current star quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, having 4 years left on his current contract. Brett Favre, former Packer and hall of fame quarterback, appeared on the Rich Eisen Show last Wednesday and explained how the move to draft Love will alienate Rodgers’ relationship with the Packers.
“I think Aaron will finish somewhere else — that’s my gut,” Favre said.
All in all, this draft came at a welcome time for starved sports fans, hoping the NFL season can start later this year on time and without interruptions or setbacks.