According to NBC Sports’ Peter King, the Commissioner will preside over the draft as follows:
(Goodell will) appear via an in-home camera in the basement of his home in Westchester County, N.Y. Interesting note from a Saturday conversation with the NFL’s special-events czar, Peter O’Reilly: During each pick, a virtual montage of 15 fans of the team on the clock will be the backdrop behind Goodell, with those fans reacting (booing?) to the commissioner and to whoever their team picks.
This, of course, stands as a drastic departure from the league’s original plans for this year’s draft, which was to be held in the newest NFL city of Las Vegas, Nevada. The stage was to be set within the famous Bellagio Resort & Casino Fountain, where small boats were to ferry the freshly-drafted picks from the neighboring Caesar’s Palace to the stage within the Bellagio fountain itself. Now, instead of this, the grandest sort of pomp and circumstance, the draft gets downgraded to the Commissioner’s basement, like the NFL’s version of Wayne’s World.
Aside from Goodell’s basement show, the draft coverage itself will take place from ESPN’s Bristol, Connecticut studios, where they will be following local and state policies on social distancing. Draft hosts will be in studio and analysts will provide commentary remotely from home.
King has also stated that this year’s draft will work as follows:
Making picks will happen like this: Each team’s designated drafter will be connected to the league’s official Microsoft Teams private and encrypted draft channel, and will make the pick through that channel. There are two fail-safes: A GM can call Fiore or a member of his team directly by landline or cell with the pick. Also, there will be a conference call for the length of the draft with club officials muted; the club official designated to make the pick can unmute his/her line and announce the pick. If the pick is made through Microsoft Teams, Fiore or his representative will announce on the conference call that a pick has been made and the next team is on the clock.
ESPN and NFL Network will air the draft in a joint simulcast provided exclusively by ESPN production but with the shared use of on-air talent provided by both networks. This will be a unique singular shared broadcast with the exception of ABC which will use their own talent for Rounds 1-3 before using ESPN’s production and talent for Rounds 4-7. Below will list the on-air talent for the respective ESPN/NFL Network and ABC coverage for this year’s unique draft. Of note, ESPN’s Dianna Russini is assigned to remotely cover the Saints.
2020 NFL Draft
First Round - Thursday, April 23rd
Start Time - 5:00pm PST / 7:00pm CST / 8:00pm EST
ESPN and NFL Network
In-Studio Host - Trey Wingo
Remote Analysts - Mel Kiper Jr., Louis Riddick, Booger McFarland, Rich Eisen, Daniel Jeremiah, Michael Irvin, and Kurt Warner
Remote Updates - Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter
Remote Interviews - Suzy Kolber
In-Studio Host - Rece Davis
In-Studio Analysts - Jesse Palmer, Maria Taylor, and Tom Rinaldi
Remote Analysts - Todd McShay, Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard, and David Pollack
Online Streaming and Mobile - abc.go.com and ABC App
Host - Dari Nowkhah
Analysts - Mike Tannenbaum, Ian Fitzsimmons, and Bart Scott
Enjoy the Draft, Who Dat Nation! Here’s to the Saints selecting a stellar draft class!