Anything But Football: Breaking Down Everything Else That Happened At The 2020 NFL Draft
Updated: May 29, 2020
With the Coronavirus pandemic still at large, the NFL was forced to do things differently with the draft this year. Enter the first of its kind all-virtual draft, which provided a far more entertaining experience compared to years past.
I'm going to break down what stuck out most...minus the actual football moves. There are plenty of brighter minds than I, who can break down and grade each team's picks. I'm not here to pretend to have insight on Lenoir-Rhyne's 2019 inner-conference run game against stand up 4-3 defensive ends.
I'll save that shit for the experts or know-it-all cousins (ie Twitter). Instead let's look at everything else that happened.
1. This Was the Best Episode of House Hunters
Honestly, this made for way better TV than usual. When your selling point for the draft according to your commissioner is "the hugs", you've got a stupid model because nobody other than Roger Goodell enjoys those.
Pictured: Saint's draft pick Cesar Ruiz getting a warm "digi-hug" from the commissioner.
Instead, this year we got a mix between an HGTV show and a reality show where you judge people's social distancing skills, and you critique the home staging work done by the wives of the coaches, GMs and analysts. Some were good, others were not.
On one end, you had NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah with these dumb gears above his head because he apparently lives in an interior design showroom.
On the other end of it you had the braggers – guys who loaded up on trophies so that their space resembled the man-cave of the kid on your little league team who sucked, but their dad was proud enough to keep the worthless plastic golden figurines around.
John Elway had his Lombardi Trophies out to try to distract you from that fact that he's not so great at this front office thing. Kurt Warner had a constantly shifting selection of trophies surrounding him which no doubt included both his MVP awards and his "Best Grocery Bagger March 1998" from Ralph's.
Pictured: Kurt's Day 1 Trophies. He had different trophies each day.
Then you had the hastily branded spaces. It's like they gave every coach a $50 dollar gift certificate to NFLshop.com and said they could only pick the most irrelevant gear available.
This did yield some cool results though. In its most perfect form you had Chargers GM Tom Telesco housing a rad surfboard in his dining room. TUBULAR!
This isn't even getting into the players' houses where we had everything from giant batman murals, luxury cabins (for those on the Alabama State payroll), questionable curtains (looking at you, Joe Burrow), and lots of green carpet because that's apparently still a thing.
2. Kliff's Palatial Estate
Boy wonder Kliff Kingsbury is living the life and used the draft's camera as an extension of his tinder profile. The whole thing felt like a Frank Reynolds "magnum condom and a wad of hundreds" flex.
I half expected him to turn to the camera and go "Oh I didn't see you there" like some sort of bad dating video.
3. Is Everyone at Mike Vrabel's House On Bath Salts?
With a bunch of kids oddly dressed up and one looking like he was taking a dump in a glass bathroom, pictures really don't do justice to how profoundly weird this was on air. The longer it lasted it the more I went from "Dad, might have let the kids have a few many too many sips of the good bourbon" to "Dad might have let the kids ingest the contents bath and body works gift box".
Okay, I know that Vrabel said his kids were just bored and having fun, but honestly the way that it was presented on night one without any comments was like everyone at ESPN didn't want to talk about the fact that Mike Vrabel's place felt like some sort of bath salt induced nightmare.
4. Everyone's Parents Either Played The Game Or Died In Horrible Tragic Ways
ESPN must have had a bunch of sad music left over from all the teams that didn't lose during March Madness this year. After every pick it was revealed that one of the players' parents died in some sort of unspeakable tragedy.
I don't want to trivialize how many people lose a dear friend or a loved one, and what impact that can have on their lives, but it really felt like ESPN sent out a questionnaire that started with: "So, who close to you died?".
Someone at draft HQ was certain that we really needed a Brian's Song style cry after every pick. If your mother didn't die tragically saving someone's life, or your father didn't play in the NFL, then you were picked by the Bengals, because that's enough suffering for a lifetime.
5. Every House Had A Hat Table Somewhere
I just have to assume this is real and I love it. Like you don't know who's going to pick you so somewhere in every house for those who were draft eligible was a table with all 32 teams hats. Which, as a concept, is super amusing to me.
I guess if you couldn't find all 32 hats you could have just gambled and bought the ones that you thought were interested, but for the late round picks that's pretty much all a crap shoot.
6. CeeDee Lamb Was Not About To Let His Girlfriend "CeeDee Phone"
If you haven't seen what was likely the most viral part of the draft (except Vrabel's house), then you must've been under a rock somewhere this weekend:
According to Lamb's girlfriend, he was getting a Facetime call from his agent, which she was about to answer for him. My question: How many people in his phone are saved as "My Agent"?