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The 7 things we hope happen in a Zoom NFL Draft

Our predictions for how the virtual 2020 NFL Draft could go wrong, after years of screwing up our own Zoom meetings.

Photoshopped image of a Zoom video conferencing screen. In the top left, Matt Patricia’s face is covered by a cat. In the top right, Jerry Jones is smiling while John Schnatter stands in the background wearing pizza underwear. In the bottom left, Bill Belichick poses in a fake mustache with the screen name “The Real Cincinnati Bengals Front Office.” In the bottom right, a blue screen reads “Currently Disconnected” for the user “LV RAIDERS LETS GO!!!”

Head coaches and general managers are officially staying home for the 2020 NFL Draft, which means proceedings will be conducted virtually. That’s right, one of the league’s biggest weekends of the year may essentially be run like a massive work Zoom meeting.

We here at SB Nation are used to conducting our business using remote technology. The same may not be said for NFL personnel, however, who tend to come from generations more accustomed to archaic forms of technology. With that, here are our predictions for how the draft might go horrifically wrong, based on years of our own video call travails.

Dog/cat/baby/ferret ruins everything

Working from home means working next to my dog much more often. And while he has the fuzzy-wuzziest wittle ears, he’s also an attention diva who loves to come marching onto my lap whenever I’ve started a call, occasionally stepping on the keyboard and opening several applications I didn’t know I had while ruining whatever I was working on. This is how the Lions will draft a punter at No. 3 overall.

Louis Bien

Papa John walks through the shot with no pants on

We all have that one friend who we can’t help but associate with, despite people saying it’s a terrible idea. For Jerry Jones, that’s Papa John. At this point, I assume Papa John’s permanent state of being is pantsless, and I have a sneaking suspicion that at some point during the draft they’re going to cut to Jones in his palatial estate to get his thoughts on the Cowboys’ draft pick.

Then it happens.

In the corner of the screen a breathless, pantsless, former pizza mogul will saunter on screen — slice of pepperoni is his right hand, container of garlic sauce in his left. Scratching his crotch with the very same slice he’s about to eat. Jones wont notice, but the world will. He will linger on screen entirely too long before realizing what’s happening and leave the frame. We will screen shot it, so it can live forever.

— James Dator

Bad internet connection disasters

I’m specifically referring to the moment when a team goes to announce its draft pick, the internet begins to cut out, and we don’t hear the name of who was called, only for the connection to magically stabilize immediately right after. The speaker thinks everyone heard them, and chaos takes over.

Is this a horrible way to be drafted for the draftee? Yes. But the draft is already in shambles, so we might as well get a meme-able moment out of it.

Whitney Medworth


Most videoconference setups allow you to change your user name, assuming that you will do this for smart and necessary reasons. That assumption is a security flaw, and you, general manager of the right cutthroat NFL team, can exploit it in the following manner:

  1. Right before the draft starts, change your name to “Cincinnati Bengals Front Office.”
  2. Simultaneously, kill the power and internet connection to whoever’s running the actual Bengals draft. You’ve seen movies. You can figure this part out.
  3. You, as the false Bengals, are now on the clock. And you’re drafting ... Jake Fromm, Georgia quarterback!

Chaos will ensue as the other franchises and media struggle to figure out what on Earth just happened, and by the time the Bengals get back online, we’ll be four or five picks deep. If they try to explain what happened, everyone will assume they just got cold feet and tell them to deal with it. More likely, they’ll act like drafting Fromm was the plan all along to save face.

Ryan Nanni

Screen sharing disaster

One of the easiest mistakes to make when you’re on Zoom is accidentally screen sharing something private. The chance of it happening increases tenfold when you’re under pressure, and I can’t think of a situation more stressful than trying to figure out a piece of technology while you’re supposed to make a decision about your team’s future. On television, no less.

I hope the worst case scenario here is seeing a browser tab with an NFL owner’s preferred grocery store and not something more private.

Hector Diaz

Someone forgets to mute their Zoom line, and the entire world gets to hear a team talk about its big board

Whether it’s a Zoom call or a regular audio conference call, there is always at least one person who does not mute their line, letting us hear people yelling in the background and other random conversations. Normally, it’s just an inconvenience. During the NFL Draft, it could prove disastrous to a team’s plans.

Imagine the Raiders have a few picks until they have to make a selection at No. 19. They’re looking at wide receivers, and that’s right around when a run could start on the position. Imagine Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock chatting up their love for, say, CeeDee Lamb or Tee Higgins for 31 flabbergasted war rooms to hear ...

And yes, I’m saying that if this happens, there is about a 95 percent chance it’s the Raiders.

David Fucillo

A team logs off too early

We’ve all been there. You’re on a fantasy draft that you are just so totally over, so you set that bad boy to auto and leave it the rest of your fate to the sports gods. I’d say it would be a phenomenal power move from Bill Belichick to just close up shop after the fourth round, but I think he’s a little too persnickety to leave anything to chance. Instead, here’s to hoping Gruden forgets how many rounds there are, and the Las Vegas Raiders take a backup long snapper in the sixth.

— Caroline Darney