Around the NFL | Draft Weekend Notebook

Digital NFL Draft Kicked Off on Thursday Night in Remote Locations Across America


Hats and Jerseys, Oh My!
In normal times and in a normal NFL draft, players selected on the first round, clad in the hat of the team that selected them, would bound onto the stage, body-slam Commissioner Roger Goodell and hold up for photographers a team jersey with the No. 1 splashed across it.

But these are NOT normal times.

On Thursday night, first-round prospects, who were "connected" remotely while sheltering in place with friends and family, were showered with 32 hats and 32 jerseys from each of the NFL's 32 teams.

Upon selection, players like Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (selected No. 5 overall by Miami) grabbed the applicable cap, mugged a bit for the cameras and stood for a brief interview. But the key question: What happens to the other 31 caps and 31 jerseys … that's nearly 1,000 orphan hats and 1,000 orphan jerseys, going to where? Ebay? The Salvation Army?

"What I'll probably do is go around seeing which family members like certain teams," Tagovailoa told Yahoo Sports. "I'd give them a hat. I'd give them a jersey. And if not, I'd probably just send them back to the NFL."

Right Guy, Wrong House
New to the area, Tom Brady, now the Tampa Bay quarterback, made a mistake for the ages when he arrived for a meeting with the Bucs' offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, but invited himself, innocently, into the wrong house.

Days before the draft, Brady confirmed a TMZ report that he had indeed done a no-knock enty into the home of Leftwich's next-door neighbor.

"I literally was just sitting here and I watch this tall guy just walk into my house," said David Kramer, the surprised homeowner. "He didn't even look at me. He just like dropped his duffel bags down on the floor and just kind of like looked up at me and I'll never forget the look on his face.

"He just goes, 'Am I in the wrong house?!' "

Giants' Gettleman Lights Up Social Media
The New York metropolitan area has been devastated by the coronavirus and residents have been advised to wear masks and gloves when they venture outside.

But in your own home, perched in the basement during a remote hookup during the NFL draft?

After the Giants' GM Dave Gettleman, 69, pulled the trigger on Big Blue's first-round selection, Georgia tackle Andrew Thomas with the No. 4 pick, he could be seen pivoting at his desk and pulling on an N95 face mask.

The internet positively blew up with light ribbing and some fan-generated derision. It all seemed comical, until it wasn't. Gettleman is a cancer survivor and as such his pre-existing condition puts him at risk should he contract the virus.

"I've got a young IT fellow in here with me and we're social distancing, and part of it is the mask," Gettleman said during the team's post-selection conference call. "I feel really good. Sometimes I feel like I'm apologizing for that. But you know, my energy is good. I'm not telling you, chemo ain't fun. There has been a couple days where, oof, it rocks your world. ... It's not fun."

Gettleman said that his cancer, diagnosed in June 2018 as an aggressive lymphoma, is in "complete remission" after debilitating bouts of chemotherapy.

Chillin' Like Villains
NFL fans watching the draft on various platforms (ESPN, ABC NFL Network and online) got a rare glimpse into the homes and remote work setups of team officials and players. Among them were some eye-popping locales, perhaps more suited for "The Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous."

For example, Jerry Jones, the Cowboys owner and GM, held court on his multimillion-dollar (valued at $250 million, according to USA Today) yacht moored at an undisclosed location. To continue the maritime theme, New England Coach Bill Belichick was holed up at his beach house on Nantucket island.

"I'll tell you where I wasn't and that's what counts," Jones told The Dallas Morning News. "The place that you could get fined and lose draft picks if you were anywhere near our complex and all of that. You had to be in your room someplace else away from there and that's where I was. During the preparation for this draft, the last two or three weeks, I have been in two or three different locations and probably will be in as many as two different locations but in my draft room during this draft."

Belichick is purported to have traveled to Nantucket, which is about 30 miles off the Cape Cod coast, in his boat, VIII Rings. The ship is named for his eight Super Bowl rings, two won with the Giants.

SEC Players Dominate First Round
Teams from the South have won five straight Division I football championships so it should not be a surprise that the dominant Southeastern Conference (home to LSU and Alabama) had 17 players picked in the first round of the NFL draft.

LSU had nine players selected, including No. 1 overall Joe Burrow, while Alabama also had nine picked among the first 32 selections.

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