In this post-Corona world, one of the industries that has left me and many others longing for its return is the world of professional sports. From April 23rd to April 25th sports fans were treated to a return to normalcy in the form of the 2020 NFL Draft. The NFL Draft is an event where football fans get to watch as hundreds of college football players realize their dreams and officially become NFL players. “It was beautiful. Tear-jerking, even.” Joked sports fan Matt Kistner from Philadelphia “It just felt like a return to normalcy in a way.” This year the players didn’t get the luxury of taking the usual walk across the stage, shaking the commissioner’s hand, and putting on their new team’s hat. This year the draft was conducted 100% remotely. This television coverage was spearheaded by a combined staff of ESPN and NFL Network, the first ever time that this occurred. (Finn, 2020)
The draft began with one of the most obvious NFL draft picks in recent memory. The team selecting first in the draft was the Cincinnati Bengals, who were awarded the first pick in the draft due to the fact that they had the worst win-loss record of any team during the 2019-2020 NFL season. This was the fourth time in the team’s 52 year history where they would be selecting first in the draft, previously selecting first in 1991, 1992, and 2003. Luckily for them, there was a player from Ohio coming off the most historic college football season ever, playing the most important position in football, quarterback. It didn’t take long for the Bengals to make their selection and the commissioner came to address the nation with the results of their pick. “With the first overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals select Joe Burrow, quarterback from LSU.” The pick was universally loved, and I asked Bengals fan Jerry Marucci for his opinion. “I’m personally overjoyed” Marucci said, “Burrow won the Heisman, had the most yards, the most touchdowns, he won the National Championship. I would have been mad if they did anything else.”
While the Bengals were the big winner on the night, another big winner was Burrow’s bank account. According to Forbes, Burrow is projected to make the most money of any number one overall pick ever. (Badenhausen, 2020) The infographic below shows the money in millions that the top 10 picks in the draft will be receiving according to that same Forbes article.
Most of these picks will be receiving most of their money in a signing bonus, with a much lower amount coming in their yearly salaries, which is guaranteed over the next four years. For example, Joe Burrow will be making $36 million on his rookie contract, which lasts four years. $23.9 million of that $36 million will be introduced to the player in a signing bonus, or in other words, money that was put into their account the day of the draft. This means that the remaining $12.1 million will be spread out over the next 4 years, making roughly $3 million per year. This is slightly controversial due to the fact that positions such as running backs have shorter lifespans in the NFL, many times not even making it five years in the league before being physically exhausted. NFL players typically receive much larger amounts on their second contracts than they do in their draft contracts, sometimes in upwards of $60 million. (Kostora, 2017)
The last big winner of the NFL draft was the Southeastern Conference, the sports conference that is typically considered the best in college football. The conference was the host to the most picks in the NFL Draft, with 63 players from the conference joining the ranks of the elite players in the league. (Spencer, 2020) Another notable breakdown in the numbers from the conference breakdown was the fact that three players were drafted from Division II and III. Sports fans always love an underdog story, and this will be no different. “Hopefully one of these guys can be the next Jahri Evans.” Said Bloomsburg student Ryan Begley. Begley was of course talking about the future Hall of Fame lineman from Division II Bloomsburg University.
Overall, the NFL draft as always was a beautiful spectacle. Despite the unusual and non-conventional way in which it was conducted, it was still a great experience being able to watch students, like yourself, accomplish a dream they’ve had since they were children.
Badenhausen, K. (2020, April 24). 2020 NFL Draft First-Round Rookie Salary Projections: What Burrow, Tua And Chase Young Will Make. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/kurtbadenhausen/2020/04/24/2020-nfl-draft-first-round-rookie-salary-projections-what-burrow-tua-and-chase-young-will-make/#26336c3b5be3
Finn, C. (2020, April 24). Even in virtual form, the NFL Draft gave us a sense of normalcy. Retrieved from https://www.boston.com/sports/nfl-draft/2020/04/24/nfl-draft-remote-roger-goodell
Kostora, N. (2017, October 3). Everything You Need to Know About the NFL’s Rookie Wage Scale. Retrieved from https://bleacherreport.com/articles/1595987-everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-nfls-rookie-wage-scale
Spencer, A. (2020, April 25). Carnage Report: Final tallies for each conference in 2020 NFL Draft. Retrieved from https://www.saturdaydownsouth.com/sec-football/carnage-report-final-tallies-for-each-conference-in-2020-nfl-draft/