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NFL secures 58 players to participate in Draft virtually

Louisiana State University, led in part by Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Joe Burrow (center) celebrates winning the College Football Playoff National Championship.

The National Football League said it has secured 58 player prospects, including 2019 Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow, to participate in the upcoming Draft on April 23-25 that is moving to a new virtual format because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

League commissioner Roger Goodell earlier this week shifted the NFL Draft, a key part of the league’s offseason calendar, to the virtual format and mandated team personnel all work from their respective homes.

The format shift, though predictable and in line with shelter-in-place orders happening all around the US, is a sizable change from initial plans for the NFL Draft that called for a three-day fan extravaganza in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Players are normally invited to attend the NFL Draft and come across the stage upon being selected. But with the new format, players will participate remotely from their hometowns. They will be featured on the television coverage of the Draft, and on other NFL Media platforms.

Burrow, who was the quarterback for 2019 college football national champions Louisiana State University, is one of eight players from that school that are scheduled to be part of the NFL Draft coverage. The Cincinnati Bengals have the top overall selection and are widely expected to pick Burrow. 

The NFL Draft is also serving as a virtual fundraiser to benefit six charities that will be selected by the NFL Foundation and are working to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and provide relief to impacted communities.