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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

This year's NFL draft was set to be its biggest spectacle yet, held on The Strip in Las Vegas, with players being transported by boat to the red-carpet stage in the middle of the Bellagio Hotel fountains.

Yes, but: Instead, it will — like most things in our lives these days — be held virtually, with commissioner Roger Goodell announcing selections from his basement and players being shown at home via remote cameras.

Mock draft:

  1. Bengals: QB Joe Burrow, LSU
  2. Redskins: DE Chase Young, Ohio State
  3. Lions: CB Jeff Okuda, Ohio State
  4. Giants: OT Tristan Wirfs, Iowa
  5. Dolphins: QB Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
  6. Chargers: QB Justin Herbert, Oregon
  7. Panthers: LB Isaiah Simmons, Clemson
  8. Cardinals: OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia
  9. Jaguars: DT Derrick Brown, Auburn
  10. Browns: OT Jedrick Wills, Alabama

What to watch: The NFL plans to show small draft parties for 58 prospects and interview them when their names are called. To accomplish this, the prospects were mailed technology kits with thousands of dollars of video equipment.

  • "The result will be roughly 180 different video feeds, and a lot of technology complications. Dry runs this week have produced mixed results," writes Bloomberg's Eben Novy-Williams.
  • A story worth noting: In a recent draft, one team was eyeing a player and started watching the livestream of his draft party. When they saw a team tell him on the phone that they'd be taking him with their next pick, the first team traded up, ahead of the second team, to draft the player.

How to watch: It will be broadcast on ABC, ESPN, ESPN Deportes and the NFL Network, and can be streamed via the NFL app.

The bottom line: Without the ability to gather in one location with all the top prospects donning expensive suits and thousands of fans screaming their lungs out, this year's draft will lack some of its normal pageantry and energy.

  • But the broadcast will still accommodate plenty of spectacle and could draw more interest than ever before from sports-starved fans.

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Prosecutors charge parents of Michigan school shooting suspect

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The parents of a 15-year-old accused of killing four students and wounding seven other people at a Michigan high school have been charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter, according to court documents.

The latest: Lawyers for James and Jennifer Crumbley told the Detroit News they are "returning to the area to be arraigned," after law enforcement officials announced a search for the Crumbleys had been initiated.

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus variant surveillance varies widely by state — Omicron cases confirmed in 5 U.S. states America probably won't lead the effort to understand Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Moderna loses patent battles tied to COVID vaccine.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate — Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come.
  4. World: WHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming — Germany approves new restrictions for unvaccinated people.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
9 hours ago - World

Putin to demand legal guarantee against NATO expansion in call with Biden

Biden and Putin meeting in Geneva in June. Photo: Mikhail Metzel\TASS via Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin is demanding a legally binding guarantee that NATO will not expand east — including to Ukraine — and plans to raise the issue in an upcoming phone call with President Biden, according to the Kremlin.

Why it matters: Russia has massed more than 94,000 troops on the border with Ukraine and could be preparing for a large-scale invasion at the end of January, Ukraine's defense minister said Friday.