What time does 2020 NFL Draft start today? Live TV coverage, schedule for Thursday’s Round 1
The 2020 NFL Draft will start tonight on the date and at the time originally scheduled. Which is notable considering the coronavirus pandemic has shut down all live sports globally, either postponing or outright canceling live events.
The NFL decided to keep the NFL Draft on the schedule as planned for a few reasons, including a chance for fans to experience a bit of normalcy. (And no, the surefire TV ratings don’t hurt.) Yet the 2020 NFL Draft, scheduled to begin Thursday night at 8 p.m. ET and broadcast live on ABC, ESPN and NFL Network, will be anything but normal.
To ensure fairness since NFL team personnel in different states are under differing stay-at-home orders, the league mandated that all league and team employees conduct the NFL Draft from their own, remote locations. So the 2020 NFL Draft will be fully virtual.
Format-wise, the 2020 NFL Draft technically remains unchanged. The biggest differences this year are the logistics of teams making picks from remote locations. Some believe the challenges will only separate the best NFL talent evaluators from the rest.
As for the fans, the viewing experience for the NFL Draft should be as positive as ever. Below is how to watch Round 1 play out Thursday night.
What time does the NFL Draft start today?
- Date: Thursday, April 23
- Round 1 start time: 8 p.m. ET
- TV channels: ABC | ESPN | NFL Network
- Live stream: ESPN app | NFL app | DAZN (in Canada)
The start time for the 2020 NFL Draft tonight is 8 p.m. ET. The entire first round of the 2020 NFL Draft will play out Thursday evening, but only the first round.
Despite tech-related concerns from teams drafting players virtually, the league decided not to change the amount of time teams are given to make each selection. That means each team in the first round will be given 10 minutes to make its pick. Based on that time frame, the first round is expected to conclude by approximately 11:30 p.m. ET on Thursday,
The start time for the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft is 7 p.m. ET on Friday. Round 3 of the NFL Draft will also play out Friday night. The start time for Saturday’s coverage of the NFL Draft, which includes Rounds 4-7, is noon ET.
What channel is the NFL Draft on today?
- TV channels: ABC, ESPN, NFL Network
The entirety of the 2020 NFL Draft will broadcast live on three different TV networks — ABC, ESPN and NFL Network. ESPN Deportes also will present a Spanish edition of ESPN’s broadcast.
Anybody with access to broadcast TV (even without cable) can watch the NFL Draft on ABC. All the major cable networks carry both ESPN (Xfinity channel 49) and NFL Network (Xfinity channel 265). The specific ESPN and NFL Network channels for Spectrum, Cox and Optimum cable customers vary based on viewing area.
NFL Draft TV schedule
|Round||Day||Date||Start time||TV channels|
|1||Thursday||April 23||8 p.m. ET||ABC, ESPN, NFL Network|
|2-3||Friday||April 24||7 p.m. ET||ABC, ESPN, NFL Network|
|4-7||Saturday||April 25||Noon ET||ABC, ESPN, NFL Network|
The TV schedule for the 2020 NFL Draft remains unchanged despite the logistics changes forced by the coronavirus pandemic. All seven rounds of the NFL Draft still will be presented across ABC, ESPN and NFL Network on April 23-25, but the broadcasts will look and feel a little different.
ESPN and NFL Network will combine to offer a singular presentation across both networks. ABC will present its own distinctive telecasts for Rounds 1-3 on Thursday and Friday in addition to simulcasting the ESPN and NFL Network telecast of Rounds 4-7 on Saturday.
The 2020 NFL Draft telecasts will now originate from ESPN’s Bristol, Conn., studios and adhere to proper coronavirus-related social distancing guidelines. Trey Wingo will host all three days of ESPN’s draft coverage and will be joined remotely by analysts Mel Kiper Jr., Louis Riddick and Booger McFarland. NFL Network host Rich Eisen and analysts Daniel Jeremiah, Michael Irvin and Kurt Warner will also contribute remotely all three days. ESPN host Suzy Kolber will conduct remote interviews with draftees from an ESPN studio. NFL insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter also will be part of the telecast.
On ABC’s prime-time telecasts Thursday and Friday, hosts Rece Davis, Jesse Palmer and Maria Taylor will be joined by analysts Todd McShay, Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard and David Pollack, as well as correspondent/feature reporter Tom Rinaldi. Davis, Palmer, Taylor and Rinaldi will be in-studio in Bristol.
NFL Draft live stream
NFL Draft live steams can be found on multiple platforms and can be viewed on multiple devices. As for live TV streaming services, YouTube TV, Hulu Plus Live TV, Sling TV and AT&T TV Now all carry at least one of the channels broadcasting the 2020 NFL Draft. AT&T Watch TV, however, does not carry ABC, ESPN or NFL Network.
For those with connected TV devices (Xbox, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, PS4 and Roku), the NFL Draft can be streamed live with the NFL App, the ABC App or the ESPN App by authentication with participating TV providers.
Similar options are available for those who wish to live stream the NFL Draft via mobile devices and tablets — the NFL App, the NFL Network App, the ABC App and the ESPN App. On computers and laptops, a live stream of the NFL Draft will be available by authentication with participating TV providers at NFL.com/Watch, ESPN.com/Watch and ABC.go.com.
|Platform||NFL Draft?||Cable/satellite login needed?|
|Hulu + Live TV||Yes||No|
|AT&T TV Now||Yes||No|
|AT&T Watch TV||No||–|
|Xbox (NFL/ABC/ESPN Apps)||Yes||Yes|
|PS4 (NFL/ABC/ESPN Apps)||Yes||Yes|
|Amazon Fire TV (NFL/ABC/ESPN Apps)||Yes||Yes|
|Android TV (NFL/ABC/ESPN Apps)||Yes||Yes|
|Apple TV (NFL/ABC/ESPN Apps)||Yes||Yes|
|Roku (NFL/ABC/ESPN Apps)||Yes||Yes|
|Mobile devices/tablets (NFL/NFLN/ABC/ESPN Apps)||Yes||Yes|
|Computers ( NFL.com/watch, ESPN.com/Watch, ABC.go.com)||Yes||Yes|
In Canada, the NFL Draft can be streamed live on DAZN, which includes NFL Network coverage and offers a free trial period for new subscribers.
NFL Draft order: Round 1
With a 2-14 record, the Bengals finished last season as the worst team in the NFL. That means Cincinnati has the first pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Most believe the Bengals will select LSU quarterback Joe Burrow with the top overall pick.
Because one of the Lions’ games last season finished in a tie and they ended the year with a record of 3-12-1, the Redskins, who finished 3-13 were able to jump Detroit for the No. 2 overall pick. The Giants (4-12) and Dolphins (5-11) round out this year’s top five.
The Bengals have the first pick in each of the seven rounds in the 2020 NFL Draft.