The destinations of Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert are two of the biggest mysteries in the NFL draft this year, and it’s not hard to see why.
The Miami Dolphins are in the market for a new franchise quarterback at No. 5 overall. As are the Los Angeles Chargers at No. 6. Any number of mystery teams could swoop in via trade. And no one seems very sure on which quarterback will be taken first.
However it shakes out, though, Tagovailoa, Herbert and every other first-round prospect figures to be ready.
How the NFL is replacing its draft day traditions
In preparation for the NFL’s first virtual draft, the league is sending every first-round prospect a hat and a jersey for all 32 teams.
From the Dolphins and Chargers to the Cincinnati Bengals and Kansas City Chiefs, Tagovailoa and Herbert will have equipment on hand for every team (they probably don’t have to worry about the Chiefs hat).
“I haven’t received any instructions on the hats yet,” Herbert told Yahoo Sports’ Liz Loza. “I’m assuming they would probably have them lined up and ready to go, so when that call comes, we’d be able to pick up the right hat correctly. I’m assuming we’ll set them up right at our feet or right in front of us.”
In lieu of a green room, prospects will be sitting their living rooms.
The NFL is taking steps to ensure it can still get its interviews and candid reactions on camera as well, sending iPhones to prospects. One for an interview, another focused on the makeshift green room.
“My older brother has actually been in charge of setting up the cameras and a lot of lights,” Herbert said. “A couple iPhones were sent to catch every moment in our living room.”
Of course, once it’s all said and done, each player will have the hats and jerseys of 31 potential opponents in their homes. At least one of them has plans for that collection.
“What I’ll probably do is go around seeing which family members like certain teams,” Tagovailoa said. “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.”
Nothing about this year’s NFL draft figures to be normal, though the NFL is clearly doing its best to ensure some normalcy (and video quality) for those watching. Draftees will still get their family hugs after being drafted, their new team’s duds and their first interview as an NFL player.
There is one big change the NFL is making though, per Herbert:
“We were told not to wear suits.”
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