NFL will have 58 prospects participating remotely in draft

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow (9) scrambles during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Texas A&M, in Baton Rouge, La. (Gerald Herbert/AP)

NEW YORK — Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow and Ohio State edge rusher Chase Young are among 58 prospects who will participate remotely in the NFL draft next week that will double as a telethon to raise money to fight the coronavirus crisis.

Burrow is one of eight LSU players who will take part in the April 23-25 draft, one more than Alabama.

Normally, top prospects would be invited to the draft itself, but this year’s festivities in Las Vegas were scuttled by the coronavirus outbreak and the draft will instead be conducted in a studio with the league’s 32 teams participating remotely from their hometowns.

The NFL also said that throughout the three-day draft it will host a “Draft-A-Thon” to benefit COVID-19 relief efforts and pay tribute to healthcare workers and others on the front lines of the pandemic.

The virus has killed more than 16,000 people in the U.S. and fundamentally transformed American life while plunging the global economy into what is expected to be a major recession. More than one in 10 U.S. workers have lost their jobs in just the past three weeks to the pandemic.

Worldwide, more than 1.5 million people have been confirmed infected and about 90,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The SEC leads all conferences with 24 prospects confirmed to participate in the event, which will serve as a three-day fundraiser benefiting six charities that are battling the virus and delivering relief to millions in need.

Those charities are: the Salvation Army, the American Red Cross; CDC Foundation’s All of Us; and the COVID-19 response funds of Feeding America, Meals on Wheels America and United Way.

Despite the logistical challenges of operating a 255-pick draft remotely, teams will still have just 10 minutes between picks in the first round, seven for rounds 2 and 3 and five for rounds 4-7.

The Cincinnati Bengals own the first overall pick.

Among the other players who will participate are Clemson linebacker/safety Isaiah Simmons, Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown and Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah.

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