In less than 36 hours, the 2020 NFL Draft will officially begin. Months of anticipation, rumors, and in some cases anxiety, will finally draw to a close.
While the draft is the lifeblood of the NFL and is of vital importance to all 32 teams, the Jacksonville Jaguars are one team whose future will be shaped in a major in the coming days. The team holds a franchise-record 12 draft picks, including two in the first round for the first time since 1998.
With one of the most important three-day stretches in franchise history upon the team, Jaguars owner Shad Khan penned a letter to fans and the local community in which he addressed the draft, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic which has spread throughout the world and put everything at a fast halt.
"On behalf of my wife Ann and our family, I wanted to take a moment to say thank you to you and your families for all you are doing to help Jacksonville take on the challenges of COVID-19 that have had an undeniable impact on our world today. Our nation has certainly encountered adversity in the past and, in each instance, we've persevered and ultimately triumphed," Khan said. "Thanks to everyone's commitment to being a good citizen and neighbor, I know we will again.
"In particular, we all owe a debt to the brave men and women serving on the front lines of this battle, here in Jax and throughout the world," Khan continued.
Khan then touched on the draft, and how this year's event may lack in normalcy but not in importance.
While there is no avoiding the current state of the world, and while all must remain cautious and vigilant, Khan said the draft would serve as a welcome distraction to fans and the NFL alike.
This year's draft will be held virtually due to the virus, which has opened the door for teams to flex their creativity as they attempt to capture the moments that make up the event. While there will be no phone calls from a packed draft room or players walking across the stage, it will still be a weekend full of twists and special occasions.
"The experience this week will undoubtedly be different, but nothing is the same at this moment as it was just a few months ago," Khan said. "I am expecting the NFL to rise to the occasion and provide three captivating days of coverage and content, and I know our marketing and communications staff will go the extra mile for Jaguars fans following the proceedings at home in Jacksonville and throughout the world."
This weekend will serve as a catalyst for the Jaguars' future, and while the monumental draft will take place during a time in the world in which there is fear and anxiousness, the show will still go on.
It won't be like any other draft before, or likely after, but at the end of the day, it will still be a draft. Team's fates will be changed, and new stars will be born in and outside of Jacksonville.