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Virtual Draft Process 'Smooth' As Cardinals Select Isaiah Simmons

First-round pick celebrates at home in Kansas with family

Coach Kliff Kingsbury in his house during the 2020 draft, the famous picture
Coach Kliff Kingsbury's at-home setup during the draft.

Kliff Kingsbury's at-home war-room setup won the internet on Thursday night.

More importantly, the altered locations of the team's key decision-makers didn't adversely affect the Cardinals' draft process.

Kingsbury and General Manager Steve Keim were in their own homes for the first round and reported no communication issues as they convened virtually to choose linebacker Isaiah Simmons with the eighth overall pick.

"Outside of no human interaction, really, (it was) pretty on-schedule," Kingsbury said.

The whole draft was done remotely due to COVID-19, as commissioner Roger Goodell read picks from his basement and the prospects stayed home instead of attending in person.

Keim said the NFL had a website which streamed the proceedings live, so the teams always saw the picks come in and knew how much time was on the clock.

"This format, because it's virtual, it does seem a little quicker to me than being in a draft war room," Keim said. "But I felt like it was pretty smooth. The biggest thing was being prepared, having your board stacked the right way, trusting in it, and when your opportunity is up to pick, you go ahead and make the selection."

Keim said he received trade calls from teams looking to move up, but stayed at No. 8 to take Simmons.

Simmons celebrated the selection in his home state of Kansas. It was a much more muted display than regular drafts, as coronavirus restrictions kept the gathering from growing large. When the Cardinals called, Simmons was only surrounded by five people.

Simmons was initially bummed he couldn't attend the draft in Las Vegas and walk across the stage as originally planned, but "this still was a life-changing moment, something I've always dreamt of. I'm really, really excited about it, regardless if I was in Vegas or not. It was nice to just enjoy this time with my family."

Simmons was still a busy man after the draft, jumping into videoconferences for a variety of interviews. Once it all settled down, his plan was to watch the rest of the draft and then have a low-key end to the night.

"There's not really much we can do but enjoy each other's company," Simmons said.