NFL will hold draft in Cleveland next month

One year after holding its draft virtually, the NFL is returning to a venue.

SHARE NFL will hold draft in Cleveland next month
2020 NFL Draft - Round 1

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell hosted the draft from his basement last year.

Photo by NFL via Getty Images

After holding its draft virtually in 2020, the NFL is going back outdoors.

On Monday, the league announced the draft will be held at open-air Cleveland locations — including the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the Great Lakes Science Center and the Browns’ stadium — from April 29 to May 1.

Commissioner Roger Goodell will announce the first-round results from the main stage, with Lake Erie in the backdrop. The league has begun inviting likely Round 1 prospects to Cleveland — a similar number to recent years.

NFL executive vice president Peter O’Reilly wouldn’t say exactly how many fans will be allowed but said “obviously we want to maximize the number of fans that can be part of this free outdoor event safely.” Final totals will evolve in the coming weeks, but the league expects “tens of thousands of fans” to participate during the three days of the draft, he said.

All the fans selected for the “inner circle” — in which each team selects supporters to watch the draft stage from a front-row seat — will be vaccinated.Teams will send representatives — likely former players — to announce their second- and third-round picks in Cleveland. They figure to be vaccinated. On Day 3, teams will announce picks from their home cities.

As was the case when the draft took place in Chicago — and then Dallas, Philadelphia and Nashville, Tennessee — the league is holding a fan festival adjacent to the draft. Fans there won’t be required to have a vaccine. Masks and social-distancing will be mandatory at the draft and at the fan festival, which will feature food, drinks and live music.

Originally scheduled to be in Las Vegas, last year’s draft was instead conducted virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic. Goodell read off draft selections from a chair in his Bronxville, New York, basement, while prospects gathered in front of cameras in their homes.

“He’s excited to get out of the basement,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said.

Cleveland was selected as the home of the 2021 draft before the pandemic struck, though the league didn’t confirm its plans to stay there until Monday. Las Vegas will host in 2022.

The Latest
Police identified the shooting suspect as Robert “Bobby” Crimo III, a 22-year-old who remained on the loose for more than eight hours after the attack in the affluent suburb’s downtown area.
Nicolas Toledo, a grandfather visiting family in Highland Park, was identified by his granddaughter as one of the people killed in the mass shooting at the Fourth of July parade in the northern suburb.
When government refuses to act, it betrays the ideals we celebrate on the Fourth.
The strike also is delaying road resurfacing around Chicago and projects including the Interstate 55 and Weber Road interchange and the Interstate 80 bridge in Joliet.
Home runs and sacrifice bunts are down. So are strikeouts, but that is almost entirely because of the National League using the DH.