The NFL has announced there will be a limited, in-person event for next month’s 2021 NFL Draft, a year removed from the league’s first-ever entirely virtual event. The draft, held in Cleveland, will have a limited number of fans and prospects.
“We are thrilled to be heading to Cleveland for the NFL Draft, which has become one of the most highly anticipated events in sports,” said Peter O’Reilly, NFL Executive Vice President, Club Business & League Events. “Just months after executing a safe and successful Super Bowl LV, we look forward to bringing the excitement of our Draft traditions to fans in collaboration with the Browns, Destination Cleveland, Greater Cleveland Sports Commission, the City of Cleveland, and all of our local Cleveland partners.”
And the NFL tweeted out the news this morning.
See you soon, Cleveland.
— NFL (@NFL) March 22, 2021
The 2020 NFL Draft, just weeks after the pandemic began in the United States, was held virtually. Picks were announced remotely with Roger Goodell and his famous “Grandpa Chair” doing the honors in the first round.
It wasn’t an ideal setup but the league and networks did well to make it as interactive and entertaining as possible. It was cool to see the houses and lives of the NFL’s most notable coaching figures. From Kliff Kingsbury’s definitely-not-a-villain-lair mansion to Bill Belichick and assistant GM dog. Last week, the league announced teams will be able to draft at their facilities provided they wear masks and sadhere to social distancing guidelines.
So like a lot of aspects of life, things will start to feel a little more like normal come next month’s draft. Hopefully by 2022, the league will return to the raucous event that’s become the draft. It’s by far the most watched and covered draft of any of the major sports.
The 2021 NFL Draft kicks off Thursday, April 29th. Day Two will take place on Friday with the draft concluding on Saturday, May 1st. The Steelers will be on the clock at #24 overall.