The 2021 NFL Draft kicks off in less than a week. Cleveland will be hosting the draft this year and it will have a different feel than the previous year, it won’t be fully virtual.
Last year the NFL Draft took place in the earlier stages of the COVID-19 pandemic and was broadcasted virtually. This year around, Roger Goodell is vaccinated and ready to go - as are many others.
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, 13 players that are soon-to-be drafted will attend the actual draft ceremony in Cleveland. Expected number one overall pick Trevor Lawrence is one of many players that has elected to stay at home for the draft. Zach Wilson will likely be the first pick to hear his name called in person.
Players expected to be in Northeast Ohio for the draft are as follows:
- QB Zach Wilson, BYU
- QB Mac Jones, Alabama
- QB Trey Lance, NDSU
- WR Ja’Marr Chase, LSU
- WR Jaylen Waddle, Alabama
- WR DeVonta Smith, Alabama
- TE Kyle Pitts, Florida
- OT Rashawn Slater, Northwestern
- DL Christian Barmore, Alabama
- EDGE Gregory Rousseau, Miami
- LB Micah Parsons, Penn State
- CB Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech
- CB Patrick Surtain II, Alabama
With an expected quarterback run early on there will be three quarterbacks walking across the stage in the first round. Justin Fields will join Lawrence as another face that will not attend. Many prospects rather take in the life changing moment surrounded by family and friends, which is always understandable.
With COVID-19 still around the number of draft picks actually attending in person was always going to be low. The NFL was able to get 13 big names in person, so a little less than half of the first-round picks will shake Goodell’s hand and pose for a picture.