The NFL has released their plans for the 2021 NFL Draft, which is set to be held in Cleveland from April 29 to May 1.
While the Draft will not be an entirely virtual production as it was in 2020, the celebration will still look different due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Using Lake Erie as a backdrop, the NFL Draft Main Stage will be erected right on the lakefront adjacent to FirstEnergy Stadium. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will make his return as well, announcing each selection from the stage.
The NFL officially announces that the 86th NFL Draft (April 29-May 1) will in fact take place in downtown Cleveland – around FirstEnergy Stadium, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Great Lakes Science Center pic.twitter.com/JAXgaOr5GJ— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) March 22, 2021
“We are thrilled to be heading to Cleveland for the NFL Draft, which has become one of the most highly anticipated events in sports,” NFL Executive Vice President, Club Business & League EventsPeter O’Reilly said. “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.”
After drafting from their respective homes last year, team decision makers will be allowed to gather in war rooms for the process, whether that be at their facilities or another chosen location.
The league is also introducing an “Inner Circle,” a select group of fully-vaccinated fans chosen by all 32 clubs to cheer on draft picks from the front row of the Draft Theatre. Other invited guests will spectate there as well.
All fans attending will be required to wear face coverings and adhere to social distancing guidelines.
The NFL Draft Experience, the league’s interactive fan fest, will return and be free for the public around FirstEnergy Stadium all three days. To limit capacity, the experience will be by reservation only, which fans can make using the NFL OnePass app.
The NFL Draft will once again be televised on ESPN, ABC and NFL Network, with primetime coverage on Thursday and Friday.
“We are thrilled for Cleveland to host this year’s NFL Draft and celebrate the hard-working and inspiring new Draft prospects, football’s great history, and our fans. It is even more special as we commemorate our 75th anniversary and have the opportunity to showcase the wonderful city of Cleveland to an international audience and to a responsible number of fans and visitors during the weekend,” said Dee and Jimmy Haslam, Managing and Principal Partners of the Cleveland Browns. “We greatly appreciate the continued collaboration by the NFL, local and state government officials and medical experts who are all focused on creating a memorable and safe experience and we are also extremely encouraged by the state of Ohio’s vaccination rates and advancements that are allowing us to make the progress needed to return to a safe and more normal environment.”