Even during a pandemic, tens of thousands of visitors are expected for what is sure to be one heck of a party!
CLEVELAND — The moment has finally arrived.
The 2021 NFL Draft has made its way to Cleveland, with tens of thousands of fans pouring into the lakefront to see who their teams will select this year. Even during a pandemic, hotels and businesses are bustling for what is sure to be one heck of a party.
This marks the first time in two years spectators will be allowed to attend the draft, after COVID-19 forced last year’s event to go all-remote. The league is allowing fully vaccinated people directly into the area with the main draft stage, while others can still take part in spectacles such as the NFL Draft Experience festival as well as other attractions throughout downtown Cleveland. Some health restrictions are also being relaxed as more people get vaccinated, per CDC recommendations.
As for the draft itself, there isn’t a lot of drama surrounding the first overall pick, with the Jacksonville Jaguars expected to take decorated Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. After that, though, things could get interesting, especially when it comes to the remaining QBs on the board.
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We’ll have live, up-to-the-minute coverage for you throughout the weekend, with updates on both football as well as the atmosphere. Scroll below to see what’s happening now!
10:01 p.m. – The Los Angeles Chargers Northwestern tackle Rashawn Slater with the 13th overall pick. The Chargers seem like they’re “feelin’ lucky” with the pick:
9:51 p.m. – The Cleveland Browns are clearly not used to picking so late in round one. They seem to be waiting around:
9:50 p.m. – After trading back from the 10th to the 12th pick, the Dallas Cowboys select Penn State LB Micah Parsons to supplement their defense. Parsons opted out of the 2020 season.
9:43 p.m. – Buckeye Justin Fields is heading to Chicago. The Bears have traded up to pick Fields, the fourth quarterback off the board. Just last week, the former Buckeye announced he was battling epilepsy.
9:39 p.m. – The second trade of the night, the New York Giants give up their 11th overall pick to the Chicago Bears. The Giants move back to pick 20.
9:35 p.m. – The Eagles trade up to take the third wide receiver, and second Alabama player, 2020 Hiesman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith.
9:31 p.m. – The Philadelphia Eagles have swapped picks with the Dallas Cowboys to move up to 10th overall. The Cowboys will now pick 12th overall. The Cowboys also pick up a third round pick.
9:25 p.m. – The second consecutive corner back comes off the draft board after the Denver Broncos select Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II
9:17 p.m. – Jaycee Horn becomes the first defensive player off the board. Horn is the son of former New Orleans Saints WR Joe Horn.
9:11 p.m. – The Detroit Lions take the first non-skill position player in Oregon’s Penei Sewell. The first seven picks have all been offensive players.
9:04 p.m. – The Miami Dolphins take Jaylin Waddle, WR from Alabama with the sixth overall pick. Waddle is the third player from the SEC off the board.
9:00 p.m. – People seem to be leaving the draft area early tonight, many seemingly Browns fans. The Browns still don’t pick for at least 17 picks.
8:57 p.m. – The first Ohio pick in the draft is in, and the first wide receiver is off the board! The Cincinnati Bengals take LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase, who will have the chance to reunite with his former QB Joe Burrow.
8:49 p.m. – The Atlanta Falcons select Florida TE Kyle Pitts with the fourth overall pick. Pitts caught 12 touchdowns for the Gators in 2020.
8:41 p.m. – Many considered the 49ers’ selection at number three overall the first true question mark coming into tonight’s draft. The 49ers take the third quarterback off the board in North Dakota State’s Trey Lance.
8:33 p.m. – For the second time in two years, the New York Jets have selected a quarterback with their first pick. This time they go with BYU quarterback Zach Wilson. The Jets will look to Wilson to lead them to the future after trading QB Sam Darnold earlier this month.
8:25 p.m. – Nearly a foregone conclusion, the Jacksonville Jaguars have selected Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence with the number one overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Lawrence is home celebrating with his family. You can read more on Jacksonville’s newest player here.
8:15 p.m. – The 2021 NFL Draft is officially open, with NFL commissioner receiving the traditional “boos” from the crowd. The Jacksonville Jaguars are on the clock.
8:13 p.m. – Three Cleveland Browns joined NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on stage to open the draft – QB Bernie Kosar, C Joe Thomas and WR Jarvis Landry. Goodell had to pause during his introduction to let a “Bernie” chant run its course.
Joe Thomas leads a “Here we go Brownies” chant to kick things off.
6:16 p.m. – NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has arrived at the draft stage ahead of night one.
5:15 p.m. – Rain may impact the number of fans downtown for night one of the NFL draft. Destination Cleveland has predicted around 50,000 people down town per night for the event. But, as consumer reporter Danielle Serino found out. Thursday hasn’t been a total washout.
4:48 p.m. – According to reports, three-time NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers is looking to move on from Green Bay. The news was first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, and later confirmed by CBS Sports. Earlier today Schefter also reported that the San Francisco 49ers called the Packers Wednesday night in an effort to trade for Rodgers. Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst has said the team remains committed to Rodgers.
4:39 p.m. – Check out some of the sights and sounds from the NFL Draft Experience!
Day 1: Inside the 2021 NFL Draft experience
1:52 p.m. – After a couple days of warm weather, temperatures have dropped a bit in Cleveland, and rain has also been falling on and off. Forecasters hope things will clear up by draft time.
11:18 a.m. – The hometown team began celebrating a little early, as Browns general manager Andrew Berry and his wife Brittan welcomed their daughter Eden! It’s the couple’s third child.