All eyes on Cleveland
Free football fan festival
Leave these things at home
Road closures and parking restrictions
Performances during the Draft
Who gets first pick?
What do you think will happen?
BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE
Other event highlights
What officials are saying about the Draft in Cleveland
Get ready, football fans! Cleveland is back in the national spotlight as the 2021 NFL Draft descends upon the city for three days of sports, live music and so much more. Which celebrities will be in town? What's the Draft Experience all about? How will traffic be impacted throughout Cleveland? We have all that and lots more in this extensive guide of everything you need to know about the 2021 NFL Draft in Cleveland.
THE EVENT: All eyes on Cleveland
When is the Draft?
- Thursday, April 29 at 8 p.m. EST
- Friday, April 30 at 7 p.m. EST
- Saturday, May 1 at noon EST
Where is the Draft taking place?
The main stage is in downtown Cleveland's North Coast Harbor, which sits in the shadows of FirstEnergy Stadium -- the home of the Cleveland Browns. It's from this centralized hub that the biggest action will take place, including announcements of Draft picks from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Great Lakes Science Center will also be hosting some of the NFL Draft festivities.
How can I watch?
3News held a special live Draft show starting at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 28 hosted by Jay Crawford, Dave "Dino" DeNatale and Ben Axelrod. We talked about everything from the first night of the Draft as it happened, including pick reaction and social media conversation. Watch it below:
Coverage of the Draft itself will be aired live on the NFL Network and ESPN.
Where can I follow live updates?
How can I buy tickets?
Tickets are now sold out.
What are the COVID-19 safety protocols?
We break down all the guidelines for you HERE.
DRAFT EXPERIENCE: Free football fan festival
Families and fans are invited to soak in the NFL Draft Experience, a three-day festival with various games, attractions and shopping held in the parking lots of FirstEnergy Stadium -- and it won't cost you a dime because admission is free.
Reservations, however, are required through the NFL OnePass app. Adults can reserve tickets for up to two adults and five children per transaction "to ensure we host as many fans as possible." Officials anticipate as many as 50,000 people will participate in the NFL Draft Experience each day.
The timeslots are as follows (fans are limited to one spot during the three days):
- Noon-4 p.m.
- 4-7 p.m.
- 7-10 p.m. (or end of first round)
- Noon-4 p.m.
- 4-7 p.m.
- 7-10 p.m. (or end of third round)
- 9 a.m.-Noon
- Noon-3 p.m.
- 3-6 p.m. (or end of seventh and final round)
Face coverings, which will be strictly enforced, are required for all guests ages 2 and older.
"Masks with valves or vents are not permitted," officials say. "Face shields may not be worn in lieu of a face covering... Masks are required at entry and within the Draft Experience except when actively eating and drinking in a designated concessions zone."
Officials say the NFL Draft Experience has the capacity to host 50,000 people per day.
See a list of games and attractions at the Draft Experience HERE.
RESTRICTED ITEMS: Leave these things at home
Heading to the Draft? First, you should know that smoking is prohibited at the event and the NFL's clear bag policy will also be in effect. Due to increased security, here's the lengthy list of restricted items that are not permitted at the Draft.
Below is a map of the "prohibited items zone" where guests will be screened and the items listed above will be restricted:
TRAFFIC IMPACT: Road closures and parking restrictions
The city of Cleveland has revealed number of road closures and parking restrictions in effect throughout the city for the duration of the NFL Draft. Explore the map below to see the downtown traffic restrictions:
City officials say parking is also restricted in the following areas from 6:30 a.m. April 29 until 4 a.m. May 2:
- East/West border: East 12th Street to Old River Road
- North/South border: Chester Avenue to Lakeside Avenue
If you're coming to Cleveland, it's advised to arrive early because city officials anticipate parking lots and garages may fill quickly.
Watch the player below for more on the traffic impact throughout downtown Cleveland:
LIVE MUSIC: Performances during the Draft
It's not all about football during the three-day event. A handful of performers will also be taking the stage. Here's the schedule so far:
- Kings of Leon: Thursday, April 29 at 7:40 p.m. Pre-Draft performance.
- Ann Wilson: The Heart lead singer will perform the National Anthem ahead of the Draft.
- Black Pumas: Friday, April 30 around 11 p.m. Performance will take place at the conclusion of Round 3
- Machine Gun Kelly: Saturday, May 1 around 6:30 p.m. Performance will take place at the conclusion of Round 7.
Editor's note: Video in the player above was originally published on Oct. 15, 2020.
DRAFT LINEUP: Who gets first pick?
Who gets first pick in this year's draft? Where does your favorite team fall in the draft order?
When the Jacksonville Jaguars made the first pick in round one, it was no surprise they selected quarterback Trevor Lawrence of Clemson.
The Cleveland Browns -- who had the 26th pick of the night -- chose to bring Northwestern cornerback Greg Newsome II to the team.
Here's the full lineup of the first round's pick order:
- Jacksonville Jaguars
- New York Jets
- San Francisco 49ers
- Atlanta Falcons
- Cincinnati Bengals
- Miami Dolphins
- Detroit Lions
- Carolina Panthers
- Denver Broncos
- Dallas Cowboys
- New York Giants
- Philadelphia Eagles
- Los Angeles Chargers
- Minnesota Vikings
- New England Patriots
- Arizona Cardinals
- Las Vegas Raiders
- Miami Dolphins
- Washington Football Team
- Chicago Bears
- Indianapolis Colts
- Tennessee Titans
- New York Jets
- Pittsburgh Steelers
- Jacksonville Jaguars
- Cleveland Browns
- Baltimore Ravens
- New Orleans Saints
- Green Bay Packers
- Buffalo Bills
- Kansas City Chiefs
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
CLICK HERE to see the draft order for all seven rounds.
MOCK DRAFT: What do you think will happen?
NOTE: This section was published BEFORE the first round of the Draft was held.
Drum roll, please... The first pick in the 2021 NFL Draft in Cleveland will be... Trevor Lawrence, a quarterback from Clemson. That's the prediction 3News' Ben Axelrod is making in this mock draft.
"This pick has been set in stone since the 2020 season ended," Axelrod says. "Urban Meyer begins his NFL coaching career by drafting arguably the top quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck in 2012."
But what about the Cleveland Browns? Axelrod is suggesting the team takes Asante Samuel Jr., a cornerback from Florida State.
"Thus far, the Browns have spent most of free agency focused on defense and that trend could continue into the Draft," Axelrod says. "The son of a four-time Pro Bowl selection, Asante Samuel Jr.' possesses both the athleticism and versatility typically coveted by Cleveland's front office."
BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE: Other event highlights
This fundraising effort is being done to "support pandemic recovery, especially in our communities that have lacked significant resources."
Starting April 29, you can DONATE HERE to help benefit the following organizations:
- Feeding America
- Mental Health America
- CDC Foundation
- The Education Trust
A Draft-A-Thon live stream will also be held starting at 8 p.m. April 29. Hosted by Kay Adams, the live fundraising effort will feature athletes and entertainers on the NFL's social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
Draft's lasting impact on Northeast Ohio
"From local efforts to fight hunger, to youth football events and character-building initiatives, to community greening projects, the NFL will leave a lasting, positive legacy in Cleveland and throughout Ohio – especially after a year that has been trying for so many in our country," organizers said in a press release.
The Draft-A-Thon will feature multiple events that are designed to give back to the community.
"Kicking off the week, the NFL is partnering with the Greater Cleveland Food Bank to fight food insecurity, where the NFL will make a $35,000 donation and hand out NFL-themed items to those coming to receive fresh produce and shelf-stable food."
The events also include tree restoration at Big Creek Reservation, field refurbishment at Shaw High School Stadium, virtual community events and more.
Read the full schedule of community Draft week events HERE.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's football focus
Since football is coming to the home of rock 'n' roll, it's no surprise the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is launching a new Super Bowl Halftime Show exhibit just in time for the Draft.
The new feature will open to the public starting April 23 and will remain on display through September 2021.
Exhibit highlights include:
- The Weeknd's "mirror infinity room" from this year's Super Bowl 55 halftime show in Tampa.
- Bono's flag-lined jacket from U2’s 2002 performance, which marked the first Super Bowl halftime show after September 11, 2001.
- Prince’s turquoise suit from his purple-rained performance in 2007.
- Katy Perry’s beach-ball inspired costume and the viral sensation “Left Shark” from her 2015 performance.
- Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer's drumhead from the band's 2001 performance, which marked the first time ever in a Super Bowl Halftime Show that fans stood on the field around the stage.
'100 Yards of Hope' documentary
Lights! Camera! Action! NFL Green is set to premiere a new 100 Yards of Hope documentary virtually in partnership with the Greater Cleveland Aquarium at 10 a.m. Tuesday, April 27.
"The film features the work of FORCE BLUE, a team of retired Special Operations military divers dedicated to saving America’s only barrier coral reef," officials explain. "NFL Green teamed up with FORCE BLUE, scientists, natural resource managers and NFL partners who came together to save a portion of the reef off the coast of Miami and lay the groundwork for future coral restoration worldwide."
Register HERE to watch the movie virtually.
WARM WELCOME: What officials are saying about the Draft in Cleveland
Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson
"Cleveland welcomes the 2021 NFL Draft to our city. Residents and visitors from around the world will experience Cleveland's hospitality and see why our city continues to be a destination of choice for large-scale events. We look forward to working with the Cleveland Browns, the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission, the NFL and our other partners to execute a safe, successful event in accordance with health and safety guidelines.”
Dee and Jimmy Haslam, owners of the Cleveland Browns
"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. 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.”
Peter O’Reilly, NFL Executive Vice President, Club Business and League Events
"We are thrilled to be heading to Cleveland for the NFL Draft, which has become one of the most highly anticipated events in sports. 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."
David Gilbert, President and CEO of the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission
"We are looking forward to officially being on the clock in Cleveland for what has become one of the most-anticipated sports and entertainment events of the year. While we know this event will look different than in the past, we are thrilled about what the NFL Draft will mean to our community coming out of this pandemic. It will showcase Cleveland's beauty and resilience to a large audience, both safely in-person and worldwide."