The 2021 NFL Draft may have learned some fun lessons from its 2020 counterpart.
The 2020 edition was forced to be virtual for the first time, leading to views of head coaches in living rooms with their kids and raw excitement from draftees sitting at their home being taken into the NFL. It probably gave the league plenty of ideas of how to spice up the proceedings in 2021 with COVID-19 not totally out of the way.
The 2021 NFL Draft is slated to take place in Cleveland for the first time ever, but finalization of location likely won’t come until closer to the end of April draft start. There will also be a first on the television side for the 2021 NFL Draft — it will be broadcast exclusively by NFL Network.
Here’s everything you need to know about the 2021 NFL Draft, including the time, location, television schedule, draft order and the latest mock draft from Sporting News.
When is the NFL Draft in 2021?
- Date: Thursday, April 29 (Round 1) | Friday, April 30 (Rounds 2-3) | Saturday, May 1 (Rounds 4-7)
- Start time: 8 p.m. ET (Thursday) | 7 p.m. ET (Friday) | Noon ET (Saturday)
- TV channel: NFL Network
- Live stream: NFL app
As the NFL has done for a while now, the draft will be split into three distinct days. Only the first round will take place on Thursday, April 29. The second and third rounds will take place on Friday night, and then the final four rounds of the draft will be conducted Saturday.
After the 2020 NFL Draft was conducted in a heavily virtual manner due to COVID-19, it hasn’t yet been determined exactly how much of the draft will take place in the host city in 2021.
Where is the 2021 NFL Draft?
The 2021 NFL Draft is slated to take place in Cleveland, Ohio. That decision was made on May 22, 2019, at the league’s annual spring meeting.
More specifics about Cleveland’s hosting have yet to be totally announced in 2021 with the COVID-19 pandemic still hovering over the heads of decision-makers. Depending on the effectiveness of vaccines leading up to the draft, there could be a central hub in Cleveland while many of the draftees remain virtual, but that remains to be seen.
Below are the previous locations of the NFL Draft.
|1937||Hotel Lincoln||New York|
|1939||Hotel New Yorker||New York|
|1941||Willard Hotel||Washington, D.C.|
|1945-47||Hotel Commodore||New York|
|1948||Hotel Fort Pitt||Pittsburgh|
|1952||Hotel Statler||New York|
|1955||Warwick Hotel||New York|
|1956||Bellevue-Stratford Hotel (Rounds 1-3)||Philadelphia|
|||Ambassador Hotel (Rounds 4-30)||Los Angeles|
|1957||Warwick Hotel (Rounds 1-4)||Philadelphia|
|||Bellevue-Stratford Hotel (Rounds 5-30)||Philadelphia|
|1965-66||Summit Hotel||New York|
|1967||Hotel Gotham||New York|
|1968-71||Belmont Plaza Hotel||New York|
|1972||Essex House||New York|
|1973-74||Americana Hotel||New York|
|1975||Hilton Hotel||New York|
|1976-78||Roosevelt Hotel||New York|
|1980-83||Sheraton Hotel||New York|
|1984-85||Omni Park Central Hotel||New York|
|1986-94||Marriott Marquis||New York|
|1995-04||Theatre at Madison Square Garden||New York|
|2005||Jacob Javits Convention Center||New York|
|2006-14||Radio City Music Hall||New York|
|2015-16||Auditorium Theatre at Roosevelt University||Chicago|
|2017||Benjamin Franklin Parkway||Philadelphia|
|2020||Caesar’s Palace Hotel (held virtually)||Las Vegas|
What time does the NFL Draft start?
The NFL could still choose to deviate from its past standard times for health and safety reasons, but the 2021 NFL Draft will likely start at the same times the drafts in recent years have.
That means prime time slots for each of the first three rounds. The first round on Thursday, April 29, gets going at 8 p.m. ET. Things start an hour earlier the next day to fit in both the second and third rounds. And Saturday’s four rounds get underway at Noon ET.
|Thursday||Round 1||8 p.m. ET|
|Friday||Rounds 2-3||7 p.m. ET|
|Saturday||Rounds 4-7||Noon ET|
As the draft goes on, teams get different lengths of time to make their selections. The first round provides 10 minutes to teams to pick, and that drops to seven minutes for rounds two and three. Rounds four through six have five minute pick times, and it’s four minutes for the seventh and final round.
NFL Draft TV schedule
The 2021 NFL Draft will be shown exclusively on NFL Network. That’s a change from last year, when ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC were all involved in the draft coverage.
Most cable and satellite providers offer NFL Network as part of their base package, as do most streaming services.
|Round||Day||Start time||TV channels|
|Round 1||Thursday||8 p.m. ET||NFL Network|
|Rounds 2-3||Friday||7 p.m. ET||NFL Network|
|Rounds 4-7||Saturday||12 p.m. ET||NFL Network|
NFL Draft pick order 2020
|2.||New York Jets||2-14|
|3.||Miami Dolphins||(via Texans, 4-12)|
|11.||New York Giants||6-10|
|12.||San Francisco 49ers||6-10|
|13.||Los Angeles Chargers||7-9|
|15.||New England Patriots||7-9|
|17.||Las Vegas Raiders||8-8|
|19.||Washington Football Team||7-9|
|23.||New York Jets||(via Seahawks, 12-4)|
|25.||Jacksonville Jaguars||(via Rams, 10-6)|
|28.||New Orleans Saints||12-4|
|29.||Green Bay Packers||13-3|
(The teams slotted in Pick Nos. 31-32 are in the Super Bowl.)
SN’s latest mock draft
|Pick||Team||Player, position, college|
|1.||Jacksonville Jaguars||Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson|
|2.||New York Jets||Devonta Smith, WR, Alabama|
|3.||Miami Dolphins||Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon|
|4.||Atlanta Falcons||Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State|
|5.||Cincinnati Bengals||Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU|
|6.||Philadelphia Eagles||Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama|
|7.||Detroit Lions||Micah Parsons, ILB, Penn State|
|8.||Carolina Panthers||Zach Wilson, QB, BYU|
|9.||Denver Broncos||Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan|
|10.||Dallas Cowboys||Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech|
|11.||New York Giants||Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama|
|12.||San Francisco 49ers||Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State|
|13.||Los Angeles Chargers||Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech|
|14.||Minnesota Vikings||Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami|
|15.||New England Patriots||Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida|
|16.||Arizona Cardinals||Alijah Vera-Tucker, G, USC|
|17.||Las Vegas Raiders||Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama|
|18.||Miami Dolphins||Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame|
|19.||Washington Football Team||Mac Jones, QB, Alabama|
|20.||Chicago Bears||Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern|
|21.||Indianapolis Colts||Jalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan|
|22.||Tennessee Titans||Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas|
|23.||New York Jets||Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina|
|24.||Pittsburgh Steelers||Kyle Trask, QB, Florida|
|25.||Jacksonville Jaguars||Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota|
|26.||Cleveland Browns||Azeez Ojulari, OLB, Georgia|
|27.||Baltimore Ravens||Terrace Marshall Jr., WR, LSU|
|28.||New Orleans Saints||Zaven Collins, OLB, Tulsa|
|29.||Green Bay Packers||Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida|
|30.||Buffalo Bills||Wyatt Davis, G, Ohio State|