NFL plans “large, live, in-person” draft

Wild Card Round - Cleveland Browns v Pittsburgh Steelers
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After last year’s NFL draft went all-virtual because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s draft will return to having a large crowd.

Ben Fischer of Sports Business Journal reports that the NFL is planning a primarily outdoor draft in Cleveland from April 29 to May 1 that will feature the top prospects in attendance and fans — required to wear masks — on the scene.

“We have been characterizing it as a ‘large, live, in-person event,” Greater Cleveland Sports Commission CEO David Gilbert said, with a crowd described as “the largest event in this city in many years, certainly since the [2016] Republican Convention.”

NFL teams will conduct their draft business at team facilities, rather than having coaches and GMs working from home, as they did for last year’s draft.

The NFL says it will use the draft to promote vaccines. About a quarter of Ohio adults have already received at least one shot, and on March 29 all Ohio adults will become eligible, meaning that by the time the draft rolls around, a large percentage of those in attendance should be vaccinated.