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.

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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.

1937Hotel LincolnNew York
1938Hotel ShermanChicago
1939Hotel New YorkerNew York
1940Schroeder HotelMilwaukee
1941Willard HotelWashington, D.C.
1942-44Palmer HouseChicago
1945-47Hotel CommodoreNew York
1948Hotel Fort PittPittsburgh
1949-50Bellevue-Stratford HotelPhiladelphia
1951Blackstone HotelChicago
1952Hotel StatlerNew York
1953-54Bellevue-Stratford HotelPhiladelphia
1955Warwick HotelNew York
1956Bellevue-Stratford Hotel (Rounds 1-3)Philadelphia
Ambassador Hotel (Rounds 4-30)Los Angeles
1957Warwick Hotel (Rounds 1-4)Philadelphia
Bellevue-Stratford Hotel (Rounds 5-30)Philadelphia
1958-61Warwick HotelPhiladelphia
1962-64Sheraton HotelChicago
1965-66Summit HotelNew York
1967Hotel GothamNew York
1968-71Belmont Plaza HotelNew York
1972Essex HouseNew York
1973-74Americana HotelNew York
1975Hilton HotelNew York
1976-78Roosevelt HotelNew York
1979WaldorfNew York
1980-83Sheraton HotelNew York
1984-85Omni Park Central HotelNew York
1986-94Marriott MarquisNew York
1995-04Theatre at Madison Square GardenNew York
2005Jacob Javits Convention CenterNew York
2006-14Radio City Music HallNew York
2015-16Auditorium Theatre at Roosevelt UniversityChicago
2017Benjamin Franklin ParkwayPhiladelphia
2018AT&T StadiumDallas​
2019Lower BroadwayNashville
2020Caesar’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.

DayRoundsStart time
ThursdayRound 18 p.m. ET
FridayRounds 2-37 p.m. ET
SaturdayRounds 4-7Noon 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 on NFL Network and ESPN, although the exact breakdown has yet to be determined. Last year, 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. 

RoundDayStart timeTV channels
Round 1Thursday8 p.m. ETNFL Network, ESPN TBD
Rounds 2-3Friday7 p.m. ETNFL Network, ESPN TBD
Rounds 4-7Saturday12 p.m. ETNFL Network, ESPN TBD

MORE: What channel is NFL Network?

NFL Draft pick order 2020

Pick No.TeamRecord
1.Jacksonville Jaguars1-15
2.New York Jets2-14
3.Miami Dolphins(via Texans, 4-12)
4.Atlanta Falcons4-12
5.Cincinnati Bengals4-11-1
6.Philadelphia Eagles4-11-1
7.Detroit Lions5-11
8.Carolina Panthers5-11
9.Denver Broncos5-11
10.Dallas Cowboys6-10
11.New York Giants6-10
12.San Francisco 49ers6-10
13.Los Angeles Chargers7-9
14.Minnesota Vikings7-9
15.New England Patriots7-9
16.Arizona Cardinals8-8
17.Las Vegas Raiders8-8
18.Miami Dolphins10-6
19.Washington Football Team7-9
20.Chicago Bears8-8
21.Indianapolis Colts11-5
22.Tennessee Titans11-5
23.New York Jets(via Seahawks, 12-4)
24.Pittsburgh Steelers12-4
25.Jacksonville Jaguars(via Rams, 10-6)
26.Cleveland Browns11-5
27.Baltimore Ravens11-5
28.New Orleans Saints12-4
29.Green Bay Packers13-3
30.Buffalo Bills13-3

(The teams slotted in Pick Nos. 31-32 are in the Super Bowl.)

SN’s latest mock draft

PickTeamPlayer, position, college
1.Jacksonville JaguarsTrevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
2.New York JetsDevonta Smith, WR, Alabama
3.Miami DolphinsPenei Sewell, OT, Oregon
4.Atlanta FalconsJustin Fields, QB, Ohio State
5.Cincinnati BengalsJa’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
6.Philadelphia EaglesPatrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
7.Detroit LionsMicah Parsons, ILB, Penn State
8.Carolina PanthersZach Wilson, QB, BYU
9.Denver BroncosKwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan
10.Dallas CowboysCaleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
11.New York GiantsJaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
12.San Francisco 49ersTrey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
13.Los Angeles ChargersChristian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
14.Minnesota VikingsGregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami
15.New England PatriotsKyle Pitts, TE, Florida
16.Arizona CardinalsAlijah Vera-Tucker, G, USC
17.Las Vegas RaidersChristian Barmore, DT, Alabama
18.Miami DolphinsJeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
19.Washington Football TeamMac Jones, QB, Alabama
20.Chicago BearsRashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
21.Indianapolis ColtsJalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan
22.Tennessee TitansJoseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas
23.New York JetsJaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
24.Pittsburgh SteelersKyle Trask, QB, Florida
25.Jacksonville JaguarsRashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
26.Cleveland BrownsAzeez Ojulari, OLB, Georgia
27.Baltimore RavensTerrace Marshall Jr., WR, LSU
28.New Orleans SaintsZaven Collins, OLB, Tulsa
29.Green Bay PackersKadarius Toney, WR, Florida
30.Buffalo BillsWyatt Davis, G, Ohio State