/How to watch the 2021 NFL Draft, starting with tonight’s first-round picks

How to watch the 2021 NFL Draft, starting with tonight’s first-round picks

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  • The 2021 NFL Draft kicks off on Thursday, April 29 at 8 p.m. ET with the Jaguars making the first pick.
  • ABC, ESPN, and NFL Network will broadcast the draft through cable and live TV streaming services.
  • Sling TV is the cheapest option to stream the NFL Draft — new members can get their first month for $10.

The 2021 NFL Draft is nearly underway with first-round picks scheduled to start at 8 p.m. ET on April 29. More than 200 players will be selected during the annual event, which will last for seven rounds through May 1. ESPN, ABC, and the NFL Network will broadcast the 2021 NFL Draft live all three days.

For fans, there’s hope that these new draft picks will have a lasting impact on their team’s future. Several of the draft’s top picks are expected to be spent on quarterbacks, including Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson of BYU, and Justin Fields from Ohio State University. Offensive talent like tight end Kyle Pitts and wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase will also be highly sought after, and multiple teams have already traded picks for better draft positioning.

While the draft’s first-round picks are given their own night, the rest of the draft is important for NFL teams to fill out their roster with fresh talent. ABC, ESPN, and the NFL Network have committed to airing all three days of the draft from start to finish; you can also follow the draft results at NFL.com or via the NFL app.

The 2021 NFL Draft kicks off on April 29 at 8 p.m. ET with round one. Rounds two and three will air on April 30 at 7 p.m. ET. NFL Draft coverage will conclude with rounds four through seven on May 1, starting at 12 p.m. ET.

You can watch the 2021 NFL draft live through the NFL Network, ABC, or ESPN via cable, satellite, or live streaming services with access to those channels.

The draft will also be available to stream live through the NFL, ABC, or ESPN apps on connected devices. That said, you’ll still need an authenticated pay-TV account in order to watch on those apps.  

If you don’t have a cable subscription, you can still watch the draft live through several streaming services with access to one or more of the participating networks. These services include FuboTV, Sling TV, Hulu + Live TV, and YouTube TV

New customers can sign up for a free seven-day trial of Hulu + Live TV or FuboTV to watch the entire draft without having to commit to a full subscription.

For those who do want to commit to a subscription, Sling TV offers the most affordable option to watch the draft through its Blue (includes NFL Network) or Orange (includes ESPN) streaming plans. These plans cost $35 a month, but you can get your first month for just $10 if you sign up now. You can read more about the Sling service in our full Sling TV guide.

Where will the 2021 NFL Draft take place, and can fans attend?

The 2021 NFL Draft will be held in Cleveland, Ohio, at FirstEnergy Stadium, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and the Great Lakes Science Center. The NFL announced that 50,000 fans will be able to attend the draft campus each day. Much of the draft campus, red carpet, and theater will be staged outdoors, and fans will be required to wear masks.

Will players and teams attend the 2021 NFL Draft in person?

Thirteen players have been pre-selected to attend the draft and greet NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in person when they’re chosen. Another 45 players expecting to be drafted will participate in the event virtually.

Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the NFL to conduct the entire draft remotely, giving fans an opportunity to see the homes of players and team officials. This year, teams will have access to their standard draft rooms to make their selections, so don’t expect to see coaches and general managers with their families. 

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence is projected as the first overall pick in the NFL draft based on multiple reports from NFL insiders and his outstanding performance in college. Lawrence has already been participating with local Jacksonville charities ahead of the Jaguars’ first pick, which almost guarantees the team has told Lawrence he’ll be spending his rookie season there.

Reporters at Pro Football Focus say the New York Jets are similarly committed to selecting former BYU quarterback Zach Wilson with the second pick in the draft, and the team recently traded 2020 starter Sam Darnold to pave the way for a new quarterback next season.

The San Francisco 49ers traded for the third pick and are expected to take a quarterback as well. Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields was a highly regarded prospect but the 49ers’ preference for another quarterback may see him fall out of the early picks.

Check out Insider’s latest mock draft for a full guide to this year’s projected first-round picks.

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