The first night of the National Football League’s annual draught event drew a total of 12.6 million viewers across three networks, including ESPN and ABC.
It didn’t quite match the all-time high of 15.5 million viewers set last year, but it was up 11% from the previous year’s draught (11.4 million).
The all-time high prior to last year was 12.4 million viewers in 2014. Thanks to Covid-19, the 2020 NFL Draft was held entirely online.
With the first overall selection in 2021, the Jacksonville Jaguars selected ex-Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, while the New York Jets selected BYU quarterback Zach Wilson.
In total, five quarterbacks and 18 offensive players were picked in the first round. It’s the most since 2009, when teams selected 19 offensive players.
This year’s draught was held on public grounds in Cleveland, and it was a live event. A vaccinated Roger Gooddell greeted the drafted players, and the NFL commissioner was joined on stage by one fan for each selection.
The NFL Draft will be held in Las Vegas in 2022. The draught was supposed to take place in the city last April, but it was canceled due to the pandemic.
Rounds two and three of the 2021 draught will be held on Friday.
The final three rounds (four through seven) will take place on Saturday. The draught will be shown on Disney’s ABC and ESPN, as well as the NFL Network, which is owned by the league.
- 2021 NFL Draft: Gregory Shamus | Getty Images Sport | Getty Images