Cleveland hosts NFL draft


Photo submitted by Megan Rumsey

English teacher Megan Rumsey captures a moment at the NFL draft in Cleveland May 1 with her husband, Jeff Rumsey, and the Browns and Steelers mascots.

For three days (April 29 – May 1), Cleveland was the football capital of the world as the 2021 NFL Draft took place downtown just off the Lake Erie shore. 

Tens of thousands of fans from all over made the trip for not only the draft, but everything else surrounding the event. 

The NFL draft took place across iconic downtown Cleveland locations, including FirstEnergy Stadium, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the Great Lakes Science Center. The NFL Draft Experience featured a variety of events, including participatory games and clinics on the field, virtual autograph sessions with NFL players, personalized digital photos and even photo opportunities with the Vince LombardTrophy.

English Teacher Megan Rumsey attended the event. “We mostly walked around trying to see everything we could,” she said.

Her favorite part had to be seeing everything that was on display, she said.We went to the exhibit where every Super Bowl ring was on display….so I got to see all six of the Steelers Super Bowl rings!”

Though that may pain Cleveland Browns fans to hear, some of SHS’ Brownies attended the draft as well, including counselor Ira Campbell. “Being downtown was a very unique and fun experience,” he said. “Cleveland did a great job of hosting and I thought it really highlighted the city and all of it’s qualities very well…There was just a very positive energy.”

This was the first time since the NFL draft began 85 years ago, that the draft was held here in Cleveland. Aside from the featured activities, the draft was filled with star-studded talent. 

The Jacksonville Jaguars started off the draft with no surprise as they selected Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Lawrence is a generational talent at the quarterback position, and with former Ohio State coach Urban Meyer now at the helm, the two college household names look to turn that Jaguars franchise around. 

The New York Jets followed with their selection of Brigham Young University’s (BYU) quarterback Zach Wilson. Wilson has drawn comparisons to one Patrick Mahomes, who currently is the best quarterback in the NFL. The real mystery was what the San Francisco 49ers were going to do after trading up to get the third overall pick from the Miami Dolphins.

The world got the answer to the biggest question of the draft, with the 49ers selecting North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance.

Aside from the top three selections, the draft was filled with talent throughout. 

Senior Mason Kamlowsky designed this poster for AJ Rose Jr., whose draft party Kamlowsky attended. Kamlowsky works as a graphic designer for Overtime Sports, Rose’s management agency. (photo by Mason Kamlowsky)

Senior Mason Kamlowsky, whose graphic design work has connected him with athletes at all levels, attended the draft party of former Kentucky running back AJ Rose.

“It was a great experience.” Kamlowksy said. “Meeting Rose and spending time with him on such an important day, it was surreal.”

Rose went undrafted but was picked up by the Minnesota Vikings shortly after the draft. 

“I’m excited to see him perform at the next level,” Kamlowsky said.

AJ Rose Jr. signs a poster created by senior Mason Kamlowsky at a draft party held for Rose last month. (Mason Kamlowsky)

Aside from the talent around the league, the hometown Cleveland Browns arguably had the best draft of any team in the NFL. 

It was apparent to fans after last season that the Browns needed help on the defensive side of the ball, especially with covering the pass.  

Grabbing a premier corner in Greg Newsome II, and a playmaking linebacker in Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, the Browns have addressed that emphatically in this draft.

Campbell said he loved the Browns’ top picks. “It seems like the Browns did very well. There were positions of need but also what appears to be a top prospect at the point they were drafting. I really like the second round pick (Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah).”

On the offensive side of the ball, the highlight has to be wide receiver out of Auburn, Anthony Schwartz. Cleveland desperately needed a player like Schwartz last season, especially after Odell Beckham Jr went down with a knee injury. Schwartz needs to refine some things in his game, but he can fly and will give the Browns yet another element offensively. 

No one is sure when Cleveland will host this event again, but hosting a major event like the NFL Draft has the potential to impact on tourism for the entire region that will stretch all the way to Canton, which holds the Pro Football Hall of Fame

An event like this sets the stage for the next major event next spring when Cleveland hosts the NBA All-Star game. The 2022 NBA All-Star Game will be played February 20, 2022. It will be the 71st edition of the event.