The 2021 NFL draft will have plenty of big-name prospects on the scene in Cleveland to hear their names called, even though the event’s marquee player won’t be on hand.
On Wednesday, the NFL revealed the list of 10 first-round hopefuls who have accepted invites to attend this year’s event: Alabama quarterback Mac Jones, North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance, LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith, Florida tight end Kyle Pitts, Alabama defensive tackle Christian Barmore, Miami (Fla.) defensive end Gregory Rousseau, Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons, Virginia Tech cornerback Caleb Farley and Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain II.
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Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, widely projected to be the No. 1 pick, declined an invitation and instead will watch the event at his school with family and friends, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported.
Also missing from the initial list were BYU quarterback Zach Wilson, who has been linked to the New York Jets with the No. 2 selection, and Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, who could be in consideration alongside Jones and Lance to be the San Francisco 49ers’ pick at No. 3. It was not clear when additional names would be released or how many would join the first group of 10.
In March, the NFL announced it would hold the event in Cleveland after the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the league to conduct it virtually in 2020. The draft, which runs from April 29-May 1, will require fans in attendance to wear masks.