ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — In 10 days, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will walk to the podium in Cleveland, Ohio, to declare that the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft is officially underway.
Goodell will announce each of the first-round picks on Thursday night, as the NFL Draft will be held in person after being completed virtually in 2020. Goodell would announce the Broncos' selection with the ninth-overall pick, assuming the team holds onto its current pick. If Denver trades up or back in Round 1, Goodell would still announce the pick.
On Day 2, however, the Broncos will be represented in Cleveland by Ring of Famer and Director of Community Outreach Billy Thompson. The former defensive back is scheduled to announce Denver's selections. The team is currently slated to make the 40th-overall and 71st-overall picks.
In recent years, the NFL has made an effort to involve teams' former great players in the draft announcement process. In 2019, the last time the NFL held an in-person draft, former linebacker Al Wilson and Ring of Fame linebacker Karl Mecklenburg announced the team's Round 2 picks.
The biggest change in the way picks are announced will come on Day 3, as the team executives will largely announce their selections from their respective facilities.
General Manager George Paton, President of Football Operations John Elway, Head Coach Vic Fangio and Fan Development Manager Steve Atwater will announce Day 3 selections. Atwater has announced multiple draft picks for the Broncos in past years; In 2018, he read the card when the Broncos selected wide receiver Courtland Sutton with the 40th-overall pick. Denver is slated to make six picks on Day 3, one per round in Rounds 4-6 and three selections in Round 7.
Denver will have one of its Day 3 picks announced by Wounded Warrior Barry Pettit of Brookfield, Ohio. Pettit will represent Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) in announcing the pick. Pettit was a Combat Engineer who served 13 years in the U.S. Army. Pettit was injured in Iraq, which led him to retire. He became part of WWP in 2014 to reconnect with fellow warriors.
The Broncos have worked with Wounded Warrior Project on multiple occasions in recent years. The team hosted a virtual visit with eight Broncos players and WWP veterans from across Colorado and beyond in 2018. Nose tackle Mike Purcell also represented Wounded Warrior Project for the past two seasons for My Cause, My Cleats. He auctioned his cleats in both seasons to raise nearly $2,000 for Wounded Warrior Project.
The Broncos' Fan of the Year nominee is also slated to announce a Day 3 pick.
The 2021 NFL Draft is slated for April 29-May 1.