The NFL Draft could be held in Las Vegas soon; ranking NFL draft cities for '19, '20
Denver, Kansas City, Cleveland/Canton, Nashville and Vegas are finalists for the 2019, 2020 NFL Drafts
The NFL Draft has evolved past what anyone expected, becoming an annual spectacle on the biggest stage for the league, and has even moved out past its initial locale, spreading from New York City into other cities. First it was Chicago, then last year the draft was held in Philadelphia and the 2018 NFL Draft will be in Dallas.
Las Vegas could even be on the horizon soon, as Sin City was one five finalists for both the 2019 and 2020 NFL Draft, along with a host of other AFC cities.
Cleveland/Canton, Vegas, Denver, Kansas City and Nashville are the five finalists for the drafts in those two years and the winners will be announced at the spring league meeting, which takes place May 21-23 in Atlanta.
The draft was held in New York from 1965 through 2014, when it moved to Chicago for two years (2015-2016) and then hopped to Philly and next to Dallas.
The energy in Philadelphia last year was absolutely notable and the enthusiasm from the city really made the draft exactly the kind of spectacle the NFL wants it to be on an annual basis. Plus there's the fact the Eagles won the Super Bowl, so obviously the draft was good luck.
A winning city cannot host both drafts, which means we will see two new cities selected to host the draft. Let's rank them in the order we want to see them happen, noting that all of these cities are wonderful and that we hope the NFL eventually puts a draft in each city.
Seriously: it's a very appealing list for very different reasons. You could really go No. 1 for me and then T-2 for the other four.
1. Las Vegas
Come on. The easy choice. And if this goes off well, it could end up being a city that gets into the rotation for the draft on a permanent basis. Do we need to break down why Vegas is awesome, outside of IT'S LAS VEGAS? There are a few downsides to Vegas, though, and I would almost guarantee the draft isn't held there in 2019. Why? Because gambling is still not legal at Bushwood. Picture a 19-year-old first-round prospect leaned up against a roulette table, smiling for some promotional material he got paid to do by some casino.
Also, the Raiders aren't actually expected to be in Vegas until 2020 at this point, so it simply might make more sense to hold off on hosting it here. The NFL is making it clear over the last few years that gambling is creeping its way into legality, even if the league is going to hold its nose higher/longer than the other sports leagues about the whole issue. The NFL selecting Vegas for its "welcome to football" event for young players in either 2019 or 2020 would be the surest sign yet that the dam on legalized gambling is going to break soon. It would also be incredibly fun and pretty insane from Thursday through Saturday of the draft event.
The Broncos have been itching to land this event for a while now, and the city of Denver, in late spring, would offer a TON of cool stuff to showcase over the course of the four days with prospects in town. People in Colorado are passionate about their football, much like people in Philadelphia, and would show out in a big way. If this happens, someone needs to set up a Candid Camera situation at the various dispensaries around the city and have Roger Goodell jump out of the bushes whenever a prospect leaves carrying a package of any sort.
Take the youngsters from college football and drop them off in the Bachelorette Party Capital of the World and see what happens! Nashville is fairly low key compared to the other cities that have hosted the draft in years past and it's not like the city will be teeming with Titans fans at every corner the way Philly is with Eagles fans. But there would be a unique country music feel to this event, and it would be pretty hilarious to see a bunch of draft prospects trying on cowboy boots and line dancing. Or something.
4. Kansas City
Chiefs fans are lunatics too, so it would be cool to see how they show out for a draft situation. There is also the added bonus of having an offensive line vs. defensive line situation where various draft prospects square off to see who can eat the most ribs in a single sitting. Not that there isn't much more to do outside the barbecue!
This feels disrespectful to the home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but can you imagine being a top prospective draft pick and thinking you might get to stand under the lights of Radio City Music Hall in the epicenter of America's biggest city and then all of a sudden you're in ... Cleveland?? No offense, Cleveland. There's a lot the NFL could do that would be cool with the HOF itself, and it would be pretty appealing to have someone in Canton introducing the draft picks. Easy bonus joke: the Browns are pretty likely to have the top pick whatever year this happens.
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