NFL names five finalist cities to host 2019 and 2020 draft weekends

On Thursday, the NFL declared five locales as finalists to host the 2019 and 2020 drafts: Cleveland/Canton, Ohio, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Denver and Nashville, Tenn.

Two cities will each get one draft; one city cannot get both.

Final bids are due to the NFL in April, and the winners are expected to be announced in May, at the league’s spring meeting.

“It’s a competitive process, and we’re excited to move one step closer to bringing the NFL Draft to Denver,” Broncos president and CEO Joe Ellis said in a statement. “Working alongside VISIT DENVER and the Denver Sports Commission, we’re confident that Denver would be a tremendous host to showcase the draft and the NFL in a great football environment.”

The NFL Draft roadshow will continue, with the league naming five finalist cities on Thursday to host the 2019 and 2020 drafts. (AP)

Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk told the team website, “We are thrilled that Nashville is one of the finalist cities for the 2019 or 2020 NFL Draft. We are so proud of Nashville and all that it has to offer. This city has a number of unique qualities to showcase and of course it knows how to put on a show. We look forward to making that case to the NFL owners in May.”

While Cleveland/Canton may be a surprise pick, fans in northeast Ohio love the draft: Cleveland has delivered the highest ratings for the NFL draft each of the last four years. And the area is big in the history of football – not only is it home to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the American Professional Football Association, a precursor to the NFL, was born in Canton in 1920.

The Oakland Raiders are slated to move to Las Vegas in a year or two, and given the city’s draw as a tourist attraction, it makes sense to have the draft there. However, it’s worth wondering if the NFL will bring a few dozen 21- and 22-year-old draftees to Las Vegas to celebrate in one of the biggest weekends of their young lives.

After being held in New York City for 50 years, the NFL decided to take the draft on the road in 2015, with Chicago holding the event in 2015 and 2016. Last year, it was in Philadelphia.

This year’s draft will be held April 26-28 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.