Inspiring fans from across the country will join the NFL in this year’s draft to share the stage and their stories of strength, resilience and love for football. This year, fans joining rounds 1, 2 and 3 come from organizations such as Make-A-Wish, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), the National Gay Flag Football League and more. These people will take the stage and announce the draft picks throughout the three-day celebration in Las Vegas in front of thousands of fans.
Day 3 of the draft will also include selections from international venues in Brazil, Germany, Mexico and the UK, including the Miami Dolphins of Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer statue, the New York Jets of The Shard in London and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Munich, site of the NFL’s first regular season game in Germany to be held this fall and feature the Buccaneers.
More details on all of the draft selections made by special guests in the first three rounds of the draft are detailed below:
DRAFT DAY 1 NFL DRAFT CHOICE
Sam Prince(Make a wish) —Pick 5, New York Giants: Make-A-Wish recipient Sam Prince will have his wish granted when he joins commissioner Roger Goodell in announcing his favorite team, the New York Giants, first round. Earlier today, Sam learned his wish would come true thanks to New York Giants legend Eli Manning. An ESPN crew was on hand to capture the big surprise in a feature film that will air as part of ESPN’s “My Wish” series in July. Sam, who has battled heart disease, received a heart transplant and is doing much better. Sam is from North Caldwell, NJ.
Young Local Football Players – Pick 15, Philadelphia Eagles: Six local high school student-athletes from Bishop Gorman, Clark, Green Valley, Liberty, Moapa Valley and Shadow Ridge will join Commissioner Goodellon’s stage to announce the Philadelphia Eagles’ first selection. There will also be six local high school student-athletes from Basic, Chaparral, Desert Oasis, Green Valley, Liberty and Spring Valley who will interact with NFL Prospects and receive first-hand insight into draft production as they compete in the delivery of their new prospect. Era Draft cap after selection.
DRAFT DAY 2 NFL DRAFT SPECIAL PICKS
Ben Lepper(Make a wish) —New England Patriots: Ben, a Make-A-Wish kid who beat leukemia will have his wish come true as he announces the New England Patriots’ second-round pick this year alongside the Patriots’ 2021 Walter Payton Man of the Year Lawrence Guy. Ben was diagnosed with leukemia in 2017, and the Patriots were part of what kept his spirits up. Ben was surprised by Patriots President and CEO Robert Kraft who told him he was the second draft pick this year. Ben is from Wellesley, MA.
The Gadden Family(Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors [TAPS]) —Atlanta Falcons: The NFL’s Salute to Service initiative aims to honor, empower and connect service members and military families. For this year’s draft, the NFL will highlight its partnership with TAPS, which provides compassionate care to anyone grieving the loss of a military loved one. This year, the Gadsdens, a Gold Star family, will join Commissioner Goodell on stage in Round 2 to help make the team selection. Draft Pick night, April 29, is the same date Second Lieutenant Gadsden was killed in Iraq.
Joel Horton, Shigeo Iwamiya and Jodie Turner(National Gay Flag Football League [ NGFFL]) —Arizona Cardinals: As part of the NFL’s ongoing work to embrace and uplift the LGBTQ+ community, representatives from the National Gay Flag Football League (NGFFL) will be the Cardinals’ pick. The NFL, the Cardinals and several other NFL teams support the NGFFL. Last year the Gay Bowl was held in Arizona. Joel serves on the board of directors of the National Gay Flag Football League, is a former commissioner of the Phoenix Gay Flag Football League, and plays for the Arizona Arsenal, one of the LGBTQ+ teams representing Phoenix. Shigeo is the current Commissioner of the National Gay Flag Football League and Jodie sits on the Board of the National Gay Flag Football League and is part of the winningest program in the Women’s+ Division and the NGFFL as a whole. The NGFFL supports LGBTQ+ flag football leagues in 22 cities across North America and continues to build strong relationships with many NFL teams across the country. NGFFL’s mission is to “foster and cultivate self-respect in all LGBTQ+ people and promote respect, acceptance, and understanding from the wider community.”
DRAFT DAY 3 NFL DRAFT SPECIAL CHOICE
John Banaszak, Rocky Bleier and James McCormick (Purple Heart Award Anniversary) —Washington Commanders_:_The NFL is proud to mark the 240th anniversary of the United States military decoration, the Purple Heart, awarded to those wounded or killed in action. The 240th draft pick honors and recognizes the sacrifices made by our brave women and men in service to our nation. The moment on stage for the 240th draft pick includes former NFL players who received the Purple Heart, Rocky Bleier and John Banaszak. As well as three-time Purple Heart recipient James McCormick.
Deanne Moyle-Hicks(College Football Playoff Foundation) —Los Angeles Chargers: Deanne Moyle-Hicks, 2022 Nevada State Teacher of the Year, is a nationally certified 4th grade teacher at Natchez Elementary School on the Pyramid Lake Paiute Reservation in the Washoe County School District. Her 29 years of experience in education have led her to champion the fact that every student deserves relevant and rigorous learning experiences designed and delivered by empowered teachers.
Samantha Aslin and Christine McCullough(Special Olympics) —Dallas Cowboys: Nevada Special Olympics athletes Samantha and Christine will be the Cowboys’ fourth-round picks in this year’s draft. Samantha has been a Special Olympics athlete for over 25 years and will compete in the 2022 US Games as a Nevada State Representative. Christine has been with Special Olympics Nevada for 27 years. She is involved in athletics, golf, bowling, basketball and flag football. Christine participated in the NFL PLAY 60 virtual event alongside the Las Vegas Raiders during 2020 NFL Draft Week, when the draft was held virtually, she will now be able to participate in person.
John Brunson(United Service Organizations [USO]) —Kansas City Chiefs: John Brunson is a retired E9 with 31 years of service to our country in the U.S. military, including three years in senior presidential transportation at the White House. John is now the lead driver for the NFL/USO Mobile Gaming Unit, which will travel to austere training locations across the United States and give military service members the opportunity to connect with their friends and their families through the game. The trailer makes its public debut at the 2022 NFL Draft Experience and will be a key feature for the USO’s 2022-2023 Madden League Salute to Service this fall. John is a huge Kansas City Chiefs fan.
Savannah Scott (Fuel up to play 60) —Carolina Panthers: Savanna is a Las Vegas native who is part of the Fuel Up to Play 60 program. Savanna likes that the program emphasizes leadership, good nutrition, and at least 60 minutes of activity a day; all the things she promotes in her school. Savanna is currently the student body president of her student council, and her love for nutrition inspired her to ask the Clark County School District to bring back strawberry milk. Savanna also covers the draft red carpet and interviews draft prospects once they’ve been drafted. Fuel Up to Play 60 is a school nutrition and physical activity program launched by Dairy Farmers America and the NFL to help encourage kids to lead healthier lives.
Gwen Jenkins(American Cancer Society [ACS]) —Philadelphia Eagles:Gwen Jenkins, mother of NFL legend and Eagles Super Bowl champion Malcolm Jenkins, will make the fifth-round club pick on behalf of the American Cancer Society. Gwen, a breast cancer survivor, is currently president of the NFL Professional Football Players Mothers Association and an advocate for early detection. She is currently training to become a CHA Health Equity Ambassador.
Kara L. Brumfield and Marshon Winter(Character booklet) —Las Vegas Raiders:Las Vegas Raiders – Kara L. Brumfield and Marshon Winter (Character Playbook): Kara and Marshon will represent the NFL and United Way’s Character Playbook program – created in conjunction with leading social impact education innovator, EVERFI – which teaches students, teachers, and districts real-world skills about healthy relationships, conflict resolution, and managing emotions. Kara is a 7th grade English teacher at Brian and Teri Cram Middle School in North Las Vegas and is a mentor for students with behavioral and academic challenges. Marshon is a sports and fitness instructor at Nevada Prep Charter School in Las Vegas. He is president of the NV Public Charter School Network Intervention for Black & Latino males.
Russell Black Jr.(Inspire Change)— San Francisco 49ers:Russell will represent Operation HOPE, a non-profit organization working to alleviate poverty and increase economic inclusion for low- and middle-income youth and adults. Operation HOPE, an NFL Inspire Change social justice partner, and the 49ers also partner locally with Operation HOPE. Russell has been a dedicated participant in Operation HOPE’s HOPE Small Business program for over a year, working alongside a financial wellness coach. Russell is the co-founder of On Melo’s Menu – a barbecue and personal catering business serving the greater Las Vegas area.
Ruben Cervantez(Wounded Warrior Project) —Los Angeles Rams:Ruben is a retired Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class and resident of Las Vegas. He served 10 years in the United States Navy before retiring due to injuries. He was deployed to Iraq and was stationed at Camp Pendleton Hospital, USS Milius DDG 69, Balboa Hospital San Diego, Commander Naval Surface Forces, Mcas Miramar and Hospital Naval Lemoore. Ruben is a huge Los Angeles Rams fan and Wounded Warrior Project has helped him bond and build friendships and get back into the community.
US ARMY ENROLLMENT CEREMONY: On Day 3 of the NFL Draft, the Department of Defense will hold a joint enlistment ceremony for ten future service members joining the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines. Major General Kevin Vereen, commanding general of the United States Army Recruiting Command, will preside over the 5-minute ceremony. The ceremony will take place at 10:30 a.m. on the Draft stage.