NFL draft: Las Vegas weather could affect Round 1 setup, but ‘the show will go on’

Two years ago, Las Vegas lost a chance to host the NFL draft when COVID-19 swept around the country, turning it into a one-off virtual event.

Vegas will be the host for the 2022 draft, which kicks off with Thursday night’s Round 1 in Sin City, but natural phenomena are once again creating potential challenges for the league.

There is no threat of the NFL draft being canceled or delayed, and this time COVID is not the acute concern — weather is.

According to early forecasts, wind could be something of an issue while the draft gets underway. Although some projections call for the wind intensity to peak in the hours prior to Round 1 at 8 p.m. ET, it could reach upward of 25 mph.

The draft — much of what you’ll see on TV — will take place outdoors in the heart of Vegas’ world-famous Strip, with the league’s Draft Experience and Draft Theater located behind the High Roller and The LINQ, just adjacent to Caesars Forum.

People look on as workers erect a stage during setup for the NFL draft Tuesday, April 26, 2022, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Thousands of fans are expected to attend the outdoor event, along with the ESPN and NFL Network broadcast stages and the 21 prospects expected to be there.

April is typically the windiest month in Las Vegas. And if the winds kick up to dangerous levels, a league spokesman indicated that there is a contingency plan to move parts of it indoors if needed.

“We always have contingency plans. The show will go on,” the NFL’s Brian McCarthy wrote to Yahoo Sports in an email Thursday morning. “We have the Caesars Forum, which is connected to the outside draft theater, in case announcements of picks need to be made from there. The inner workings of the draft are there, including the media workroom and press conference rooms.”

For more on the setup of Round 1, plus the remainder of the draft (which runs through Saturday), here are some of the details for what you can expect and how you can watch the event.

Whether it’s outdoors, as planned, or indoors in case of emergency.