Inspirational fans from around the country will join the NFL at this year’s draft to share the stage and their stories of strength, resilience and love of football. This year, fans joining Round 1, Round 2 and Round 3 come from organizations such as Make-A-Wish, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), the National Gay Flag Football League and more. These individuals will take the stage and announce Draft picks throughout the three-day celebration in Las Vegas in front of thousands of fans.
Day 3 of the Draft will also include picks from international locations in Brazil, Germany, Mexico and the UK including the Miami Dolphins from Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer statue, the New York Jets from The Shard in London, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from Munich, site of the first NFL regular-season game in Germany which will take place this fall and feature the Buccaneers.
More details on all Draft selections made by special guests throughout the first three rounds of the Draft are detailed below:
DRAFT DAY 1 NFL DRAFT PICKS
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 to announce his favorite team, the New York Giants, Round 1 pick. Earlier today, Sam learned that his wish would come true from New York Giants legend Eli Manning. An ESPN crew was on-hand to capture the big surprise for a feature that will air as part of the ESPN “My Wish” series in July. Sam, who has battled a heart condition, received a heart transplant and is doing much better. Sam is from North Caldwell, NJ.
Local Youth 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 stage to announce the Philadelphia Eagles round one 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 a firsthand look at the Draft production as they participate in handing the prospect their New Era Draft cap upon being selected.
DRAFT DAY 2 NFL DRAFT SPECIAL PICKS
Ben Lepper(Make-A-Wish) —New England Patriots:Ben, a Make-A-Wish child who has overcome leukemia will see his wish come to fruition as he announces the New England Patriots’ second-round pick this year alongside 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 Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft who told him he was making this year’s Round 2 Draft Pick. Ben is from Wellesley, MA.
The Gadsden Family(Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors [TAPS]†Atlanta Falcons: The NFL’s Salute to Service initiative looks to honor, empower and connect service members and military families. For this year’s Draft, the NFL will highlight its partnership with TAPS, which offers compassionate care to all those grieving the loss of a military loved one. This year, the Gadsden’s, a Gold Star family, will join Commissioner Goodell on stage in Round 2 to help make the team’s selection. The night of the Draft Pick, April 29, is the same date that 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 make the Cardinals pick. The NFL, the Cardinals, and several other NFL teams support the NGFFL. Last year, the Gay Bowl took place in Arizona. Joel serves on the National Gay Flag Football League Board of Directors, is a former commissioner for the Phoenix Gay Flag Football League, and plays on the Arizona Arsenal, one of the LGBTQ+ teams representing Phoenix. Shigeo is the current commissioner of the National Gay Flag Football League and Jodie serves on the National Gay Flag Football League Board of Directors and is part of the winningest program in the Women’s+ Division and the overall NGFFL. The NGFFL supports LGBTQ+ Flag Football Leagues in 22 cities across North America and continues to build strong connections with many NFL teams across the country. The NGFFL’s mission is to “foster and cultivate the self-respect of all LGBTQ+ people and promote respect, acceptance, and understanding from the larger community.”
DRAFT DAY 3 NFL DRAFT SPECIAL PICKS
John Banaszak, Rocky Bleier, and James McCormick †Purple Heart Award Anniversary) —Washington Commanders_: _The NFL is proud to recognize the 240th Anniversary of the United States military decoration, the Purple Heart, awarded to those wounded or killed while serving in combat. The 240th Draft Pick honors and recognizes the sacrifices made by our brave women and men while in service to our nation. The onstage moment for the 240th Draft pick includes former NFL players who have 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, Nevada’s 2022 State Teacher of the Year, is a Nationally Board Certified, 4th-grade teacher at Natchez Elementary School on the Pyramid Lake Paiute Reservation in the Washoe County School District. Her 29 years of educational experience have led her to advocate that every student deserves relevant and rigorous learning experiences designed and implemented by empowered teachers.
Samantha Aslin and Christine McCullough(Special Olympics) —Dallas Cowboys: Special Olympics Nevada athletes, Samantha and Christine will make the Cowboys Round 4 Pick at this year’s Draft. Samantha has been a Special Olympics athlete for more than 25 years and she will compete in the 2022 USA Games representing the State of Nevada. Christine has been part of Special Olympics Nevada for 27 years. She is involved in track and field, golf, bowling, basketball, and flag football. Christine participated in the NFL PLAY 60 Virtual Event alongside the Las Vegas Raiders during the 2020 NFL Draft Week when the Draft was held virtually, now she will 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 US Army, including three years in senior management of Presidential transportation at the White House. John now serves as a lead driver of the NFL/USO gaming mobile unit, which will travel to austere training locations across the United States and give military service members an opportunity to connect with their friends and family through gaming. The trailer is making its public debut at the 2022 NFL Draft Experience and will be a key asset to the USO’s 2022-2023 Salute to Service Madden League this fall. John is a huge Kansas City Chiefs fan.
Savanna 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 things that she promotes at her school. Savanna is currently the Student Body President of her Student Council and her love for nutrition inspired her to petition Clark County School District to bring back Strawberry Milk. Savanna is also covering the Draft red carpet and interviewing the Draft prospects once they have been drafted. Fuel Up to Play 60 is an in-school nutrition and physical activity program launched by America’s Dairy Farmers 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 club’s Round 5 Pick on behalf of the American Cancer Society. Gwen, a breast cancer survivor, is currently the President of the NFL Professional Football Players Mothers Association and an advocate for early detection. She is currently training to become an ACS health equity ambassador.
Kara L. Brumfield and Marshon Winter(Character Playbook) —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 collaboration 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 to students who have behavioral and academic challenges. Marshon is a sports and fitness teacher at Nevada Prep Charter School in Las Vegas who serves as Chairman for 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 nonprofit organization working to disrupt poverty and empower economic inclusion for low and moderate-income youth and adults. Operation HOPE an NFL Inspire Change social justice partner, and the 49ers partner locally with Operation HOPE as well. Russell has been a dedicated participant in Operation HOPE’s HOPE Small Business Program for over a year, working alongside a financial well-being coach. Russell is the co-founder of On Melo’s Menu – a BBQ and personal catering company serving the greater Las Vegas area.
Ruben Cervantez(Wounded Warrior Project) —Los Angeles Rams†Ruben is a medically retired Hospital Corpsman 2nd class and a local in Las Vegas. He served 10 years in the US 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 Naval hospital Lemoore. Ruben is a huge Los Angeles Rams fan and Wounded Warrior Project has helped him to create bonds and friendships and get back out into the community.
US MILITARY ENLISTMENT 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. maj. Gene. Kevin Vereen, commanding general of the United States Army Recruiting Command, will preside over the 5-minute ceremony. The ceremony will occur at 10:30 am on the Draft stage.