Miami Lakes, Fla. – Eight players hosted by the Capital One Orange Bowl were selected in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, including four in the top 10 and seven in the top 20. The Orange Bowl has now hosted 321 players who went on to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. 


The 2021 NFL Draft is taking place April 29 - May 1 at locations across downtown Cleveland, Ohio. 

The University of Alabama led all recent Orange Bowl participating teams with six players drafted in the first round. The Crimson Tide’s six selections tied an all-time record for most first round picks in a single year with the 2004 Miami Hurricanes, another Orange Bowl participating team.

Alabama receiver Jaylen Waddle was the second-highest selected Orange Bowl alum (No. 6, Miami Dolphins). As a true freshman in 2018, Waddle was third in receiving for the Crimson Tide (behind current NFL sophomores Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III) with 45 receptions for 848 yards and seven touchdowns in a season highlighted by Alabama's defeat of Oklahoma in the 2018 College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Capital One Orange Bowl. Other members of Alabama's Capital One Orange Bowl team selected in yesterday’s NFL Draft were defensive back Patrick Surtain II, a South Florida native (No. 9, Denver Broncos), wide receiver DeVonta Smith (No. 10, Philadelphia Eagles), quarterback Mac Jones (No. 15, New England Patriots), offensive lineman Alex Leatherwood (No. 17, Las Vegas Raiders) and running back Najee Harris (No. 24, Pittsburgh Steelers).

Florida tight end Kyle Pitts was the first Capital One Orange Bowl alum to be taken off the board (No. 4, Atlanta Falcons), becoming the highest-selected tight end in NFL Draft history. In 2019, Pitts led the Gators with 54 receptions for 649 yards and five touchdowns in a season capped by Florida's fifth appearance in a game hosted by the Orange Bowl. In 2020, Pitts earned AP first-team All-American honors and won the John Mackey Award as the nation’s top tight end. He was also the first tight end to be named a Fred Biletnikoff Award (top wide receiver) finalist after catching 43 passes for 770 yards and 12 touchdowns. Florida wide receiver Kadarius Toney was also selected in the first round (No. 20, New York Giants).

The 2021 College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Capital One Orange Bowl will be played on Dec. 31 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. and will feature either No. 1 vs. No. 4 or No. 2 vs. No. 3 as ranked by the College Football Playoff Selection Committee.

About the Orange Bowl
The Orange Bowl is a 380-member, primarily-volunteer non-profit sports organization that promotes and serves the South Florida community. With its primary mission since being created in 1935 to bring tourism to South Florida through an annual football game and events, it has also maintained a legacy of charitable contributions and community outreach. Orange Bowl community outreach efforts are comprised of four pillars: youth sports, fundraising and community events, academic programs and scholarships, and legacy gifts. The Orange Bowl features a year-round schedule of events culminating with the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Capital One Orange Bowl on Dec. 31, 2021. For more information on the 2021 Orange Bowl events, including promotional inquiries and volunteer opportunities through the Ambassador Program presented by Panera Bread, log on to orangebowl.org or follow @OrangeBowl on social media.


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