How to Watch the NFL Draft Live For Free to See Every 1st Round Pick


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With football season just a few months away, fans across the country are turning their attention to the NFL Draft to see which new players will end up on their favorite teams. As always, you can tune into the draft as it happens in real time—but those wondering if there’s a way to do it without breaking the bank are also in luck. Up ahead, we’re sharing how to watch the NFL Draft live for free, so you don’t have to miss a single one of this year’s new recruits.

The NFL Draft is an annual event where teams select eligible college football players to join their rosters, a process that can shape the future of the game for years to come. This year, the excitement unfolds in Detroit, Michigan, taking place in the city’s downtown area surrounding Campus Martius Park and Hart Plaza.

To qualify for the NFL Draft, players have to deliver standout performances at the collegiate level, often making the leap to the pros after their junior year. Among the top contenders in this year’s draft class is Caleb Williams, a dynamic USC quarterback known for his arm and playmaking ability, and Marvin Harrison Jr., the towering wide receiver from Ohio State, poised to follow in his Hall of Fame father’s footsteps. Sports analysts are also keeping an eye on Drake Maye, the North Carolina quarterback whose arm talent has placed him in the first-round conversation.

Now, as the countdown to draft day continues, football fans everywhere are getting antsy to find out who will be in the next generation of gridiron greats taking their first steps onto the NFL stage. Luckily, the wait is nearly over—and you’ll want to be prepared for the broadcast. So, whether you bleed the colors of your favorite team or simply want to revel in the excitement over football’s future, read on ahead for our tips on how to watch the NFL Draft live for free even without a cable subscription.

Image: Perry Knotts/Getty Images.

When is the 2024 NFL Draft?

This year’s NFL Draft begins with first round coverage taking place on Thursday, April 25 at 8:00 p.m. ET. The first three rounds of the NFL Draft will have two different broadcast options, airing simultaneously on ESPN and ABC.

Per a press release, ESPN’s coverage will focus on “areas of need for each team, the draftee’s football resume—with highlights and analysis on his playing style, technique and physical attributes—and how he will fit in with the team that drafted him,” whereas ABC’s coverage will offer “player analysis with a deeper emphasis on storytelling, providing viewers insight into the draftee’s background and journey to the NFL.” See up ahead for the full NFL Draft schedule.

How to watch the NFL Draft live for free

The NFL Draft will be aired nationally on ESPN and ABC, which are available to stream on services like DirecTV Stream, Fubo, Sling, and Hulu+ With Live TV. DirecTV Stream offers a five-day free trial, starting at $79.99 per month after the trial ends and includes ESPN and ABC. Fubo offers a seven-day free trial, starts at $74.99 per month after the trial ends, and also includes ESPN and ABC.

Sling and Hulu+ With Live TV don’t have free trials, however, they are cheaper per month than the other options. Sling costs $20 for your first month and offers options that include ESPN (and ABC in select markets). Hulu+ With Live TV starts at $75.99 per month and also includes ESPN and ABC to watch the NFL Draft live for free.

Image: David Becker/Getty Images.

Best Overall Pick to watch the NFL Draft: Direct TV Stream’s Free Trial

Direct TV is our best overall pick to watch the NFL Draft live for free for its free trial, price and channel selection. Direct TV Stream offers a five-day free trial. DirecTV offers four plans: Entertainment, which costs $79.99 per month; Choice, which costs $108.99 per month with the first 2 months at $83.99 per month; Ultimate, which costs $119.99 per month with the first 2 months at $94.99 per month; and Premiere, which costs $174.99 per month. ESPN and ABC are available on all four plans.

As for other differences between the plans, Entertainment includes more than 75 channels, the ability to stream on unlimited devices in your home, unlimited cloud DVR storage, and a special offer on premium channels. Choice, which is the most popular plan, includes more than 105 channels, regional sports networks, and everything included in Entertainment. Ultimate includes more than 140 channels and everything included in Entertainment and Choice. Premiere includes more than 150 channels including premium channels like HBO and Starz and everything included in Entertainment, Choice, and Premiere. Read on for step-by-step instructions on how to watch the NFL Draft live for free with DirecTV Stream’s free trial. 

  1. Visit streamtv.directv.com‘s packages page
  2. Click “Try It Free” for the plan of your choice
  3. Enter your information and payment method
  4. Search for ESPN or ABC and start watching the NFL Draft!

Best Free Trial Pick to watch the NFL Draft: Fubo’s Free Trial

Fubo is our best free trial pick to watch the NFL Draft live for free. Fubo offers a seven-day free trial (two days longer than DirecTV Stream) and offers three plans: Pro, which costs $79.99 per month; Elite, which costs $89.99 per month; and Premier, which costs $99.99 per month. ESPN and ABC are available on all three plans.

As for the difference between the plans, Pro includes 180 channels, 1,000 hours of Cloud DVR, and the ability to watch on up to 10 screens at once. Elite includes everything in Pro, as well as a total of 256 channels and 4K resolution. Ultimate includes everything in Pro and Elite, as well as a total of 299 channels, Showtime, and Red Zone NFL Network. Read on for step-by-step instructions on how to watch the NFL Draft live for free with Fubo’s free trial. 

  1. Visit Fubo.TV
  2. Click “Start Free Trial”
  3. Enter your information and payment method
  4. Search for ESPN or ABC and start watching the NFL Draft!

Best Budget Pick to watch the NFL Draft: Sling TV

Sling TV is our best budget pick to watch the NFL Draft based on its price and current deals. Sling has two plans offering ESPN: Sling Orange and Sling Orange + Blue. Sling Orange starts at $40 per month and Sling Orange + Blue costs $60 per month

As for the difference between the plans, Sling Orange includes 32 channels and the ability to stream on one device at a time, while Sling Orange + Blue includes 46 channels and the ability to stream on three devices at the same time. Read on for step-by-step instructions on how to watch the NFL Draft live for free with Sling.

  1. Visit Sling.com
  2. Click “Try Us Today”
  3. Create an account
  4. Choose your plan
  5. Enter your information and payment method
  6. Search for ESPN and start watching the NFL Draft!

Best Upgrade Pick to watch the NFL Draft: Hulu+ Live TV

Hulu+ With Live TV is our best upgrade pick to watch the NFL Draft based on its channel selection and its free subscriptions to Hulu, Disney Plus, and ESPN Plus. Hulu+ With Live TV offers four plans: a $75.99 per month plan with access to only live TV; a $76.99 per month plan with free subscriptions to Hulu with ads, Disney Plus with ads, and ESPN Plus with ads; a $81.99 per month plan with free subscriptions to Hulu with ads, Disney Plus with no ads, and ESPN Plus with ads; and a $89.99 per month plan with free subscriptions to Hulu with no ads, Disney Plus with no ads, and ESPN Plus with ads. ESPN and ABC are included on all four plans. Read on for step-by-step instructions on how to watch the NFL Draft with Hulu+ Live TV.

  1. Visit Hulu.com/liveTV
  2. Click “Sign Up Now”
  3. Enter your information and payment method
  4. Search for ESPN or ABC and start watching the NFL Draft!
Image: Perry Knotts/Getty Images.

What is the 2024 NFL Draft schedule?

Event Date Time Channel
NFL Draft Countdown Thursday, April 25, 2024 7:00 p.m. ET ESPN
NFL Draft Round 1 Thursday, April 25, 2024 8:00 p.m. ET ESPN, ABC
NFL Draft Countdown Friday, April 26, 2024 6:00 p.m. ET ESPN
NFL Draft Rounds 2-3 Friday, April 26, 2024 8:00 p.m. ET ESPN, ABC
NFL Draft Rounds 4-7 Saturday, April 27, 2024 12:00 p.m. ET ESPN, ABC

How does the NFL draft work?

The NFL Draft is an annual event where NFL teams select college football players to join their rosters. To make things more competitive, the draft order is determined by the previous season’s standings, with the team finishing last getting the first pick and the Super Bowl champion picking last in each round. That said, teams can trade their picks, which can often alter the draft order.

The draft consists of seven rounds, with each team having one pick per round. However, extra picks are also awarded to teams that have lost more free agents than they acquired in the previous year’s free agency period, and these picks are typically awarded at the end of rounds three through seven. During the draft, teams have a limited amount of time to make their selections, with the time limit decreasing as draft weekend goes on. The draft typically lasts for three days, with the first round held on a Thursday night, followed by the second and third rounds on Friday, and the remaining rounds on Saturday. 

Players are eligible for the NFL Draft if they’ve been out of high school for at least three years or if they’ve declared themselves eligible before using up their college eligibility. Once a player is selected in the draft, the team that picks them gains exclusive rights to negotiate a contract with that player. 

Where is the 2024 NFL Draft taking place?

The 2024 NFL Draft will take place in Detroit, Michigan. The event will be held around Campus Martius Park and Hart Plaza in the city’s downtown area.

What is the NFL Draft order for 2024?

The top five picks for the 2024 NFL Draft belong to the following teams:

  1. Chicago Bears
  2. Washington Commanders
  3. New England Patriots
  4. Arizona Cardinals
  5. Los Angeles Chargers

Who are the top NFL draft prospects?

Each year’s NFL Draft picks are influenced by team needs, potential trades, and player talent, but sports analysts often have a good idea of the players we can likely expect to see in the first round of the draft. For the 2024 NFL Draft, these are the players that NBC Sports projected as first round draft picks.

Quarterbacks:

  • Caleb Williams (USC)
  • Drake Maye (North Carolina)

Wide Receivers:

  • Marvin Harrison Jr. (Ohio State)
  • Malik Nabers (LSU)
  • Rome Odunze (Washington)

Offensive Tackles:

  • Olu Fashanu (Penn State)
  • Joe Alt (Notre Dame)
  • Tallies Fuaga (Oregon State)

Tight End:

Edge Rushers:

  • Laiatu Latu (UCLA)
  • Jared Verse (Florida State)
  • Dallas Turner (Alabama)

Defensive Lineman:

  • Jer’Zhan Newton (Illinois)

Cornerbacks:

  • Nate Wiggins (Clemson)
  • Coope DeJean (Iowa)

The 2024 NFL Draft will air on ESPN and ABC beginning on Thursday, April 25, 2024. 

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