NEW YORK – The NFL Draft provides an exciting opportunity for inspirational fans from around the world to get involved with their favorite team by announcing selections from the Draft stage and remotely. This year, fans joining Round 1, Round 2, and Round 3 come from organizations such as Make-A-Wish, Pat Tillman Foundation (PTF), Big Brothers Big Sisters, and more. These individuals will take the stage and announce Draft picks throughout the three-day celebration in Kansas City in front of thousands of fans.
The first round of the Draft will also feature a remote pick from Ramstein Air Base in Germany with the U.S. Air Force and United Service Organizations (USO), an NFL Salute to Service partner.
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
Christopher (“Big”) and Shane (“Little”) (Big Brothers Big Sisters Kansas City ) – Pick 8, Atlanta Falcons: Volunteer mentor Christopher and mentee,16 year-old Shane, were matched over four years ago through Big Brothers Big Sisters Kansas City. After losing his father to brain cancer, Shane formed an unbreakable bond with Christopher, who became a positive role model and mentor in his life. Through shared experiences at sporting events, holiday celebrations, key life moments, and beyond, Shane and Christopher created a mentoring relationship to last a lifetime. Big Brothers Big Sisters of America is a longstanding partner of the NFL’s Inspire Change initiative, supporting BBBS agencies across the country as they create mentoring relationships that empower youth to reach their full potential and help communities connect across racial and economic divides.
Kyle Stickles (Make-A-Wish) – Pick 13, New York Jets: Make-A-Wish recipient Kyle Stickles will have his wish granted when he joins Commissioner Goodell on the NFL Draft stage to make his favorite team, the New York Jets’ first pick. Kyle was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, bone cancer, in his left tibia in 2020. He received chemotherapy until June 2021 and after a lot of hard work and physical therapy, he has been able to walk again. Kyle is from Ghent, New York.
Local Youth Football Players – Pick 20, Seattle Seahawks: Six local high school student-athletes from North Kansas City, Leavenworth, Lee’s Summit West, Park Hill, Center, and Bishop Miege High Schools will join Commissioner Goodell on stage to announce the Seattle Seahawks round one selection. There will also be seven local high school student-athletes from Bishop Miege, Liberty North, Mill Valley, Platte County, Raytown, and Lee’s Summit High Schools 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
The Deghand Family (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors [TAPS]) Kansas City Chiefs – The Deghand family, a Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) family will announce the Kansas City Chiefs’ Round 3 pick and honor Master Sgt. Bernard Deghand, a member of the Kansas Army National Guard, who was killed in action while serving in Afghanistan in 2006. Deghand was a trainer for the Afghan Army, teaching mechanized infantry tactics using armored personnel carriers. For his service, he received many awards and decorations including the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Bronze Star, and the Purple Heart. He also had a tremendous love for the Kansas City Chiefs and was a longtime season ticket holder who passed the Chiefs fandom to his entire family.
Colonel (Retired) Lynn Rolf, Jr. (Veterans of Foreign Wars) – Cincinnati Bengals: To honor Vietnam Veterans across America during the 50th anniversary of the ending of U.S. combat involvement in Vietnam, Col. (Ret) Lynn Rolf, Jr., a 31-year veteran of the U.S. Army and 33-year member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), will announce Pick 92. Colonel Rolf graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1970. During his career, he deployed to Vietnam as a Recon Platoon Leader from 1971-1972 with the 23rd Infantry Division. Following his active-duty service, he continued serving as an Army Civilian for another 15 years. A vital part of the VFW for 33 years, Colonel Rolf has dedicated much of his life to advocating for veterans and their families, with a focus on the Vietnam War generation. This pick is also a nod to the local and veteran community as the VFW national headquarters are in Kansas City, highlighting Vietnam Veterans across the nation during the NFL Draft.
DRAFT DAY 3 NFL DRAFT SPECIAL PICKS
Nicole Matos and Madison Wilson (City Year – NFL Inspire Change) – Kansas City Chiefs: Nicole, originally from New Jersey, came to Kansas City in 2022 to serve with City Year Kansas City and came back this year as a Team Leader. Madison serves as a City Year AmeriCorps member supporting students at Central Middle School to meet their full potential. City Year is one of the NFL’s Inspire Change social justice grant recipients. City Year AmeriCorps members serve full-time in systemically under-resourced schools providing students with tutoring and in-class support, after-school programming, as well as organizing school-wide initiatives to increase academic achievement and student engagement.
Jeff Humburg and Emily Montgomery (Character Playbook) – Miami Dolphins: Teachers: Jeff is a PE/Health teacher of 28 years at Platte City Middle School in Platte City, Missouri. He is also currently the PCMS National Junior Honor Society sponsor, Wellness Ambassador, and football coach at Platte County High School. Emily is a Careers & Computer Science teacher at Central Middle School in Kansas City, Kansas. Emily moved back to Kansas after serving as a Business teacher and JAG Career Specialist in Nebraska. She is a certified lifeguard with the American Red Cross and volunteers for Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Technical Sergeant Miranda-Navarro (United Service Organizations [USO]) – Chicago Bears: Nominee: Technical Sergeant Miranda-Navarro (442d Fighter Wing – Whiteman Air Force Base) has been in the Air Force for over six years, all with the 442nd CES and worked with the active duty 509th CES. He received his United States citizenship at the end of Basic Military Training (BMT). He is a single dad of three daughters who all enjoy attending sporting events together.
Craig Palm (Wounded Warrior Project® [WWP]) – Arizona Cardinals: Craig enlisted in 1999 as an infantryman and was stationed in Fort Riley, KS. Craig had tours in Kuwait, Qatar, Germany, Turkey, and Iraq throughout his 18 years of service on active and reserve (including Army, Air Force, and National Guard). In his free time, Craig loves spending time with his family, traveling, barbequing, golfing, and playing billiards. Craig has been involved with WWP since 2016. The organization’s Physical Health and Wellness programs, peer support groups, and alumni events help him remain active after service.
Josh Alters and Richard Scott (Special Olympics) – Minnesota Vikings: Richard has participated as a multi-sport athlete with Special Olympics Missouri for over 28 years. Over the years, he has competed in many sports including flag football. In 1999, Richard was selected to represent the USA in tennis at the 1999 Special Olympics World Games in North Carolina. In addition, he was chosen to represent Missouri in Unified golf at the 2010 Special Olympics National Games in Nebraska. Last year, Richard and his Unified flag football team represented Missouri at the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games in Orlando, Florida, where they won the bronze medal.
Josh is from Topeka, Kansas, and has been a Special Olympics Kansas athlete for the last 38 years. Josh has also competed in many sports including flag football and track and field. He was selected to compete in the first-ever USA National Games held in Ames, Iowa in 2006 as a swimmer where he came home with a gold medal in the 50-meter freestyle. Josh also competed at the 2022 USA Games in Orlando as a bocce athlete and again, came home with gold medals in bocce singles and for his 4-person mixed bocce team. Josh has been an Athlete Spokesperson for Special Olympics Kansas since 2012 and has been trained in all of the Athlete Leadership curriculums offered by Special Olympics North America. He was selected to the Special Olympics Kansas Athlete Hall of Fame in 2018 and in August of 2022, Josh was hired by Special Olympics Kansas as the Inclusive Leadership Coordinator.
Ava Palmer (GENYOUth – NFL PLAY 60) – Carolina Panthers: Ava is GENYOUth’s NFL Play 60 representative. She is 12 years old and currently attends East Trails Middle School in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. Ava enjoys leading an active and healthy lifestyle by spending time with her family, riding her bike and playing disc golf. Ava was part of NFL PLAY 60 programming at her elementary school and part of a nutrition council for several years representing Sunset Valley Elementary.
Robert Short (Dream on 3 Foundation) – Tennessee Titans: Robert is 16 years old from Charlotte North Carolina, who has always had a passion for football and the Tennessee Titans. Though his Down syndrome has posed specific challenges that limited his ability to play at the same level as his peers, Robert’s sports dream has always been to attend the NFL Draft, and his classmates at South Mecklenberg High School rallied around him to help make it happen.
Jan Thomas (American Cancer Society [ACS]) – Las Vegas Raiders: Jan is a breast cancer survivor and avid fan of the Las Vegas Raiders. In 2015, Jan decided it would be the ‘Year of Me’, so she devoted time to self-care. At age 55, she had her first mammogram, and soon learned she had breast cancer – she was diagnosed in February 2015. After receiving a mastectomy in April, she underwent reconstructive surgery in November 2015. Cancer treatments, appointments, and surgery soon consumed her life. Her medical provider connected her with the American Cancer Society where she and her friends found online resources, and live cancer experts they could talk to for support and answers to questions. Today Jan is cancer free, but she knows that others are just beginning their fight or are still in it. Jan credits the Raiders as a big part of her cancer journey, as her family was her support system and they watched football together – which got her through her hardest days. She found healing in every game she watched with her family.
L. Trice Burkes (Pat Tillman Foundation [PTF]) – Jacksonville Jaguars: Through the NFL’s Salute to Service initiative alongside its partner the Pat Tillman Foundation (PTF), the legacy of Pat Tillman will be honored at the 2023 NFL Draft by L. Trice Burkes, a Tillman Scholar, announcing the 226th pick, which was Tillman’s draft number in the 1998 NFL Draft. L. Trice Burkes is from Lenexa, Kansas. Trice is working on his Ph.D. from Colorado State University in order to improve college access for low-income minority students. He completed 25 years of military service in the U.S. Army, most recently as the Professor of Military Science at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri.
Isabella (KultureCity – Autism Awareness Month) – New Orleans Saints: Isabella is a 10-year-old Kansas City resident on the autism spectrum and an avid sports fan. She is representing KultureCity, a nonprofit organization that trains staff at venues and certifies venues that have sensory-inclusive modifications. KultureCity provides sensory-inclusive kits to venues to assist those who have sensory sensitivities. Additionally, KultureCity will be on site at Draft with trained volunteers, sensory bags, and two mobile sensory rooms for families and individuals who have sensory needs.