The NFL Draft starts today; excitement running high

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Excitement as NFL Draft arrives: Katherine Scott reports during Action News at noon on April 27. (WPVI)

It all comes down to this.

The NFL Draft gets underway Thursday, and the excitement was palpable up and down the Ben Franklin Parkway.

The first round draft picks will take to the main stage Thursday night in the open-air theater built on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

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Counting down to start of NFL Draft: Katherine Scott reports during Action News at 6:30 a.m. on April 27.

As preparations were in the final stages along the Ben Franklin Parkway, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell appeared in Center City alongside Ron Jaworski and Carolina Panther Thomas Davis.

The trio fielded questions at a breakfast for season ticket holders handpicked by each team. They will help kick off the evening's festivities.

"You guys make the game special," Goodell told the gathering.

Thursday morning, crews were bustling around the parkway, making sure all the last details were set for the largest outdoor event ever produced by the NFL.

Chopper 6 HD was over the scene very early.

More than 200,000 people are expected to attend over the next three days.

Picture-perfect weather is expected for Day One, with temperatures in the 80s - a welcome relief after several cloudy, rainy and damp days.

Julie Coker-Graham, President and CEO of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the economic impact is significant.

"Folks are going to be in the hotels, eating in the restaurants," she said. "They're going to attend our cultural attractions. Taxi cabs they'll use, they'll shop in our retail stores. So we're looking at an economic impact of about 80 million dollars."

And there's plenty to do on the Parkway as well, as part of the NFL Draft Experience.

Kick a field goal, test your agility, see how your vertical stacks up over at Combine Corner.

The Vince Lombardi trophy will be in a case to snap photos with. There's autograph sessions with players even a 100-yard zip line, though you have to reserve a time for that.

"So whether you're a football fan or any kind of sports fan, we invite you to come here to this free festival and take part of something in your city," said Coker-Graham. "I hope Philadelphians will come down, and I know people are very, very excited by it."

The gates open for the NFL Draft Experience events at noon.
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sportsAction News Sports2017 NFL Draft in PhiladelphiaCenter City Philadelphia
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