The exponential rise in social media followers for the Packers’ Jordan Love is an example of how the NFL Draft can increase the sudden celebrity status of athletes. Jordan Love, a polarizing and unsung top QB prospect, saw his followers increase by 281% on Instagram and 419% on Twitter after the Packers surprisingly selected him late in the first round. His spike was by far the largest increase on both platforms during draft weekend. QB Joe Burrow, the first pick in the draft by the Bengals, entered the draft with about 926,000 followers on Instagram – tops for the first round. He exited draft weekend with more than 1.06 million followers, an increase of 15%. Tua Tagovailoa began the draft with the most Twitter followers at about 293,000. His followers jumped 12% after he was picked fifth by the Dolphins, but he was still overtaken thanks to Burrow’s Twitter climbing to more than 343,000 followers, a 25% increase. WR CeeDee Lamb surged past Chase Young on Instagram by rising 62% after being drafted by the Cowboys. He moved up to the third most-followed player in the first round. The nine surveyed players saw uplifts in Instagram followers ranging from 15% (Burrow and Tagovailoa) to 281% (Love) and in Twitter followers ranging from 12% (Tagovailoa) to 419% (Love).
NOTE: 2020 NFL Draft first-round prospects’ total followers on Instagram and Twitter before and after draft weekend, with the % increase in total followers on both platforms in green.