ESPN began the draft coverage in 1980 and made household names of sportscaster Chris Berman and draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. But now the draft has become a three-day extravaganza with prime-time coverage on both Thursday and Friday before an afternoon affair Saturday for the final rounds.
We now have a battle between ESPN and the NFL Network -- fighting over who provides the most in-depth coverage. Between the two networks, more than 90 anchors, analysts and field reporters will be covering the draft.
|Round 1 » Thursday, 8 p.m.|
|Rounds 2-3 » Friday, 7 p.m.|
|Rounds 4-7 » Saturday, noon|
Heading up the ESPN team will be Berman, who is covering his 32nd NFL Draft. He will host the network's prime-time coverage Thursday and Friday with Kiper and "Monday Night Football" analyst and former NFL coach Jon Gruden. NFL insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter will report from an additional set at Radio City Music Hall, while Suzy Kolber will conduct interviews on-site with draft prospects.
About 200 feet away on the other side of the draft site, Rich Eisen will be joined by his NFL Network partner, draft expert Mike Mayock. Also on the main set will be former players Michael Irvin, Marshall Faulk and Kurt Warner, former front office executives Michael Lombardi and Charley Casserly and former coaches Steve Mariucci and Brian Billick.
Each network will take turns getting the draft choices first after they leave the stage, and both networks have promised not to take away the drama from the event by showing viewers players on the phones with the teams as they are being drafted.
Let the three-day NFL Draft marathon begin.
Examiner columnist Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer. Check out his blog, Watch this!, on washingtonexaminer.com.