Driven Away from ESPN
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Given my several prior negative experiences with ESPN's draft coverage, and having taken a cursory look at this year's lineup (anytime Matt Millen is dispensing draft advice, my instinct is to run the other way), I wisely stuck to the NFL Network. From what I heard, I missed the usual ridiculous bombast, including Millen calling Ron Jaworski a "Polack" and subsequently having to apologize on the air. I also missed the trumped-up drama between Mel Kiper and Todd McShay, who seem to enjoy spending an inordinate amount of time bickering, when all I want to know is ... who are the promising picks? Who are the sleepers and the reaches? What am I missing? I don't get that, so I head elsewhere.
That out of the way, I thought the NFL Network's coverage was excellent -- Mike Mayock and Corey Chavous were particularly enlightening, and Chavous really stepped up when Mayock lost his voice on the third day. Regarding the pace of the three-day event, I liked it -- I think it's interesting to set the first round apart, and setting the second and third rounds up separately on the second day seemed to allow for the right amount of drama and trade activity the NFL wanted. Add that to the ratings, and it looks as if the new format is here to stay.
If there's one thing I wish the networks would stop, it's the annoying habit of tipping picks before they actually happen. If a kid's on the phone, fine -- that adds to the human drama we enjoy about the draft. But it is neither enjoyable nor enlightening to get a draft pick 30 seconds before the Commissioner steps the podium to announce it. No matter the network, or the "talent" hired, the message from the viewers is clear: Let the draft drive the coverage; not the other way around.
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