Ray Lewis Makes Draft Debut on Main Set; ESPN’s 35th NFL Draft Telecast
ESPN kicks off the 2014 NFL Draft presented by Bud Light – the network’s 35th consecutive NFL Draft telecast – onThursday, May 8, at 8 p.m. ET from New York City’s Radio City Music Hall. Round 1 will be televised live, in prime time with limited commercial interruption in the first hour for the third consecutive year. What to watch for:
- 42.5 hours of original NFL Draft-related programming from May 5-11, including 16 hours of the live NFL Draft telecast; NFL Live and NFL Insiders (including shows from Radio City); episodes of Draft Academy and Gruden’s QB Camp, and SportsCenter Special: on the Clock, SportsCenter Special: Draft Countdown and SportsCenter Special: Draft Grades shows;
- 316 player highlight packages;
- 45 different player personality bumps;
- 20 specialty technical breakdowns with analysis from Jon Gruden, Ray Lewis and Todd McShay;
- 23 cameras at Radio City, including two RF steadicams and three jib cameras;
- Up to 20 player live shots;
- HD Videoconferencing from all 32 team sites; and
- An opening tease featuring Seahawks Super Bowl champions Russell Wilson and Richard Sherman set to Aloe Blacc’s hit song “The Man”.
ESPN NFL Draft Commentators
- Thursday (Round 1): Ray Lewis, new to ESPN’s NFL Draft commentator team, joins host Chris Berman, in his 34th year covering the event, and fellow analysts Jon Gruden and Mel Kiper Jr., in his 31st year, at the main set for round 1. NFL Insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter will report from an additional set and Suzy Kolber will conduct interviews with draftees.
- Friday (Rounds 2-3) and Saturday (Rounds 4-7): Trey Wingo will host rounds 2-7 with analysts Trent Dilfer, Kiper and Todd McShay, Insiders Mortensen and Schefter and ESPN Front Office Insider Bill Polian.
- Reporters with updates from team sites include: Ed Werder (Houston Texans), Josina Anderson (St. Louis Rams), Britt McHenry (Jacksonville Jaguars), Sal Paolantonio (Cleveland Browns), Michele Steele (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and Bob Holtzman (Minnesota Vikings). ESPN NFL Draft commentator release.
ESPN NFL Draft TV schedule (May 8-11):
|Thurs., May 8||2-3 p.m.||SportsCenter Special: On the Clock||ESPN|
|3-4 p.m.||NFL Insiders (from Radio City Music Hall)||ESPN|
|4-5 p.m.||NFL Live presented by Experian||ESPN|
|6-7:30 p.m.||SportsCenter Special: On the Clock||ESPN|
|7:30-8 p.m.||SportsCenter Special: Draft Countdown presented by Oberto||ESPN|
|8-11:30 p.m.||NFL Draft presented by Bud Light (Round 1)||ESPN|
|11:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m.||ESPNU Draft Recap: Day 1||ESPNU|
|Fri., May 9||2-3 p.m.||SportsCenter Special: On the Clock||ESPN|
|3-4 p.m.||NFL Insiders (from Radio City Music Hall)||ESPN|
|4-5 p.m.||NFL Live presented by Experian||ESPN|
|6-7 p.m.||SportsCenter Special: Draft Countdown presented by Oberto||ESPN|
|7-11:30 p.m.||NFL Draft presented by Bud Light (Rounds 2-3)||ESPN/
|11 p.m.-12 a.m.||ESPNU Draft Recap: Day 2||ESPNU|
|Sat., May 10||10-11:30 a.m.||SportsCenter Special: On the Clock||ESPN|
|11:30 a.m.-12 p.m.||SportsCenter Special: Draft Countdown presented by Oberto||ESPN|
|12-8 p.m.||NFL Draft presented by Bud Light (Rounds 4-7)||ESPN|
|Sun., May 11||12-1 a.m.||SportsCenterU||ESPNU|
|1-3 p.m.||SportsCenter Special: NFL Draft Grades presented by Snickers||ESPN|
*Schedule subject to change.
ESPN Radio will broadcast the NFL Draft live on Thursday, May 8, at 7 p.m. from Radio City Music Hall with host Dari Nowkhah, joined by analysts Louis Riddick and Mark Schlereth and ESPN.com senior NFL writer John Clayton. The group will interview draftees and team personnel. At 11:30 p.m., Freddie Coleman will host a post-first round show, joined by ESPN Insider Adam Caplan. The Draft on ESPN Radio will resume Friday, May 9, with Nowkhah, analysts Riddick and Schlereth and Clayton. Kevin Winter will host that night’s post-draft coverage at 11 p.m., joined by Caplan.
In addition to the live broadcast of Thursday’s first round, ESPN Radio will present the NFL Draft Fancast on ESPNRadio.com. Listeners will have the opportunity to call and tweet at @espnradio with their predictions of and reactions to all first-round picks. Coleman and ESPN college football analyst Danny Kanell will host the NFL Draft Fancast beginning at 8 p.m.
ESPN International will offer television coverage of the NFL Draft to more than 31 million households in 41 countries and territories throughout Latin America, Brazil, the Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Islands, and Canada (on TSN). Round 1 will also be simulcast to eight countries in Northern Latin America via the ESPN Play broadband offering. Spanish language coverage through ESPN.com in Latin America includes reporter Carlos Nava with Stanford linebacker and draft prospect Shayne Skov in Guadalajara, Mexico (Skov’s hometown), offering their perspectives throughout the draft.
ESPNU, ESPN’s 24-hour college sports network, will offer draft-related coverage through the lens of the college fan. Leading into the 2014 NFL Draft, ESPNU will re-air notable college football games with some of this year’s top prospects:
- Wed, May 7, at 9 p.m. – 2013 Chick-Fil-A Bowl: Duke vs. Texas A&M (QB Johnny Manziel)
- Wed, May 7, at 11:30 p.m. – 2013 Russell Athletic Bowl: Miami vs. Louisville (QB Teddy Bridgewater)
- Thu, May 8, at 2:30 a.m. – 2014 Discover Orange Bowl: Clemson vs. Ohio State (WR Sammy Watkins)
- Thu, May 8, at 5 a.m. – 2014 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl: Central Florida vs. Baylor (QB Blake Bortles)
- Thu, May 8, at 7:30 a.m. – 2013 Outback Bowl: Michigan vs. South Carolina (DE Jadeveon Clowney)
Following each draft day, ESPNU Draft Recap and SportsCenterU shows analyze the draft from college teams’ perspectives with a focus on how top programs will replace former players who are headed to the NFL. Schedule:
- Thu, May 8, at 11:30 p.m. – ESPNU Draft Recap: Day 1
- Fri, May 9, at 11 p.m. – ESPNU Draft Recap: Day 2
- Sun, May 11, at 12 a.m. – SportsCenterU
ESPN’s prime-time newsmagazine devotes an entire hour to draft and NFL-themed stories (May 6 at 8 p.m. on ESPN). Features include a profile of Tank Johnson, the former NFL star whose gun incidents led to his arrest and suspension from the league, but is now a speaker at the Rookie Symposium. In “The Art of Waiting,” NFL players tell humorous and behind-the-scenes stories of what it’s like to wait for their name to be called on Draft Day. There will also be updated profiles of the Washington Redskins’ big off-season acquisition, DeSean Jackson, and reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year, Eddie Lacy of the Green Bay Packers.
Anchored by its NFL Draft Central landing page, ESPN.com will provide unprecedented, wall-to-wall coverage of the draft, prominently featuring all 32 NFL Nation team reporters as well as NFL senior writer John Clayton and NFL columnists Ashley Fox and Jeffri Chadiha. During the three-day draft, ESPN.com will provide:
- DraftCast and Draft Tracker, offering pick-by-pick data and analysis from Scouts Inc. on all 256 prospects in real time;
- The 32 NFL Nation reporters will offer instant reaction on first-, second- and third-round picks, a thumbs up/thumbs down for all picks (rounds 1-3), and team-specific analysis all three days of the draft, including comprehensive team wrap-ups; and
- Scribble chats live from Radio City, allowing users to interact with ESPN.com writers, reporters and other draft experts.
Additionally, the 2014 NFL Draft section will serve as the hub for all coverage. Among the pre-draft highlights:
- Profiles on quarterbacks Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles, Derek Carr and Teddy Bridgewater;
- Live Twitter mock draft featuring NFL Nation reporters;
- Gruden’s QB Camp video profiles and scouting reports on prominent draft prospects, including Bortles, Bridgewater, Manziel and six more QB prospects;
- Draft video, including Sport Science and Draft Academy;
- 2014 NFL Draft blog;
- Scouts Inc.’s Top 32; and
- Complete 2014 player rankings, including by player, school and position.
espnW contributor Jane McManus will provide pre-draft and in-draft coverage, including player features and blogs.
ESPN Insider members will experience complete and premium access to the 2014 NFL Draft covered from every angle. Comprehensive coverage leading up to and throughout all three days of the draft includes analysis and insight from experts Mel Kiper Jr., Todd McShay, Bill Polian, Ron Jaworski, Adam Schefter, Mike Sando, Louis Riddick, Mark Dominik, Scouts Inc. and others, including several mock drafts from Kiper and McShay. At the conclusion of the NFL Draft, Kiper will release his annual Draft Grades, a must read for fans anticipating the prospects of their teams’ newest additions. McShay will also weigh in with his take on the best individual picks and overall classes of 2014, and look ahead to the next draft season with his 2015 Mock Draft on Wednesday, May 14. Additional Insider-only features and tools include:
- Kiper and McShay’s Joint Mock Draft – the ESPN experts pick against each other, making the selections they would choose if they were in charge of the NFL teams;
- Kiper’s “Draft Report” – previously only available in his annual “Draft Report”, Kiper’s insights are available exclusively on Insider, including his top 100 prospects heading into the draft and his thoughts on the biggest draft needs for all 32 NFL teams;
- Gruden’s QB Camp – articles featuring the coach’s thoughts on this year’s most compelling quarterback prospects, plus excerpts from his interviews with each;
- Kiper and McShay’s prospect rankings – covering the top players by positions and comparing them to prospects of past years who have already made their way to the NFL; and
- Kiper Mock Draft Tool – an interactive experience that allows fans to change picks and simulate results.
ESPN will give fans on-the-go access to draft-related news and information including a draft section on the ESPN mobile web complete with video, player profiles, analysis and breaking news. Fans will also be able to sign up for ESPN Alerts by round and by college or NFL team. Alerts are available in the ScoreCenter app and via SMS on most major carriers.
ESPN3 and WatchESPN
ESPN3 will offer replays of NFL Pro Days featuring several of the top prospects, including Johnny Manziel and Sammy Watkins (Clemson Pro Day). Other Pro Days include Florida State, Missouri, Stanford and Georgia Tech. Additionally, live coverage of the NFL Draft on ESPN will be accessible via WatchESPN online at WatchESPN.com, on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app and through ESPN on Xbox LIVE to Gold members, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Roku for fans who receive ESPN’s linear networks as part of their video subscription from an affiliate provider.
ESPN The Magazine
ESPN The Magazine’s NFL Draft issue, on newsstands May 2, features a cover story on Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Since his subpar pro day, his critics have only grown louder. But so has his inner voice, reminding him of the strength it took to get to this point. In “Never in Doubt,” The Mag’s Tim Keown takes a look at the role Bridgewater’s upbringing played in his demeanor and the role socioeconomics play in becoming an NFL QB. Additional issue highlights:
- A Derek Carr feature, “Sins of the Brother,” The same toughness question that haunted David Carr during his NFL career could chase younger sibling Derek out of the first round. By Seth Wickersham
- A Blake Bortles profile, “Boy, He Escalated Quickly” that outlines four undisputable reasons the Central Florida QB is more likely bound for Canton than bound to disappoint. By Peter Keating
- “Kings for a Day,” an annual project spotlighting mid-round draft prospects – this time featuring Jadeveon Clowney’s South Carolina sidekicks: DE Chaz Sutton, DT Kelcy Quarles, CB Victor Hampton, QB Connor Shaw, and WR Bruce Ellington.
- A mock draft with ESPN experts Todd McShayand Mel Kiper Jr. and a 1-32 ranking of NFL franchises.
- Draft Confidential: The Mag survey of 35 draft hopefuls delivers some candor on Johnny Football, Clowney and more.
ESPN Marketing and Social Media
ESPN’s 2014 NFL Draft spot, which started airing this week and is set to John Newman’s hit single “Try”, includes several top prospects in this year’s class – South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, quarterbacks Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M), Blake Bortles (Central Florida) and Teddy Bridgewater (Louisville) and Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins. Additional NFL Draft initiatives include:
- Draft Bingo, which will be available on ESPN.com;
- Custom hashtags for each team (i.e. #NYGPick);
- Real-time fan polling via @ESPNNFL – an opportunity for fans to share their thoughts on draft selections;
- Social art, draftee portraits and photos and videos captured behind-the-scenes at Radio City Music Hall via @espn;
- Insights from NFL Draft prospect Bortles who will take over the SportsCenter social media accounts during round 1; and
- Timed to Day 1 (Thursday, May 8), ESPN’s social media team will debut its new ESPNNFL Instagram page and @ESPNNFL will announce the Madden15 Cover Vote bracket.