A graphic for the 2023 B/R Gridiron Draft Night show. A graphic for the 2023 B/R Gridiron Draft Night show. (Bleacher Report.)

WBD Sports’ Bleacher Report is continuing their tradition of live shows in their app and YouTube channel for the NFL Draft, and they’ve again brought in some notable NFL players for that. Last year, their first-night show featured Jason Kelce, Richard Sherman, and Amon-Ra St. Brown. This year, the B/R Gridiron Draft Show will feature four active players who have all made a Pro Bowl: Dallas Cowboys’ linebacker Micah Parsons (also the 2021 NFL defensive rookie of the year), Philadelphia Eagles’ receiver AJ Brown, Minnesota Vikings’ quarterback Kirk Cousins, and Atlanta Falcons’ defensive end Calais Campbell.

The show will begin Thursday at 8 p.m. ET, and will be live in both the B/R app and on their YouTube channel. Adam Lefkoe will again host, and college football analysts Mike Renner and Michael Felder will also join the players to offer instant analysis and reaction on each pick. The show will also continue for the second and third days of the draft, with Lefkoe hosting and Felder and Renner providing analysis on Day Two (beginning at 7 p.m. ET Friday) and Felder and Renner hosting themselves on Day Three (beginning at noon ET Saturday). And it will again feature fan questions, engagement, and team-specific rooms in the app, something that’s been a focus of B/R’s coverage since they started streaming this in their app back in 2020. Here’s more on that from a release:

B/R Gridiron Draft Night will leverage Bleacher Report’s unrivaled social channels and the fully interactive B/R app to engage directly with fans throughout the three-day event. The B/R app will feature separate digital rooms for every NFL team to host community conversations where users can celebrate or lament the latest picks with one another in real time.

…Last year’s NFL Draft show was a hit, driving a 5x increase of in-app comments and 5 million engagements on B/R Gridiron (+14% YoY) making it the most engaged NFL media brand on social across the competitive set. An emphasis on breaking picks with speed and accuracy combined with expert player and team fit analysis with social features for fan conversation has fostered major fan adoption for B/R’s must-see draft coverage. 

Bleacher Report is definitely finding some value from these draft shows, and it’s interesting to see them continue with the approach of bringing in big-name players. The first-night lineup here is interesting for being all active players, too. Last year’s group included two fully active players in Kelce and St. Brown, but while Sherman hadn’t officially retired at that point, he pivoted to a media career with Amazon shortly afterwards, joining their lineup of analysts for Prime Video’s Thursday Night Football. This year, it’s all active players. And that includes perhaps a particularly notable one in Parsons, a first-team All-Pro in both 2021 and 2022, and also someone who made headlines with a very brief Undisputed tenure last year and got into a feud with Barstool Sports over an article in February.

The other change here is the addition of Renner (who just left Pro Football Focus after 11 years) alongside Felder, and the emphasis on featuring those analysts on the second and third days. Last year saw analysts Felder and Connor Rogers joined by former NFL receiver Torry Holt for those days, but this year, there are no former players after the first day. We’ll see how this year’s show works out for B/R.


About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.