It doesn’t seem possible but in 2018, sports networks are dedicating even more hours of coverage to the NFL Draft. In addition to ESPN and NFL Network’s traditional coverage, Fox is even getting in on the act this year with a simulcast to continue the NFL’s strategy of taking over the world.
That coverage isn’t just limited to just the week of the draft, but through the entire month of April. We’ve already seen Russell Wilson replace Jon Gruden on ESPN’s new QB2QB, but that’s only the beginning.
On Tuesday, ESPN revealed its pre-draft coverage plans, featuring a litany of new specials dedicated to the event. What jumps out the most, though, is ESPN giving their pair of debating draft analysts, Todd McShay and Mel Kiper, multiple television specials.
Kiper and McShay will anchor not one, but two mock draft specials. The first one will be on April 7 and the second one will be on April 19, a week before the draft kicks off. Presumably, they’ll be different shows, one featuring Kiper and McShay giving their own mocks and another with the pair alternating draft picks as they “play GM.” Because it’s not enough to read mock drafts, now we get to watch them on television!
- SportsCenter Special: Mel and Todd’s Dueling Mocks (April 4: 7 p.m., ESPN2): In this hour-long special, NFL Draft analysts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay go head-to-head with their dueling mock drafts. Suzy Kolber hosts while Adam Schefter offers an NFL Insider’s perspective. Kiper’s and McShay’s selections for Rounds 1 and 2 will be available on ESPN.com.
- SportsCenter Special: Mel & Todd’s Mock Draft (April 19: 8 p.m., ESPN): In this 90-minute special, NFL Draft analysts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay play GM and alternate making Round 1 selections as if they run the draft room for all 32 teams. Wendi Nix hosts with NFL Insiders Adam Schefter and Louis Riddick adding analysis. Kiper and McShay’s selections for Rounds 2 and 3 will be available on ESPN.com.
I’ll admit, I’m a mock draft addict. There isn’t a year that goes by when I don’t look at somewhere between 300-500 mock drafts during the spring. (Bonus points to all the ones that actually have the guts and the ingenuity to project trades.)
I know, I know, I know… you have as much of a chance as filling out a perfect NCAA Tournament bracket than a perfect mock draft, but that’s never stopped anyone from entering an office pool. It’s still engaging and what else are football fans supposed to do this time of year but obsess over mock drafts? It’s all in fun, right?
But all that being said… even I have no interest in actually sitting down to watch a mock draft play out on television. If two featuring Kiper & McShay aren’t enough, ESPN will offer a third mock draft show two days before the draft under their NFL Nation banner.
- SportsCenter Special: NFL Nation Mock Draft (April 24: 7 p.m., ESPN): Wendi Nix hosts this 90-minute special where ESPN NFL Nation reporters make Round 1 selections for the teams they cover. NFL Front Office Insider Bill Polian and NFL Draft analyst Todd McShay offer analysis. The NFL Nation Mock Draft will be available on ESPN.com following the show.
There’s also a third Kiper-McShay special on April 17 that is more geared towards social media and interacting with fans. By the time the draft is done, these two may actually be on ESPN more than Stephen A. Smith.
- SportsCenter Special: You’ve Got Mel & Todd (April 17: 10 p.m., ESPN): Host Wendi Nix and NFL Draft analysts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay engage with fans during this social media hour, fielding draft-related questions submitted via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using #AskMelandTodd.
ESPN has other specials planned as well, ranging from a series on the Madden Ultimate League (which sounds cool) for the eSports fans out there to an NFL Matchup special focusing on some of the top prospects (which sounds awesome) to… a four-part series about a dozen Dallas Cowboys fans and their journey through the 2017 season (which sounds like it’d be worse than watching a First Take–Undisputed crossover special).
You’re going to get more NFL Draft coverage than ever before this month, but honestly, I really hope ESPN replaces Kiper on one of these specials with Frank Caliendo, just to see if anyone notices.