Mel Kiper in 2011. Apr 28, 2011; New York, NY, USA; ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

In recent years, ESPN has changed its Saturday coverage of the NFL Draft. In the past, the path was focused less on the individual picks than the earlier days.

But that’s changed. And to that end, another change is coming about this year in ESPN’s coverage.

For the first time, draft expert Matt Miller will be featured on the broadcast. And that idea was pitched by ESPN’s most well known NFL Draft expert, Mel Kiper Jr.

Seth Markman, ESPN’s vice president of production, explained the decision. saying that “Kiper Jr. pushed hard for Miller to join the main set for Day 3.”

“I was kind of comfortable with who we had put out there, but when a guy like Mel calls you with an idea like that and wants to share the ball, it’s kind of a rare trait in our business,” Markman said, per Richard Deitsch at The Athletic.

He also explained why the network has changed its coverage in recent years.

“We’ve changed the way we’ve broadcast Day 3 over the years. Years ago, we’d talk big-picture and do entertainment. The last few years, we realized we have these hardcore fans that watch on Saturday and let’s tell them about every player that’s picked in the draft. So we’re excited to have Matt and to continue to go after more of the hardcore viewers on that day.”

Kiper has been the central figure of ESPN’s NFL Draft coverage for decades. Kiper’s endorsement of Miller, who made his name as a draft analyst at Bleacher Report before moving to ESPN, is a promising sign for his future at the network.

[The Athletic]

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