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

For decades, NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. has been the face of ESPN’s NFL Draft coverage and is an undisputed pioneer in his field. As a result, one ESPN vice president thinks his name belongs in Canton alongside the many players he analyzed over the years.

Kiper has been in his role with ESPN for four decades after ESPN took a chance on the NFL Draft-obsessed 23-year-old back in 1984. And after what he’s done for NFL Draft coverage since, one ESPN producer thinks Kiper deserves a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“There is no NFL Draft on TV without Mel Kiper.” ESPN vice president of production Seth Markman told Front Office Sports. “He’s an institution. I think he should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame for what he’s accomplished and what he’s brought to this TV event.”

Kiper has simply made a career out of doing something he loves – and he always had a hunch others were passionate about it as well.

“I believed in it from the start,” Kiper told Front Office Sports. “I did the draft reports before I started at ESPN because I thought the NFL Draft was going to be huge.”

Obviously, Kiper was right. The NFL Draft has become a much-anticipated television event every year and his year-round draft analysis has become a mainstay in both NFL and college football coverage for decades. And it will likely stay that way for decades to come.

[Front Office Sports]