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ESPN will take a cast of less than thousands to Radio City

chris-berman Getty Images

The folks at ESPN like to acknowledge the significance of a big event by assigning a large number of people to it.  Richard Deitsch of SI.com, via SportsBusiness Daily, reports that this strategy won’t be employed during the 2011 NFL draft.

Per Deistch, the first two days of the draft will feature only Chris Berman, Mel Kiper, and Jon Gruden at the grown-ups’ table, with Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen reporting from a separate location at Radio City Music Hall, and with Suzy Kolber doing player interviews from the green room.

On Saturday, Trey Wingo, Kiper, Todd McShay, and Trent Dilfer take over for the final four rounds.

In Bristol, Kolber will anchor on Day Three a discussion including Herm Edwards, Tedy Bruschi, and Ron Jaworski.

Of course, maybe ESPN isn’t giving short shrift to a big event.  Maybe ESPN is gauging the personnel based on the anticipated interest in the draft.

A feeling has emerged that there’s less interest in the draft than usual, even though it could be the only NFL-related event through September.  And possibly through February.

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35 Responses to “ESPN will take a cast of less than thousands to Radio City”
  1. truninerfan49 says: Apr 13, 2011 3:09 PM

    I haven’t watched ESPN’s coverage of the draft in years. The NFL Network has the best coverage.

    Mayock >>>>>>> Kiper/McShay

  2. profootballwalk says: Apr 13, 2011 3:14 PM

    Jon Gruden – now there’s a waste of space. At least they have their token women and black at the table.

  3. Jay says: Apr 13, 2011 3:17 PM

    I agree with you truninerfan49.

    But they really have it backwards. I know Kiper is the “senior draftnik”. Schefter is the best they have of the three guys.

    At least he won’t sit there and rail at the fact that a team picked against his wishes like Mel does.

    McShay should just be relegated to a broom closet with Roethlisberger and sent to get the cast coffee.

    I definitely will be tuning out ESPN as usual. Nothing good can come from Gruden gushing over everyone.

  4. jarobinewsome says: Apr 13, 2011 3:20 PM

    I have attended the draft since 2004. and It is probably best they keep Suzy Kolber in the green room…the idiotic Giants/Jets fans are absolutely BRUTAL to her when she is at the desk. She will absolutely love not having to hear “Suzy I wanna kiss you!” every 3 seconds for 4 hours straight.

  5. Richard Dickson says: Apr 13, 2011 3:20 PM

    Moving it to prime time and splitting it up over as many days as they have has just killed the event atmosphere around it. Fans WANT to hunker down for twelve hours a day. Not a few one night, a few another, and the rest on another.

  6. italyprodigy says: Apr 13, 2011 3:23 PM

    Less interest in the draft then usual, nahhh not at all. Theres just a few things clouding over it, like when anyone we draft will step on the field. Or anyone for that matter. And i have now posted on the most irrelevant thread ive seen so far. it was only my life goal up until now..

  7. hobartbaker says: Apr 13, 2011 3:25 PM

    Uuuuh……Who from ESPN pro football will NOT be there. Seems to me you just named the whole sorry lot of them.

  8. staff2cj4td says: Apr 13, 2011 3:26 PM

    this draft is going to suck, now you can’t draft to fill final needs because there will be no free agency before the draft, now you have to draft for all your needs not knowing what to make of free agency when it comes! and not being able to make trades is absolutely horrible!!!!

  9. wyobroncoboy says: Apr 13, 2011 3:28 PM

    Thank Gawd I have the NFL network. Whatta huge group of stiffs. Led off by Kyper hisself.

    Tho when there is any lull in the action Herms dynamic persona can quickly pick it backup……………………Geebus

  10. 49ersforever says: Apr 13, 2011 3:28 PM

    I’m always excited for the NFL draft. The lack of any player movement this offseason makes me need the draft even more.

  11. possiblecabbage says: Apr 13, 2011 3:28 PM

    To be honest, if you watched last year’s draft coverage it was absolutely terrible. There were too many Chiefs who were aspiring to be Cooks, and not enough Indians to enjoy the broth that was ruined by the surfeit of cooks.

    Having 50,000 people offer their opinion does not make draft coverage better. Honestly, networks do the best job with the draft by having a small number of people who know what they’re talking about and letting them talk.

  12. paulnoga says: Apr 13, 2011 3:50 PM

    Mel “squinty” Kiper is a joke as are all the ESPN crew.

  13. pjg1309 says: Apr 13, 2011 3:56 PM

    To be completely honest until they get together and stop arguing over 7 or so BILLION dollars I am not going to be watching anything dealing with the NFL. I have stopped watching the NFL network and I will not be watching the draft when I can read about it and more importantly I can skip to only the parts that matter to me and my team.

  14. nanner12wojo says: Apr 13, 2011 3:56 PM

    The reason for less interest was the horrible move from an all day Saturday event for the 1st 3 rounds to the Thursday/Friday staggered setup.

    Go back to Saturday. It was an event for me and my buddies. We used to get together, grill out and have beers while watching draft coverage all day.

    Now nobody follows it the same in my network. It’s on a work night.

  15. citizenstrange says: Apr 13, 2011 3:59 PM

    How the hell are they going to cover the draft with only six people?

  16. Jay says: Apr 13, 2011 4:03 PM

    Whatever any sports network does for coverage this year, please keep Mack Brown off the set.

    That was just too weird not to mention boring. It was obvious he was just pimping his players and by extension the Longhorn program.

  17. bobwsc says: Apr 13, 2011 4:13 PM

    I can’t think of anyone worse than Herm Edwards. wait…Trey Wingo.

  18. upperdecker19 says: Apr 13, 2011 4:19 PM

    Cool…I’ve been looking forward to Berman’s “Curly from The Three Stooges” sound effects since February.

  19. thefiesty1 says: Apr 13, 2011 4:23 PM

    Good, way too many talking heads. Berman, Kiper and Hannah Storm are plenty. Come to think of it, skip Berman and Kiper. Just Hannah, Yes!

  20. glen1904 says: Apr 13, 2011 4:24 PM

    the best message an NFL fan can send to the owners and players is not watch any of it! let them know GREED is a turn off and we all are aware there is football played on Saturday’s by schools, coaches and player that are “playing to win the game” and that is far more attractive.

  21. nowathand says: Apr 13, 2011 5:02 PM

    I like the idea of fewer people. However, why don’t they hire a former NFL scout on the same basis that I presume their fantasy “expert” Matthew Berry is?

    Even with fewer people, I already know an entire portion of their draft broadcast is going to be a joke: the day 3 “discussion”. That figures to have zero people with significant prep for this.

    Here’s what they have: three guys who watch tape, go to Pro Days and work hard at being relevant and interesting on air. The three guys are Mel Kiper, Jr., Trent Dilfer and Todd McShay. Everyone else, including Chris Berman, has inadequate training for this event.

    At least on NFL Network, they have five legitimate experts who have some NFL experience AND have been working hard for the draft: Mike Mayock, Charles Davis, Michael Lombardi, Charlie Casserly, and Brian Billick. Plus, Deion in the booth has a good handle on the running backs, wide receivers, corners and safeties. Davis, Steve Mariucci, Michael Irvin and Warren Sapp have also done hands-on workouts with prospects. Gruden’s the only guy at ESPN that has been doing this.

    As for ratings, I think you will see about the same as last year for the first round and – especially if no safety, no tight end and fewer than four QBs on day 1 – a huge increase in trades and audience for the second round.

  22. duncanh89 says: Apr 13, 2011 5:12 PM

    No Steve Young? Weak.

  23. bfridley says: Apr 13, 2011 5:14 PM

    THE BEST DRAFT LINE-UP WAS:

    Saturday: Rounds 1-3
    Sunday: Rounds 4-7

    IT HAS GOTTEN WORSE SINCE THE CHANGES!

    Change it back! It used to be the best weekend of the year! Now it’s three days in small, abbreviated packages!

  24. r8ders18 says: Apr 13, 2011 5:30 PM

    punishing the nfl begins on draft day FANTASTIC

  25. capslockkey says: Apr 13, 2011 5:32 PM

    Those who have yet to get NFL Network on their cable or satellite provider have my condolences. The only time ESPN is ever on my TV anymore is during MNF.

  26. armchairgm9 says: Apr 13, 2011 5:37 PM

    There’s an idea…Instead of the players boycotting the draft, the fans should. An empty Radio City would be one hell of a wake up call for both the players and owners.

  27. bunjy96 says: Apr 13, 2011 5:40 PM

    I don’t care who they have on TV.

    I won’t watch it.

    After working all day, I’m not going to sit 3 hours listening to everyone tell who was , is or should be drafted.

    On Saturday/Sunday, I hunkered down for the weekend and watched it all.

    No more.

  28. descendency says: Apr 13, 2011 5:54 PM

    Kiper/McShay + Schefter >>>>>>>>>> Mayock.

    Since Losing Schefter, Mayock has been a joke.

  29. alkscout says: Apr 13, 2011 5:58 PM

    ESPN still covers the draft?

    I don’t know how you could watch is sans Mayock.

  30. jakek2 says: Apr 13, 2011 6:13 PM

    Televised draft = mind numbing waste of time. You have to be braindead to watch more than 5 minutes of it.

  31. swervinmervin says: Apr 13, 2011 6:18 PM

    No Tom Jackson?!?!

    That sucks! Nothing was better than looking at his face whenever the Broncos made a terrible pick. Last year when they picked Tebow and that WR, he almost started crying. It was awesome.

  32. androk23 says: Apr 13, 2011 6:36 PM

    If there is less interest in the draft this year, it’s most likely due to the lack of dominant prospects. The Bills finally have a top pick, and there are no QB’s or LT’s worth taking? Story of the draft. Defensive linemen aren’t that sexy.

  33. breakyourballz says: Apr 13, 2011 6:41 PM

    Mcshay = Seacrest wannabe
    I would rather go on an 18-hour plane ride with Elizabeth Hasselbeck without access to duct tape, a ball gag, or large blunt objects than listen to him.

    Berman has to be pulling what’s left of his hair out listening to that tool..

  34. vietnambob2473 says: Apr 13, 2011 7:04 PM

    Actually I care MORE about the draft this year than in previous years because it’s the only thing we have to look forward to for sure. I only flip to ESPN when NFLN is on commercial anyway. Kiper and Wingo can’t hold Mayock’s jock,

  35. mataug says: Apr 13, 2011 7:16 PM

    Thanks but I will stick to listening to Mayock & Davis on NFLN.

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