Networks realize draft drama without frills sometimes best

Producer Charlie Yook and NFL Network didn’t have their draft broadcast last year, but he could glean some things from last year’s joint effort with ESPN.

The biggest is when it comes to the draft; sometimes, simple works best, and it is OK to combine resources.

“We learned there’s no point in having three cameras in one kid’s house. It’s also OK to be a little more casual, for lack of a better word,” he said. “Shots don’t have to be with all these jillion-dollar cameras. It can be done with iPhones. And I think it’s the last year taught if anything; it’s more important to be seen and heard with family than anything else.”

While 12 prospects will be in Cleveland waiting to be selected and pose with Commissioner Roger Goodell, the NFL has sent 45 camera kits to prospects’ homes with iPhones, lighting, a backdrop, and each team’s hats.

After years of competing to see which teams they could get exclusive access to, NFL Network and ESPN will also have access to all 32-team war room cams.


Not having prospects on-site will present challenges, especially if the first round goes as quickly as last year. There were a few points last year where three selections had already been made before they were announced because players were still being interviewed.

Trevor Lawrence will not be in Cleveland and may not be interviewed immediately after the Jacksonville Jaguars are expected to make him the top pick because the New York Jets are up next.

“It is hard to interview someone who just got selected if they’re not there because this thing continues to move, and the narrative shifts. If they’re not readily available to go, you probably won’t see a lot of those interviews,” Yook said.

“But that’s the body of this event. It just keeps going forward.”

air coverage all three days. ABC will have its special broadcast the first two days before having the ESPN simulcast on Saturday.


NFL Network will have reporters at 11 team complexes, but ESPN will continue to have its reporters operate remotely.

Seth Markman, ESPN’s VP of Production, said the decision was mainly for health and safety concerns.

“I think we could have done that, but it’s something that we just looked at that wasn’t a must-do for this year,” he said.

“We feel like our reporters are good enough at this point to be able to report on multiple teams from home. I know people like to be face-to-face, but that won’t happen these days. So sending a reporter to a team facility would be more about style over substance anyway.”

Yook said it was important for NFL Network to have reporters there while observing all health and safety protocols.

NFL Network will debut new graphics and have a higher level of highlighting players and one-on-one matchups.


The night of the first round for many years was a rare chance Browns fans got to be in the spotlight, but after an 11-5 season and a playoff win for the first time since 1994, NFL Network host Rich Eisen is eager to see how Cleveland will respond to this year’s festivities.

“I don’t recall ever being to an NFL draft where the Browns being put on the clock was met with anything but sarcastic derision by anyone in the stands,” he said. “I expect there to be a huge moment when they’re on the clock and when the Steelers, Ravens, and Bengals are on the clock.

“When we go to cities for the draft, it is different vibes because they have different regional interests. I love it. I love it.”


Eisen’s annual “Run Rich Run” fundraiser to support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital will air on Saturday.

Eisen usually does his 40-yard dash in Indianapolis during the NFL combine, but the event wasn’t held this year.

Instead, Eisen did his run at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles on April 17. It will also feature Jerry Rice, Ray Lewis, Cris Carter, Rod Woodson, Terrell Davis, Michael Vick, Torry Holt, and Eric Metcalf.

With the Draft-A-Thon continuing for the second straight year, Eisen would like to raise funds for charities to be a permanent part of the draft.


Mike Greenberg becomes only the fifth host in ESPN’s 42 years of doing the draft. He will host the first two days on ESPN, with Rece Davis handling the final day.

Greenberg said discussions started in January after he mentioned to ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro a couple of years ago that he would like to be a part of more live sports coverage.

Despite the ebbs and flows of the draft, Greenberg thinks he is ready for the assignment. He also doesn’t see it as long days on set after being accustomed to 4 to 5 hours of doing live television and radio a day.

“I know this is a different animal, and many things will be coming at me fast and furious. But at the end of the day, we’re there to present these significant events that fans are interested in,” he said.

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Molly Aronson

I'm an award-winning blogger who enjoys all things creative but is especially passionate about lifestyle design. I blog over at I love that I get to share my passion for healthy living, fashion, fitness, and travel with readers from all over the world.

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