The NFL Draft was a mess last night. The two networks that covered the draft simply failed at every turn. From ESPN’s decision to not run commercials until later in the draft to NFL Networks coverage breaking to commercial with picks made awaiting announcement.
The draft started out with the parade of 26 incoming rookies and when the announcement of Andrew Luck was made it took almost 10 minutes to get him off the stage and finish the on-stage interviews before getting the announcement of Washington’s second selection Robert Griffin, III. By the time the Commissioner made the RGIII announcement, Cleveland had turned in their pick at 3 and Tampa Bay had traded up to four.
The combination of fast trades and dragged out interviews created a confusing first half of the draft leaving the networks struggling to keep up.
One thing the NFL did get right, at least until Adam Schefter decided he was more important, was not allowing the networks to show the green room and the incoming rooks on the phones with the team on the clock. The wait for Goodell’s announcement made the selection process far more exciting. Of course, like everything else, it could only last so long as later in round 1, Adam Schefter began tweeting who teams were trading up for. Still, even those couple of spoilers didn’t take away from the not knowing excitement that previous drafts lacked.
All in all though, the coverage still graded out a C- at best. Scattered, the draft had zero flow to it and even as the Miami Dolphins came on the clock, you weren’t informed that they were in fact on the clock. The visual display on both networks were not in-sync, were often more than 30 seconds off and on more than one occasion the team that was on the clock saw their time expire with a screen notation that the pick was in but the team before them had yet to be announced.
The blow-hard analysis that comes along with the draft coverage also added to the confusion. In years past, both ESPN and NFL Network had plenty of time to talk about the players just taken but when the NFL added in the “on-stage” interviews, the rapid trades, the quick “pick-in” selections, and then the actual player discussions by the coverage teams, it simply failed to impress and as I stated, left many fans wondering what the hell was going on.
In the case of the Miami Dolphins, the pick was in and fans had to wait almost three minutes after their time expired to hear who the Dolphins had selected. Hopefully tonight will bring a much better, fluid, coverage.