The past couple of years, the NFL Draft has become quite predictable on the days of the draft. Video shots of prospects in their homes celebrating before going into a commercial break prior to the pick being announced, tended to make some feel that the luster was being taken out of the event. With the rise in social media outlets and the increase in "NFL Insiders" being added to networks, it's hard to deny the notion.
The element of surprise is one aspect of the draft that makes it so special and according to Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated, the NFL has coordinated a "gentleman's agreement" between the two networks airing Draft coverage (ESPN and NFL Network) to make sure that the element of surprise gets reinvigorated into this year's festivities. Per Deitsch, the two networks will not be showing video feed of players before picks, nor will they be having their staff members tweet the selections before Commissioner Roger Goodell announces them.
"Our fans have told us they would rather hear from the Commissioner and I think it is a better TV show when we speculate and let the Commissioner do it," said ESPN NFL senior coordinating producer Seth Markman, who oversees draft coverage for the network. "I have said in the past that [ESPN reporters] Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen can basically announce all the picks before they are made if they really wanted to. It goes against a lot of our instincts as journalists and it's totally different than anything I deal with, but we feel like it is a win for the fans and our viewers."
This bit of news seems to be uber-important to this year's draft because of its fluidity and ambiguity. For the first time in many years, this draft seems to be one of the most difficult to predict because of the talent pool. While certain positions are deep and there are a lot of potential solid players, there are few elite ones. Maintaining the element of surprise will make this year's event especially intriguing.
For the NFL Network's coverage, they will have Mike Mayock as their draft analyst, Rich Eisen as their main host, Ian Rapoport as their Insider, and a slew of former players and NFL personnel men that will include Scott Pioli, Charley Casserly, Charles Davis, Marshall Faulk and others.
ESPN's coverage team will have Chris Berman and Trey Wingo as the hosts through the weekend (Berman on night one, Wingo on the other two days), Insiders Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen and analysts Jon Gruden, Mel Kiper, Jr., and Todd McShay. They will likely be relying on input from Bill Polian, Tedy Bruschi, Herm Edwards, Ron Jaworski and others.