The Walt Disney Company, NFL Media Unveil Plans for 2021 NFL Draft
Day 1 of the 2021 NFL Draft will capture the attention of football and sports fans alike. Two entities that will showcase every angle of the event, The Walt Disney Company and NFL Media, have unveiled their production plans.
The Walt Disney Company
The Walt Disney Company will kick off its presentation of the 2021 NFL Draft on Thursday, April 29, at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT on ESPN, ABC, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Radio, and the ESPN App. Coverage will include 1,500 creative elements, 450 player highlight packages, and 35 player vignettes. ESPN and ABC will document the three-day event with 50 cameras and more than 50 microphones following live action in Cleveland, more than 40 additional cameras at the homes of Draft prospects and another 32 cameras offering looks into each NFL Draft room.
On ESPN, Mike Greenberg will host prime-time telecasts in Cleveland on April 29 and 30 with senior NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr., NFL analysts Louis Riddick and Booger McFarland, Senior NFL Insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter, and NFL host Suzy Kolber, who will interview draftees. This will be ESPN’s 42nd NFL Draft telecast.
On ABC, Rece Davis will host prime-time broadcasts in Cleveland on April 29 and 30 with college football analysts Kirk Herbstreit and Desmond Howard, and senior NFL Draft analyst Todd McShay. From a nearby set, Maria Taylor will host with college football analysts Jesse Palmer and David Pollack. Taylor will also interview the family members of NFL draftees. Leveraging valuable insights from the eleven-time Sports Emmy Award-winning College GameDay Built by The Home Depot crew, ABC will offer player-focused coverage, giving insight to storylines on and off the field.
Following distinctive prime-time presentations, the ABC and ESPN teams will combine to present Day 3 of the NFL Draft with Davis, Kiper, McShay, Riddick, Mortensen, and Schefter offering commentary.
The ABC and ESPN teams will also preview the NFL Draft on editions of College GameDay and NFL Draft Countdown. Pre-event coverage begins April 29-30 at 5 p.m. ET and Saturday at 11 a.m. ET, all on ESPN. Davis and Taylor will host College GameDay April 29-30 and Laura Rutledge will host on May 1. Rutledge will also report from the red carpet for College GameDay prior to Round 1. Greenberg will host NFL Draft Countdown.
On ESPN Deportes, Monday Night Football voices Eduardo Varela and Pablo Viruega will deliver exclusive Spanish-language coverage from ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol, CT. Reporter Rebeca Landa and Sebastian Martinez-Christensen will provide reports.
ESPN’s coverage of the 2021 NFL Draft will also air internationally, reaching more than 60 million households in Spanish-speaking Latin America, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific Islands, the Caribbean, the Netherlands, and Africa.
On ESPN Radio, 6 p.m. ET SportsCenter anchors Elle Duncan and Kevin Negandhi will lead NFL Draft broadcasts April 29-30 from Bristol, alongside NFL Front Office Insider Mike Tannenbaum, ESPN Radio’s Bart Scott, and reporter Ian Fitzsimmons. Duncan and Negandhi will also kick off next Thursday and Friday morning co-hosting ESPN’s Get Up from 8-10 a.m. ET. ESPN Radio’s coverage will continue on May 1 with host Jason Fitz, NFL Draft analyst and Senior Bowl Executive Director Jim Nagy, Tannenbaum, and Fitzsimmons. Saturday’s NFL Draft on ESPN Radio coverage will also be simulcast on many of ESPN’s digital and social platforms, including Twitter and Facebook.
In addition to airing live on ESPN, ABC, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Radio, and the ESPN App, the 2021 NFL Draft will be televised on NFL Network presented by Verizon and streamed live through NFL digital properties. SportsNation’s NFL Draft Digital Show will also stream live Rounds 1-3. Further, ESPN will surround the three-day event with coverage across all platforms and count down to Round 1 with a 26-hour Draft Marathon across ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPNEWS. Highlights:
- This year, ESPN’s live digital show for the NFL Draft will be anchored by SportsNation on Thursday and Friday and accessible across the ESPN App, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and – for the first time for an ESPN studio production – TikTok. As fans have come to expect from the SportsNation brand, the show will focus on reactions and engagement from fans both on site in Cleveland and across social media.
- Ashley Brewer, Treavor Scales, and Mike Golic, Jr. will host from the main set in Bristol, and will be joined by a lineup of ESPN’s digital commentators including Mina Kimes and Harry Lyles as well as instant analysis from Matthew Berry, Fitz, and Field Yates. Together, they will deliver pick-by-pick coverage through the fans’ perspective with off-stage moments that will complement the viewing experience to the main telecast. The show will also feature first round reaction from First Take commentators Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman and player vignettes from Negandhi. Additionally, it will create real-time video highlights and moments for the ESPN App, YouTube, and across social platforms.
- A multicast show with ESPN Radio will be live streamed for Saturday’s coverage featuring Golic, Jr., Scales, and Yates.
ESPN NFL Reporters to Cover All 32 Teams
The following NFL reporters will appear on a variety of shows sharing the latest news from around the league: Jeff Darlington (covering the Buccaneers, Chiefs, Dolphins, Jaguars, Packers), Dan Graziano (Bengals, Chargers, Giants, Lions, 49ers), Kimberley A. Martin (Bills, Browns, Panthers, Vikings, Washington), Sal Paolantonio (Colts, Eagles, Jets, Ravens, Steelers), Mike Reiss (Patriots), Dianna Russini (Bears, Falcons, Raiders, Saints, Titans), Lindsey Thiry (Rams), and Ed Werder (Broncos, Cardinals, Cowboys, Seahawks, Texans).
NFL Live and Afternoon SportsCenter Segments to Originate from Cleveland
Rutledge will host NFL Live from Cleveland April 28-30 with NFL analysts Kimes, Dan Orlovsky, Marcus Spears, and Ryan Clark. The daily NFL news and information show will air at its regular time on April 28 (4-5 p.m. ET) and expand to two hours April 29-30 (3-5 p.m. ET), leading into College GameDay. The noon ET edition of SportsCenter will also expand for Draft coverage April 29-30, airing live until 3 p.m. ET. Rutledge will host segments from Cleveland during the three-hour programs.
More Pre- and Post-Draft Coverage on SportsCenter
SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt will air at 11:30 p.m. ET on ESPN following prime-time presentations of the Draft with more reaction, analysis and interviews. Leading up to the Draft, editions of SportsCenter will air related content including a series narrated by Negandhi that explores the Draft needs of the Jets, Dolphins, Patriots, 49ers and more, as well as a virtual reality series with Orlovsky breaking down the top five quarterbacks. SportsCenter also will air Draft-related excerpts from other ESPN shows including Hey Rookie, Detail: Tebow, QB21 with Kirk Herbstreit, and a series of vignettes on Draft prospects.
ESPN, ABC Commentators Make Guest Appearances on NFL Network
Riddick will join NFL Total Access and David Pollack will join NFL Now, continuing a Draft tradition of cross-network collaboration. ESPN2 will also simulcast NFL Network’s Good Morning Football April 29-30 from 7-10 a.m. ET. Additionally, the Draft-a-Thon will be featured across live Draft coverage on ABC, ESPN, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Radio and NFL Network April 29-May 1.
SEC Network Debuts New Draft Special
SEC Network is televising SEC Featured: Draft Special, a look at the best storytelling surrounding the top potential Draft picks from the Southeastern Conference. Airing through April 29, the show is hosted by SEC Network host/reporter Alyssa Lang. Additionally, SECN has featured regular Draft analysis and expert interviews throughout its daily programming, including The Paul Finebaum Show and SEC Now.
ACC Network Draft Preview Leads Into Round 1
ACC Network will air an hour-long The Huddle: Draft Preview on April 29 at 6 p.m. ET. Host Kelsey Riggs along with ACCN college football analysts Eric Mac Lain and EJ Manuel will break down what will make players successful at the next level. The show will also cover player arrivals and interviews leading into ESPN and ABC’s NFL Draft coverage.
First Take “Draft Blitz”, Round-By-Round Recaps and Special Guests
Every day leading up to the start of the 2021 NFL Draft, ESPN’s popular morning debate show First Take – featuring Stephen A. Smith, Max Kellerman and host Molly Qerim Rose – will continue its “Draft Blitz” segments where the trio breaks down one team’s needs, goals, options and much more. In addition, First Take will preview the overall Draft before the start of Round 1 with a special edition on April 29 as well as recap each round with must-watch perspective the following morning with a full lineup of special guests.
ESPN’s daily sports betting news and information program Daily Wager will have NFL Draft content every day leading up to the Draft, including discussing Draft prop bets for every team in the league. Daily Wager will dedicate almost all of the April 28 show to Draft content, airing from 6-7 p.m. ET on ESPN2. The weekday show will air at an earlier time April 29-30 (4 p.m. ET, ESPN2).
NFL Media – comprised of NFL Network, NFL Films, NFL.com, the NFL app and NFL RedZone – has the 2021 NFL Draft from Cleveland covered with more than 80 original hours of Draft Week coverage beginning Sunday, April 25, an extensive talent roster of analysts, reporters and hosts, and powerful features on draft prospects.
The 2021 NFL Draft presented by Verizon kicks off with the first round Thursday, April 29 at 8:00 PM ET, followed by Rounds 2-3 Friday, April 30 at 7:00 PM ET and Rounds 4-7 Saturday, May 1 at 12 Noon ET from Cleveland.
NFL Network 2021 NFL Draft Coverage
For the 15th year, NFL Network provides live on-location coverage of the NFL Draft. NFL Network’s coverage of the 2021 NFL Draft from Cleveland kicks off Thursday, April 29 at 8:00 PM ET with first round coverage provided by 2021 Sports Emmy nominee host Rich Eisen, draft expert Daniel Jeremiah, analyst Charles Davis, and Stanford head coach David Shaw, along with analyst Kurt Warner, FOX Sports’ lead college football analyst Joel Klatt, and NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport. Additionally, Melissa Stark interviews the draftees on-stage following their selection.
NFL Network’s live coverage of the 2021 NFL Draft continues with Rounds 2 and 3 on Friday, April 30 at 7:00 PM ET, with NFL Network’s Peter Schrager and Chris Rose joining Eisen, Jeremiah, Davis, Klatt, Rapoport, and Stark.
Live coverage of the 2021 NFL Draft concludes with Rounds 4-7 on Saturday, May 1 at 12 Noon ET with Eisen, Jeremiah, Davis, Schrager, and Rapoport.
Live audio coverage will be provided by SiriusXM (Rounds 1-7), Westwood One (Round 1) and ESPN Radio (Rounds 1-7).
NFL Network reporters will be stationed at the following NFL team locations on Thursday, April 29 for first round coverage:
- Judy Battista & James Palmer – Jacksonville Jaguars
- Stacey Dales – Philadelphia Eagles
- Mike Giardi – New England Patriots
- Kim Jones – New York Jets
- Aditi Kinkhabwala – Pittsburgh Steelers
- Omar Ruiz – Miami Dolphins
- Michael Silver – Denver Broncos
- Jane Slater – Dallas Cowboys
- Steve Wyche – Atlanta Falcons
- Mike Yam – San Francisco 49ers
Beginning Sunday, April 25, NFL Network provides more than 80 original hours of live Draft Week coverage. Throughout the week, programming highlights on NFL Network include:
- On Sunday, April 25, NFL Mock Draft Live airs at 8:00 PM ET on NFL Network, hosted by Colleen Wolfe, Daniel Jeremiah, and Bucky Brooks. Throughout the 90-minute show, various NFL Network talent join to conduct an entire first-round Mock Draft
- Jeremiah reveals his final Mock Draft of the year on Wednesday, April 28 at 8:00 PM ET, joined by Eisen, Davis, and Warner
- On Tuesday, April 27 at 8:00 PM ET, NFL 360 Draft Special premieres on NFL Network. Featured on the 30-minute show is the powerful story of former University of Michigan defensive end Kwity Paye’s journey from war-torn West Africa to a prospective first-round pick, the inspiration that former University of Missouri linebacker Nick Bolton draws from his mother and sister’s courageous bouts with cancer, and the HBCU legacy that former North Carolina A&T defensive back Mac McCain III seeks to live up to
- NFL Draft Kickoff shows air Thursday, April 29 – Saturday, May 1 providing comprehensive analysis and the latest news reports leading up to NFL Network’s coverage of the 2021 NFL Draft in Cleveland each day with hosts Andrew Siciliano, Rose, and Patrick Claybon, analysts Steve Mariucci, Joe Thomas, Steve Smith Sr., Shaun O’Hara, Michael Robinson, Scott Pioli, Maurice Jones-Drew, LaDainian Tomlinson and Charley Casserly, reporters Mike Garafolo and Tom Pelissero, and Rapoport. NFL Draft Kickoff airs Thursday and Friday at 11:00 AM ET, and Saturday at 10:00 AM ET
- On Thursday, April 29, NFL Draft Red Carpet airs at 6:00 PM ET with Stark and Michael Irvin interviewing the prospects as they arrive
- Daily editions of the Emmy-nominated Good Morning Football air Monday, April 26 – Saturday, May 1 at 7:00 AM ET, with Kay Adams, Nate Burleson, Peter Schrager, Kyle Brandt, and Will Selva. Good Morning Football expands to four hours on Thursday and Friday
- Path to the Draft airs Monday, April 26 – Wednesday, April 28 at 6:00 PM ET, with Rhett Lewis, Brooks, Curtis Conway, Casserly, Brian Baldinger, and Cynthia Frelund providing all of the latest news and analysis surrounding Draft Week
- Two-hour editions of NFL Total Access: NFL Draft Preview air Monday, April 26 – Wednesday, April 28 at 4:00 PM ET, and nightly editions of the Emmy-nominated NFL Total Access air at 7:00 PM ET. Editions of NFL Total Access air Thursday, April 29 – Saturday, May 1 following NFL Network’s coverage of the 2021 NFL Draft each night