For obvious reasons, the NFL Draft, scheduled for April 23-25, is going to look a lot different on television than it ever has.
One change as ESPN, ABC, and the NFL Network navigate how to pull this off during the COVID-19 pandemic: All three days and seven rounds will be broadcast with a simulcast on ESPN and the NFL Network.
ABC will have a separate prime-time telecast for Rounds 1-3 on Thursday and Friday. The network will simulcast the ESPN and NFL Network telecast of Rounds 4-7 on Saturday.
All telecasts — originally scheduled to be on-site in Las Vegas — will originate from ESPN’s Bristol, Conn., studios in adherence to COVID-19 social distancing guidelines.
Hosts and what the network says will be a “limited” number of commentators will be in studio. Most reporters and analysts will contribute from their homes. Commissioner Roger Goodell will introduce the picks from his home.
The broadcasts will also feature a “Draft-A-Thon” that will pay tribute to healthcare workers and first responders in a variety of ways — including raising funds for the work being done to combat the impact of COVID-19. Funds will help support six national nonprofits and their respective relief efforts.
“We recognize the challenging times we are living in, but we are looking forward to presenting the 2020 NFL Draft and providing some hope for football fans everywhere,” said Seth Markman, ESPN vice president, production.
“This year, we are further excited to collaborate with the NFL Network creating an all-star broadcast. We are also committed to producing the ESPN/NFL Network and ABC shows in the safest possible environment for our announcers and production teams.”
Trey Wingo will host all three days of ESPN’s NFL Draft coverage from Bristol. Wingo will be joined remotely by analysts Mel Kiper Jr., Louis Riddick, and Booger McFarland. NFL Network host Rich Eisen, draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah, and NFL Network analysts Michael Irvin and Kurt Warner will also contribute remotely all three days.
Suzy Kolber, Adam Schefter, and Chris Mortensen are among those who will also be prominent in the coverage.
Rece Davis, Jesse Palmer, and Maria Taylor will lead ABC’s prime-time presentation and will be in studio in Bristol. Todd McShay, Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard, David Pollack, and Tom Rinaldi will be among the contributors.