Rich Eisen on NFL Network's draft coverage
Rich Eisen, the well-known host for NFL Network, is looking forward to the start of four days of frantic NFL draft coverage, which kind of begins Wednesday at 5 p.m. PDT when draft expert Mike Mayock reveals his mock draft.
"It's an uncertain time for everybody in the league," Eisen said from New York, where he is preparing for his show-hosting duties. "Will all the uncertainty mean undrafted free agents won't get signed if the league year doesn't open up? We'll talk about them. We'll certainly be framing much of the discussion about the lockout or whatever you call it. I don't know, but whatever it is.
"I think there are a lot of fans who believe, at this point, it's a pox on everybody's house, why should we be watching the draft if there's no guarantee of football, but then there are others who can't wait for a football-only event. It will be interesting to see what the ratings will be."
NFL Network has plenty of legal experts and though Eisen correctly asserts that the network has not ignored the contentious labor issue, "Let's be honest," he said. "No one wants to talk about legal issues, stays and injunctions right now. They'd like to talk about the draft."
"Will trades involving existing players be allowed? Don't know. Will there be fewer trades or only trades that involve draft picks?
"A couple of years ago, the Patriots acquired Randy Moss for draft picks. Last year, LenDale White was traded for draft picks. Will more quarterbacks be drafted because teams haven't been able to do free agent deals? In the past teams acquired quarterbacks through free agency. Kevin Kolb, Carson Palmer, Donovan McNabb could have been draft weekend trades and generate huge news and headlines. Now? I don't know."
NFL Network's draft-day coverage begins at 10 a.m. PDT Thursday and the draft itself begins at 5 p.m. PDT. The second and third rounds will be Friday beginning at 3 p.m. PDT, with the fourth through seventh rounds Saturday beginning at 9 a.m. PDT.
NFL Network's draft-day coverage will offer analysis from 40 on-air personalities in Los Angeles and New York as well as coverage from team facilities.
ESPN also will have live coverage of the draft beginning at 5 p.m. PDT Thursday with pre-draft coverage beginning at noon PDT. ESPN's coverage will be anchored by Chris Berman, Jon Gruden and Mel Kiper Jr.
NFL Network and ESPN both will have video-conferencing links with all 32 teams. NFL Network will have reporters inside the draft headquarters of nine teams; ESPN will have reporters with six teams. NFL Network also will have cameras inside the draft rooms of Denver, Buffalo, Arizona, San Francisco, Dallas, Carolina, Seattle, Atlanta, Green Bay and the New York Giants.
-- Diane Pucin
Photo: Rich Eisen emcees the Reebok press conference at the Tampa Convention Center in 2009. Credit: Kirby Lee / US Presswire