The NFL Draft is one of the biggest events of the year for television networks. During 2013’s first round, Nielsen estimated that a total of 20 million viewers tuned into to one of the broadcasts on ESPN or the NFL Network. ESPN has annually gotten most of the viewers, averaging 6.2 million starting at 8 p.m. E.T. last year, compared to the 1.5 million the NFL Network averaged.
The NFL Network has been attempting to close the gap, though, by getting creative with the analysts they feature during the programming. Last year, they brought in college coaches David Shaw (Stanford), Les Miles (LSU), and Brian Kelly (Notre Dame). It was a success, according to critics, so they’re doing it again this year.
College coaches: David Shaw, Jimbo Fisher and Urban Meyer will be featured in the NFL Network’s coverage of the 2014 NFL Draft.
— Christian Gin (@Christian_Gin) May 1, 2014
Shaw was a hit during last year’s draft, drawing critical acclaim from noted SI.com media critic Richard Deitsch.
“I think I was surprised by how many people on Twitter reached out to me to say they really enjoyed Stanford coach David Shaw as a guest NFL Network analyst,” Deitsch wrote in April of last year. “But what I was not surprised about was how good Shaw was on television. This is a bright guy with a television future if he wants it.”
Meyer spent most of 2011 as a college football analyst for ESPN. Fisher, obviously, is the head coach of the 2013 national champion Florida State Seminoles.
Each coach is expected to have at least one former player selected in the first round.