The Big Lead NFL Media Draft


We had so much fun with our college football media draft that we couldn’t pass up doing the same thing for the NFL.

Each writer was tasked with building their own network of talent. The goal was to assemble the best team for the upcoming year as opposed to the long-term. Each network had 14 hires from the following categories:

  • Play-by-play
  • Booth analyst
  • Sideline reporter
  • Studio host
  • Studio analysts (3)
  • Insider
  • Reporter
  • Columnist
  • Draft guru
  • Comedic relief
  • Fantasy Expert
  • Flex

Ryan Glasspiegel Network: Sean McDonough (play-by-play), Troy Aikman (booth analyst), Heather Cox (sideline reporter), Charissa Thompson (studio host), Tom Jackson (studio analyst), Matt Hasselbeck (studio analyst), Colin Cowherd (studio analyst), Adam Caplan (insider), Britt McHenry (reporter), Albert Breer (columnist), Louis Riddick (draft guru), Cousin Sal (comedic relief), Matthew Berry (fantasy expert), Josh Norman (flex)

My team is phenomenal. Matthew Berry drives an insane amount of traffic on ESPN’s website, and is also all over television. McDonough/Aikman/Cox is as good a game broadcast as you’re gonna find. Josh Norman is a headline machine. Louis Riddick is a draft guru with actual playing and front office experience. The studio show with Charissa Thompson, Colin Cowherd, Tom Jackson, and Matt Hasselbeck would have a winning combination of nuts and bolts football, and entertaining frivolity.

Ty Duffy Network: Mike Tirico (play-by-play), Chris Spielman (booth analyst), Tracy Wolfson (sideline reporter), Rich Eisen (studio host), Charles Woodson (studio analyst), Herm Edwards (studio analyst), Jon Gruden (studio analyst), Adam Schefter (insider), Peter Schrager (reporter), Dan Wetzel (columnist), Joel Klatt (draft guru), Katie Nolan (comedic relief), Cynthia Frelund (fantasy expert), Cleatus the Robot (flex)

If international soccer has taught me anything, squad continuity when assembling disparate parts is pivotal. I surrounded a solid core of Michigan Men and Women with an Ann Arbor resident, a metro Detroit resident, and a former Detroit Lion. I went for value in the late rounds and tried, at all costs, to avoid volume and relentless laughing. Cleatus is there to settle any ego disputes.

Jason Lisk Network: Kevin Harlan (play-by-play), Cris Collinsworth (booth analyst), Michelle Tafoya (sideline reporter), James Brown (studio host), Trent Dilfer (studio analyst),  Marshall Faulk (studio analyst), Amy Trask (studio analyst) Mike Florio (insider), Rachel Nichols (reporter), Bill Barnwell (columnist),  Mike Mayock (draft guru), Key & Peele (comedic relief), Chase Stuart (fantasy expert), Mike Pereira (flex)

One of my assumptions on NFL coverage are that Sunday morning shows have far less cachet anyway, so I’m not going to overspend on former jocks to sit around a 6-person set. I wanted diversity and versatility. Cris Collinsworth was my first choice, joined soon after by the always entertaining and divisive Mike Florio, who I wanted as an “insider” since he’s one of the few that will correctly report the language of a contract and not just pass on a clearly wrong figure. I know Rachel Nichols is more of a generalist, but she was willing to go hard at Roger Goodell with questions, so that’s the kind of approach I want. I’ve got Amy Trask to provide a former executive perspective, Mike Pereira as the wildcard able to come in and talk constant refereeing decisions and pitch Hornitos vodka, and Mayock able to slide into an analyst’s chair even when not talking draft.

I fell like I missed a real opportunity not to add PFT Commenter for a Sunday morning feature with Florio, but I am adding Key & Peele as my comedy features relief in light of some of their football-related skits.

Stephen Douglas Network: Al Michaels (play-by-play), Ron Jaworksi (booth analyst), Erin Andrews (sideline reporter), Trey Wingo (studio host), Randy Moss (studio analyst), Jimmy Johnson (studio analyst), Tiki Barber (studio analyst), John Clayton (insider), Ian Rapoport (reporter), Peter King (columnist), Doug Farrar (draft guru), Jason Lisk (fantasy), Nick Bakay (comic relief)

Only two things matter when it comes to NFL coverage – the games and the internet. Al Michaels and Peter King are two of football’s most ubiquitous voices and any doofus can be a fantasy football expert, so why go with a guy I can trust to answer my e-mails at any hour of the day? Randy Moss is actually great in studio, not that it matters. Also, I brought back Nick Bakay. You’re welcome.

Kyle Koster Network: Joe Buck (play-by-play), Phil Simms (booth analyst), Solomon Wilcots (sideline reporter), Dan Patrick (studio host), Howie Long (studio analyst), Steve Mariucci (studio analyst), Michael Strahan (studio analyst), Jay Glazer (insider), Michael Silver (reporter) Pete Prisco (columnist), Michael Schottey (draft guru), PFT Commenter (comedic relief), Field Yates (fantasy expert), Bill Simmons (flex)

Bringing in big-name talent was my top priority but after looking at my team I’m a bit worried about picking too many guys who have other jobs. Making sure Patrick, Simms, Glazer and Simmons don’t get spread too thin while moonlighting is a concern. Also, PFT could be a problem. Guy’s likely to miss deadline after a Mad Dog bender. But you know what? Nothing great comes without risk. My network will either be an unstoppable juggernaut or crash and burn in spectacular fashion.

Ryan Phillips Network: Jim Nantz (play-by-play), Dan Fouts (booth analyst), Pam Oliver (sideline reporter), Chris Berman (studio host),  Bill Cowher (studio analyst), Tony Gonzalez (studio analyst), Bart Scott (studio analyst), Chris Mortensen (insider),  Daniel Jeremiah (reporter), Adam Schein (columnist), Mel Kiper Jr (draft guru), Frank Caliendo (comic relief), Mike Clay (fantasy expert), Todd McShay (flex)

Other than the Super Bowl, the NFL Draft is the biggest draw for eyeballs and clicks every year. So I made a conscious decision to go big on the league’s annual talent parade and took Mel Kiper Jr. in the first round and shook things up by taking Todd McShay in the fourth. My network will dominate draft coverage. Nantz, Fouts and Pam Oliver will be a fantastic game-coverage trio, with humor and the gravitas to handle both blowouts and big moments. Meanwhile, Berman will anchor a great studio show with Bill Cowher, Tony Gonzalez and Bart “Can’t Wait” Scott. Frank Caliendo’s schtick may be wearing thin for some but the guy can still bring it and will provide laughs when he’s called upon. Finally, I think we all know Chris Mortensen is going to come back healthy from his battle with cancer and go back to being one of the league’s top insiders. Get well soon, Mort!

Here’s the full draft:

Round 1

  • Glasspiegel: Matthew Berry
  • Duffy: Adam Schefter
  • Lisk: Cris Collinsworth
  • Douglas: Al Michaels
  • Koster: Dan Patrick
  • Phillips: Mel Kiper Jr.

Round 2

  • Phillips: Jim Nantz
  • Koster: Jay Glazer
  • Douglas: Peter King
  • Lisk: Mike Florio
  • Duffy: Rich Eisen
  • Glasspiegel: Louis Riddick

Round 3

  1. Glasspiegel: Troy Aikman
  2. Duffy: Charles Woodson
  3. Lisk: James Brown
  4. Douglas: John Clayton
  5. Koster: Joe Buck
  6. Phillips: Chris Mortensen

Round 4

  • Phillips: Todd McShay
  • Koster: Howie Long
  • Douglas: Randy Moss
  • Lisk: Mike Mayock
  • Duffy: Chris Spielman
  • Glasspiegel: Tom Jackson

Round 5

  • Glasspiegel: Cousin Sal
  • Duffy: Mike Tirico
  • Lisk: Rachel Nichols
  • Douglas: Trey Wingo
  • Koster: Bill Simmons
  • Phillips: Chris Berman

Round 6

  • Phillips: Bill Cowher
  • Koster: Steve Mariucci
  • Douglas: Erin Andrews
  • Lisk: Bill Barnwell
  • Duffy: Joel Klatt
  • Glasspiegel: Albert Breer

Round 7

  • Glasspiegel: Matt Hasselbeck
  • Duffy: Tracy Wolfson
  • Lisk: Kevin Harlan
  • Douglas: Jimmy Johnson
  • Koster: Michael Silver
  • Phillips: Tony Gonzalez

Round 8

  • Phillips: Bart Scott
  • Koster: Phil Simms
  • Douglas: Scott Hanson
  • Lisk: Trent Dilfer
  • Duffy: Jon Gruden
  • Glasspiegel: Sean McDonough

Round 9

  • Glasspiegel: Britt McHenry
  • Duffy: Herm Edwards
  • Lisk: Michelle Tafoya 
  • Douglas: Ron Jaworski
  • Koster: Field Yates
  • Phillips: Dan Fouts

Round 10

  • Phillips: Pam Oliver
  • Koster: Michael Strahan
  • Douglas: Doug Farrar
  • Lisk: Marshall Faulk
  • Duffy: Cynthia Frelund
  • Glasspiegel: Charissa Thompson

Round 11

  • Glasspiegel: Adam Caplan
  • Duffy: Katie Nolan
  • Lisk: Key & Peele
  • Douglas: Jason Lisk
  • Koster: Solomon Wilcots
  • Phillips: Frank Caliendo

Round 12

  • Phillips: Mike Clay
  • Koster: Pete Prisco
  • Douglas: Nick Bakay
  • Lisk: Mike Pereira
  • Duffy: Peter Schrager
  • Glasspiegel: Heather Cox

Round 13

  • Glasspiegel: Colin Cowherd
  • Duffy: Dan Wetzel
  • Lisk: Amy Trask
  • Douglas: Ian Rapoport
  • Koster: PFT Commenter
  • Phillips: Daniel Jeremiah

Round 14

  • Phillips: Adam Schein
  • Koster: Micheal Schottey
  • Douglas: Tiki Barber
  • Lisk: Chase Stuart
  • Duffy: Cleatus the Robot
  • Glasspiegel: Josh Norman