As ESPN approached the first-ever virtual NFL Draft, Trey Wingo was given an unenviable task-- he would be the only anchor at ESPN's set for the entirety of the draft. He was the fulcrum through which every other aspect of ESPN's coverage functioned. All roads went through Wingo. And, as the draft comes to a close on Saturday evening and Wingo's never-ending shift finally ended, ESPN made it through with minimal hiccups-- and Wingo was a big reason why.
Wingo had immense responsibility during a novel experience for everyone involved, and handled it as well as ESPN, the NFL, and anyone else involved could have possibly hoped. He was the host of ESPN's draft analysis after every pick, ensuring each of the half-dozen analysts on screen got their time to shine. He was the audience's first introduction to every draft pick in the first round, and while he was often the bringer of a tragic past, he managed to handle that duty with grace.
The broadcast was not without its bumps in the road, but Wingo was ready on the draw. There were several instances where he would announce to his audience that something was happening, nothing would happen, and he had to pivot. Each time that did happen, it went as smoothly as possible. The only notable screw-up was when he abruptly cut Adam Schefter off in anticipation of a pick that wouldn't be announced until 30 seconds later. But if that's the lasting issue from the last three days, that's a big win.
There were just so many moving parts to this broadcast. Technical difficulties abound, like when Wingo asked the analysts what they thought of a certain prospect and was met with stone-cold silence. Juggling the sensitive nature of the world around us while trying to stay excited about the main event. At large, ESPN's hope for a successful and entertaining broadcast rested on Wingo's shoulders, and he delivered with poise. Not to mention the risk he took by being in the studio at all.
Wingo will get mocked on the internet for his mistakes, but the fact that those were few and far between is honestly remarkable. There were a thousand ways for this to go terribly wrong, and many would have related to ESPN relying on a single man to dictate the whole draft for the network. In the world of broadcasting, this is pretty damn close to a Herculean task. It turns out Wingo was more than up for the challenge.