2014 NFL Draft date, times and TV coverage: The Houston Texans have the first overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft as ESPN and NFL Network present the first round from New York City’s Radio City Music Hall Thursday, May 8, beginning at 8pm ET. Top prospects include South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney, Auburn OT Greg Robinson and Buffalo LB Khalil Mack. The draft continues Friday with Rounds 2-3 (ESPN, ESPN2 & NFL Network) and Saturday with Rounds 4-7 (ESPN & NFL Network).
Phones will be answered. Names will be read. New hats will be worn. Eagles fans will boo. And millions of viewers will be glued to their TVs to watch it.
The NFL Draft is the biggest sports event in which no sport is actually played, proving just how insatiable Americans’ appetite for the NFL is year round. Fans feed on the hope of rosters reloaded with dynamic young players each spring, and the purely speculative fun of debating upsides, downsides, busts and steals keeps them occupied until fall.
The NFL adjusted its calendar, and the NFL Draft moves from its traditional April slot to May this year. The NFL cited a scheduling conflict at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall, though cynics figure the league wants to extend the hype for another two weeks to grow TV ratings during the May sweeps period. Since moving to a Thursday night in primetime in 2010, the draft has shown it can strut on broadcast network series’ turf. The first round of last year’s draft averaged 7.7 million viewers on ESPN and NFL Network.
Top prospects expected to go early in the first round include South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney, Auburn OT Greg Robinson, Buffalo LB Khalil Mack, Clemson WR Sammy Watkins, Texas A&M OT Jake Matthews and Texas A&M WR Mike Evans.
Teams will again face the eternal draft conundrum: Do they pick the player that fills a need or do they pick the best player available? The Houston Texans will answer that question with the first overall pick (though they’re open to trade offers), followed by the St. Louis Rams (from Washington), Jacksonville Jaguars, Cleveland Browns, Oakland Raiders and Atlanta Falcons.
NFL Draft TV Schedule At A Glance
May 8 — Round 1, ESPN & NFL Network, 8pm ET
May 9 — Rounds 2-3, ESPN, ESPN2 & NFL Network, 7pm ET
May 10 — Rounds 4-7, ESPN & NFL Network, 12pm ET