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Posted: Monday April 27, 2009 5:16PM; Updated: Monday April 27, 2009 5:16PM
Bill Griffith Bill Griffith >

Media grades (cont.)

Rising stars

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Accustomed to reporting on college football, Erin Andrews was at home interviewing the likes of Michael Crabtree.
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Todd McShay, ESPN. The in-house draft guru had good insights in working the secondary desk with Wingo & Edwards. McShay's head-to-heads with Kiper and Edwards were good. On Minnesota's pick of wide receiver Percy Harvin at No. 22: "The risk is worth the reward. This could be the biggest boom or bust in the draft.''

Michael Smith, ESPN. He's a terrific writer and just as good on screen. He turned a not-promising "What's ahead'' segment into worthwhile viewing. He even bailed out ESPN's attempt to turn him into an ersatz Vanna White, but using a giant touch-screen board to update individual team's draft lists.

Can we hire a few more analysts?

Steve Young (ESPN). Good man to have running the option for you. Doesn't have the same "Duende'' on air that he did on the field.

Keyshawn Johnson (ESPN). Ahead of where Deion was five or six years ago in making the TV transition. A work very much in progress.

Steve Mariucci (NFL). Knowledgeable and a nice guy, but has to be in a supporting role in this cast.

Cris Carter (ESPN): Delivered opinion with authority. Loved his depiction of Michael Crabtree as a young guy with an attitude. "I coach high school kids and my son is going off to college. I think I have a feel for the young one's attitudes -- and immaturity. You can tell this kid loves the game. He's a football player and a winner.''

Ron Jaworski (ESPN). He was a solid addition to ESPN's main desk for Day 2. He had plenty of opinion on discussions (Pat White, Michael Vick and assorted selections) and often had the video to back it up.

Jon Gruden (NFL). Ditto. Very strong and personable when draftees stopped by the set. You get the feeling he'll be facing a tough career choice soon: Back to the sidelines or a TV career?

Brian Billick (NFL). Assignment was a "team needs'' set with Charles Davis and Jamie Dukes on Day 1. It wasn't the high point of the coverage.

Charley Casserly (ESPN): Added humor to the proceedings and an ex-GM's insight. Late on Day 2 he noted that many players would be better off signing as free agents and having a choice of teams than being picked in the seventh round.

Charles Davis (NFL): To those who don't watch the NFL Network regularly -- and there may be more of us if the NFL pulls itself off Comcast this week -- he was a revelation. A sharp, well-spoken guy.

Jamie Dukes (NFL): He wasn't the smoothest in getting the floor, but was working in earnest for two long days.

Trent Dilfer (ESPN): A straight shooter. He had an interesting take on possible problem child Percy Harvin (No. 22, Vikings): "Money makes you more of what you were before you got it. He could have issues''

Tom Waddle (NFL). There was serious respect shown in both directions when Waddle's group was interviewing 49er coach Mike Singletary. Waddle and Singletary were Bears teammates. A media pro.

Finding a nice niche

Erin Andrews. ESPN's on-stage reporter's work was on a par with Sanders'; however, she didn't quite have the star power in this case. She scored a Day 1 story that turned into a Day 2 assignment on the relationship between the [not related] second-day draft hopeful Quan Cosby (Texas receiver) and American icon entertainer Bill Cosby, who planned to spend Day 2 together. She also had a classic "Sorry, Commish'' line to Goodell when moving in to interview No. 15 pick Brian Cushing.

Final thoughts...

...Eisen on predicting trades: "You know something's going on when you see the trade phones working in the pit where the picks are checked for accuracy and pronunciation before they go to the commissioner to be announced.''

...Eisen on the mixed reaction the Radio City Music Hall gave the Jets' pick of Sanchez: "There are a lot of Patriots and Giants fans here who don't like to see Jets fans happy.''

...Nice work by whoever played "Hail to the Redskins'' after Washington took Brian Orakpo at No. 13.

...You know the NFL Network was monitoring ESPN and vice versa. Too many times one telecast would emphasize something only to have the other come back with similar commentary a minute later.

...Berman when ESPN didn't have video of Oakland's second-round pick, Ohio University safety Michael Mitchell: "This is like the old days.'' The NFL Network didn't show any video of the pick either ... On Day 2, the NFL Network desk tried playing "Stump the truck'' in asking for video of lesser-known players. The video guys were up to the task.

...ESPN was able to jump the gun on some of the draft picks by monitoring video of potential picks on their cellphones in so-called green rooms.

Bill Griffith can be reached at

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