Kirk Herbstreit will take Jon Gruden’s place on ESPN’s coverage of the NFL draft.
ESPN announced Thursday that Herbstreit will be part the opening night coverage of the first round in prime time on April 26 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Herbstreit will be joined by host Trey Wingo, draft analyst Mel Kiper and NFL analyst Louis Riddick.
Rounds two and three are April 27, and rounds four through seven are April 28.
Herbstreit is the lead analyst for ESPN’s “Saturday Night College Football” and the “College GameDay” pregame show.
Gruden left his job as analyst on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” in January to return to coaching as head coach of the Oakland Raiders. Gruden joined ESPN in 2009 and has been part of draft coverage since 2010.
Herbstreit said he was approached by Lee Fitting, ESPN vice president, college sports, about being part of draft night coverage.
“After we talked about my role, I was pumped up,” Herbstreit told AP. “I’m going to stay in my lane and let Mel and Louis and Trey kind of say, ‘Hey, the Broncos really need to do this.’ I’ll kind of be more of breaking down some of the prospects from a college football perspective. Once they told me I was doing that and not projecting … I’m not into that at all.”
Herbstreit has covered most of the players expected to be drafted in the first round, especially top quarterback prospects such as Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield, UCLA’s Josh Rosen and Southern California’s Sam Darnold.
“I’m hoping to bring a little bit of the intangibles and what makes this particular guy tick,” he said.
Herbstreit has been part of “GameDay” since 1996. The show has grown into a three-hour marathon, often unscripted. The draft show is even more unpredictable, but Herbstreit said his time on “GameDay” should help on draft night.
“As long as you do your homework, when you go on the set the ball can go anywhere and you’re ready to go,” he said.