Review: ESPN’s NFL Draft Twitter Feed Found Lacking

I decided that I would break with tradition and do something different for the first day of this year’s NFL draft. I normally watch the draft, alternating between the NFL channel and ESPN, have a list of top picks and a phone so that I can text my friends and taunt thenm about how their team’s selections are inferior to mine.

I am still following that basic game plan but I decided to also add a Twitter feed to follow as well. Actually I ended up following more than one, but more on that later. I selected ESPN for the first night of the draft, although I passed on its three-plus hours of pre-draft broadcasting after I turned it on and saw someone I assumed to be Dr. Phil but did not stay around long enough to find out. I guess everybody is an expert these days.

It was an easy decision since “the Mother Ship” has two major draft experts, often at odds with each other (although not enough to my taste) and a huge staff of former players and other experts, many of whom often say head turning opinions and almost all of them have Twitter accounts.

With Mel Kiper Jr., Todd McShay, Merill Hoge and Andrew Brandt not to mention all of the regional ESPN beat reporters and on-air personalities it looked like it was a site that should be interesting, with a healthy dose on inanity as well.

I was wrong, after a bit of light banter about the fans at Radio City Music Hall booing the Commissioner of the NFL, Roger Goodell, such as Trey Wingo saying they were not booing, they’re saying. GOOOOOOOOODELLL! Andrew Brandt had a great observation in saying that “The more people in that picture after the player is picked, the more I worry about his future financial security.” But these type of wry observations were pretty rare.

A few rumors were floated and they successfully predicted the 49ers pick at #7, but overall I was left very unimpressed. Almost nothing on how the Atlanta Falcons mortgaged their future to get Julio Jones.

The tweets came at a rather slow pace and it seemed as if only two or three ESPN personalities were posting, most of them just dry statements of what was happening. Watching the broadcast was so much more informative. I guess that made sense since that is where ESPN generates its cash.

So I started to search for another feed and found one on Google that appeared to be picking up comments from across a range of boards and it is much more enjoyable and faster on the news than ESPN.

There was a great deal of repetition here, I saw that Cam Newton was drafted #1 about 40 times, but there was a lot of good natured snark, but it was lacking of the mean spirited chatter that often characterizes message boards and chat rooms during and after NFL games.

A few of my favorite comments were “Niners take Aldon Smith??? Blaine Gabbert tossed his blonde locks in support”, “Titans pick up Jake Locker. Someone put Vince Young on suicide watch” and “‎Dear ESPN, please make one of Blaine Gabbert’s “Areas of Concern” be that his name sounds like a major appliance” — that’s good.

My takeaway was that for live events such as the draft a TV outlet will focus its resources on its bread and butter broadcast and that it is best to look elsewhere for a good thread. I have read any number of interesting comments and alerts from ESPN’s Twitter feed, but this is obviously not the time or place that it decided to put resources into that outlet.