Kirk Herbstreit to replace Jon Gruden on NFL draft coverage

Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN is still conducting a search to replace Jon Gruden on Monday Night Football, but the sports media giant has settled on Kirk Herbstreit to fill the former analyst’s role in NFL draft coverage.

According to Ralph D. Russo of the Associated Press, Herbstreit will join the ESPN team for the first round of the draft.

This is a logical move since Herbstreit is a staple of College GameDay and one of the most respected college football voices. Although the company has several other NFL-focused options, Herbstreit will provide a different perspective to players.

While analysts, such as Mel Kiper Jr., Todd McShay and Louis Riddick, will be projecting the athlete at the next level, Herbstreit likely will focus primarily on how the player actually performed in college.

Herbstreit’s presence may be also be a tactic to improve ratings. FOX will also broadcast the NFL Network feed of the draft, so ESPN is competing for even more viewers than usual and could be using Herbstreit’s appeal to draw in college fans.

Regardless of the surrounding circumstances, it’s a terrific move by ESPN and a great opportunity for Herbstreit.