ESPN NFL Programming Highlights
Draft Academy Debuts April 22 on ESPN
ESPN's Draft Academy, a new series that invites fans behind the scenes to observe how five prospects prepare for the 2014 NFL Draft, debuts Tuesday, April 22, at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN. Projected first-round picks Blake Bortles, Jadeveon Clowney and Marqise Lee will be part of the four-week series, as will Pierre Desir, the nation's top small college defensive player, and running back Bishop Sankey, a first team All-Pac-12 selection. Draft Academy airs on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on ESPN. Full Release
Gruden's QB Camp Episodes with Blake Bortles, Tajh Boyd and A.J. McCarron Debut Next Week
The fifth season of Gruden's QB Camp continues next week with three debut episodes: Blake Bortles' premiere show will air Tuesday, April 22, at 9:30 p.m. on ESPN; Tajh Boyd's on Wednesday, April 23, (3:30 a.m. on ESPN2 and 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. on ESPNU); and A.J. McCarron's on Saturday, April 26, (11:30 a.m. on ESPN2).
Additionally, the SportsCenter Special: Gruden's QB Camp compilation show, a look at all nine quarterbacks who participated in the series this year, airs Sunday, April 20, at 4 p.m. on ESPN. Complete schedule: Gruden's QB Camp.
Outside the Lines on 10th Anniversary of Pat Tillman's Death
Former Arizona Cardinals safety Pat Tillman, who gave up NFL millions to join the Army Rangers following 9/11 and was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan, is the focus of a pair of OTL programs:
· For the first time, a platoon mate who told investigators he fired upon Tillman speaks publicly about the fratricide and its emotional toll, while another, positioned closest to Tillman at the time of the shooting, shares his perspective. Mike Fish and John Barr report (Sunday, 9 a.m., ESPN; 10 a.m., ESPN2).
· Fish updates the government's inquiry into the case, Tom Rinaldi presents a piece on Tillman's widow Marie, and a panel discussing the topic will be featured in a one-hour special Pat Tillman: 10 Years Later an Enduring Tragedy (Tuesday, 8 p.m., ESPN).
For more details, please visit ESPN Front Row.
ESPN Sport Science: NFL Combine Special on Sunday
For the fifth year, ESPN Sport Science presents its own pro football combine in which top NFL Draft prospects are analyzed using cutting-edge technology and unique tests designed to evaluate the skills necessary for success in the league. The one-hour show airs Sunday, April 20, at 5 p.m. on ESPN and features more than 20 of the top prospects, including UCF's Blake Bortles, Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater, Clemson's Sammy Watkins, Texas A&M's Mike Evans, UNC's Eric Ebron and Alabama's A.J. McCarron.
In the ESPN Sport Science lab, draft prospects undergo a series of position-specific tests, designed to isolate the relevant skills they use on the field. The results are factored into a metric, which allows ESPN Sport Science to compare them to hundreds of the other NFL players previously tested. This new and innovative methodology - using science to assess a player's potential - has an amazing track record.
Past predictions from the ESPN Sport Science team:
· Last year, they picked EJ Manuel as the top QB prospect in the draft, and he was the first QB taken off the board. In addition, he was the only QB taken in the first round, despite most pre-draft analysts agreeing that Geno Smith was the top QB prospect.
· The team's top three picks on defense from 2010-2012 -- Ndamukong Suh, Von Miller and Luke Kuechly -- were all Defensive Rookies of the Year.
· Three years ago, the QB they identified as the best of the best was Colin Kaepernick who has already started in a Super Bowl.