The NFL Draft is always one of the biggest events of the NFL offseason, with many fans tuning in to see who their team selects.
The event has been hosted on ESPN for over four decades now and one of the staples each year has been NFL Draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. Kiper has been a part of ESPN’s coverage of the event since 1984, but this year his involvement will be a little different.
“The NFL Draft is the highlight of my year and I am looking forward to taking part in my 39th this month on ESPN,” wrote Kiper. “For all three days, I will appear from my home studio in Maryland rather than onsite in Vegas as I am unvaccinated from Covid-19.
“I completely support everyone determining what’s best for their individual circumstance and recognizing the value of vaccines. Simply put, my Covid vaccination decision is very specific to my own personal medical history.”
I am looking forward to being part of the 2022 NFL Draft, my 39th for ESPN pic.twitter.com/C5ea9NjdqK
— Mel Kiper Jr. (@MelKiperESPN) April 18, 2022
This news from Kiper has certainly gotten the NFL world talking, with many upset that Kiper will not be in person at the draft this year.
Not going to be the same without Mel physically there. We'll see how it plays out https://t.co/moH1g3u6Xi
— Mello (@mello) April 18, 2022
Still can’t wait for the draft. Nothing but love to the Maryland Genius!! https://t.co/BrY3RZj2I7
— Brandon Dietz (@LegendaryDietz) April 18, 2022
— Justin LaSalata (@justinlasalata) April 18, 2022
Others are happy that Kiper will still have a role in the event despite him not being there in person.
You’re great at what you do (and have been for a long time); we’re all looking forward to hearing your insights and observations during the 3 days of the Draft. https://t.co/PosnPlYYSh
— Mike Tannenbaum (@RealTannenbaum) April 18, 2022
Can’t wait for your insight Mel! https://t.co/yIBgjnwadW
— Dan Huelsman (@TheDanHuelsman) April 18, 2022
The topic of the COVID-19 vaccine is about as debated a topic as any at the moment, and many took the chance to criticize Kiper for his decision.
Huge character concerns https://t.co/YHTu1vN1Cg
— partlyglouberman (@Tegridygloub) April 18, 2022
Wow, his stock is really gonna fall now. I’m thinking he’s lucky if he gets selected on day 2. https://t.co/aaFNLNWHXX
— Boss Ass Anthony (@edgewalker81) April 18, 2022
You look at Kiper and there's a lot to like in terms of the tools on display but there ARE concerns about the mental makeup https://t.co/FcSzI8MjsI
— Drew Magary (@drewmagary) April 18, 2022
For those who are a fan of Kiper, it is nice that they will still be able to get his analysis, even if it’ll be from his home. However, it will certainly be a weird feeling not seeing him along with the rest of ESPN’s broadcasters as we are used to for this upcoming NFL Draft.