NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. will participate in ESPN’s television broadcast covering the tentpole event from his home studio in Maryland and not onsite in Las Vegas because he is unvaccinated against COVID-19, he said Monday.
Kiper made the announcement on his Twitter page.
“I completely support everyone determining what’s best for their individual circumstance and recognize the value of vaccines,” Kiper said in the statement. “Simply put, my Covid vaccination decision is very specific to my own personal medical history. I appreciate my colleagues, particularly the production staff and my fellow commentators, for their support and flexibility. NFL fans are the most passionate in all of sports and I can’t wait for another great NFL Draft.”
This will be Kiper’s 39th NFL draft broadcast on ESPN. The NFL draft’s first round starts April 28, with Rounds 2-3 the following day and the final four rounds wrapping up the event on April 30.
Las Vegas was originally scheduled to host 2020’s edition of the draft, but the COVID-19 pandemic altered those plans, forcing that year’s draft to be held remotely. In order to minimize altered plans, last year’s draft was held in Cleveland, with Vegas being awarded the event in 2022.
Kiper, one of the most recognizable figures in NFL draft media, has been providing coverage around the event for ESPN since 1984.