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NFL Network Floods Zone on Draft Coverage

NFL Network has cameras in 20 NFL team “war rooms” for the league draft, four more than the network had a year ago. Live coverage of the first round of the annual football draft kicks off on NFL Network 8 p.m. Thursday (which ESPN also airs), followed by rounds 2-3 April 29 and rounds 4-7 April 30.

The draft takes place in Chicago, at Roosevelt University, and at Grant Park on Saturday. The No. 1 pick goes to the Los Angeles Rams.

The Pittsburgh Steelers and San Diego Chargers are allowing cameras in their war rooms for the first time, according to NFL Network.

The network’s draft coverage started April 24 and will total 71 hours when it’s finished. offers live streaming video.

Draft expert Mike Mayock and host Rich Eisen lead the on-air talent, along with Melissa Stark and Rhett Lewis. Former players Michael Irvin, Deion Sanders and Kurt Warner, among others, are pitching in, along with former NFL head coaches Steve Mariucci and Brian Billick. College coaches David Shaw (Stanford), Urban Meyer (Ohio State) and Brian Kelly (Notre Dame) are also contributing to the coverage.

There’s even a Red Carpet Special Thursday evening, hosted by Stark and Irvin as the prospects arrive at the host site.

ESPN too airs the draft, and the current one marks 37 straight years of doing so. A one-hour SportsCenter Special: Draft Countdown airs at 7 p.m. Thursday, then live coverage is on at 8. It picks up again 7 p.m. Friday, then Saturday at noon.

Verizon is sponsoring the NFL Network coverage.