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Experts praise Bills pick, draft gets big bang in local ratings

The Top 10 takeaways from bouncing between ESPN and The NFL Network watching the NFL Draft Thursday night:

1) ESPN analyst Louis Riddick and NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock, who are the experts most worth listening to, applauded the Buffalo Bills choice of LSU cornerback Tre' Davious White with the 27th pick of the draft.

Riddick, who is the brother of former Bill Robb Riddick and my favorite ESPN analyst, had the highest praise: He said White would have been the first corner he would have taken in the draft. That was saying something since Ohio State's Marshon Lattimore was the No. 11 pick by New Orleans, Alabama corner Marlon Humphrey was the 16th pick by Baltimore, USC's Adoree' Jackson was No. 18 by Tennessee and Ohio State's Gareon Conley was picked No. 24 by Oakland. (In his mock draft, Riddick had White being taken with the fifth pick.)

Mayock said of White: "He is not flashy, he's not sexy but he is one of the most solid corners in this draft."

Five things to know about new Bills CB Tre'Davious White

2) Western New Yorkers stayed up for the pick, which was delayed from about 9 p.m. when the Bills traded the No. 10 pick to around 11 p.m. when they picked 27th.

ESPN had a 7.1 rating from 8 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. and a 7.0 rating from 11 p.m. to 11:15 p.m. when the Bills picked. Its peak rating was a 9.6 at 9 p.m. when the Bills were originally slotted to pick. The NFL Network had a 3.3 rating from 8 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. and a 3.8 rating at 11 p.m. for the Bills pick.

To put that in perspective, the coverage beat all prime-time entertainment programs here except "The Big Bang Theory," which had a 11.2 rating for the half hour it was on.

3) Twitter removed all suspense about the Bills pick, with several reporters saying White was chosen minutes before the cable networks announced it. The cable networks agreed before the draft not to announce the picks before Commissioner Roger Goodell, which led to analysts speculating about who would be picked after they had already been made.

4) The phrase of the night was "Swiss Army knives." Mayock and ESPN's Jon Gruden both used that expression when describing versatile players.

5) When Mississippi's Evan Engram was selected by the New York Giants, former St. Joe's quarterback Chad Kelly got as much time highlight time throwing to his tight end. And Kelly, who is expected to go in the late rounds or not even be drafted, looked better than the second pick in the draft by Chicago, Mitchell Trubisky.

How NFL Network's Mike Mayock sizes up Chad Kelly

6) After the Bears gave up a lot to move up to pick Trubisky, ESPN proceeded to show highlights of several of the North Carolina's quarterback's mistakes last season. It was very funny – unless you are a Bears fan. ESPN gave Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson the same treatment after he was picked by Houston.

7) ESPN promoted its talk show "First Take" during its coverage. That's if you call showing co-hosts screaming promoting the show. Does ESPN really think those screaming promos will attract viewers or is it just trying to boost aspirin sales?

8) Did anyone miss host Chris Berman? Didn't think so. (Update: A friend just texted me that I am wrong. No one circles the wagons more for Berman than his fans in Buffalo.)

9) The Bills trading down enabled fans in the NHL's No. 1 rated hockey market to switch over to watch the Pittsburgh's 3-2 victory over the Washington Capitals. The final minutes were crazy good.

10) I did miss hearing about the cab driver who used to feed Berman the Bills top draft choice annually before it was made. Twitter has now become that cab driver.


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