Emmy Award-Winning Analyst Kirk Herbstreit Headlines New ESPN Series on Top NFL Draft Quarterback Prospects


Emmy Award-Winning Analyst Kirk Herbstreit Headlines New ESPN Series on Top NFL Draft Quarterback Prospects

  • Seven-Episode QB21 with Kirk Herbstreit to Feature Candid Conversations with Justin Fields, Trey Lance, Trevor Lawrence, Mac Jones, Kyle Trask and Zach Wilson
  • QB21 with Kirk Herbstreit Episodes to Premiere on ESPN, ESPN2, and ABC
  • Senior NFL Draft Analysts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay Front Multiple NFL Draft Specials

Leading into the 2021 NFL Draft, ESPN’s lead college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit will headline a new ESPN series featuring candid conversations between the five-time Emmy Award-winner and six of the highest-rated quarterbacks in this year’s class. QB21 with Kirk Herbstreit, premiering on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC, will delve into the journeys of Justin Fields (Ohio State), Trey Lance (North Dakota State), Trevor Lawrence (Clemson), Mac Jones (Alabama), Kyle Trask (Florida) and Zach Wilson (BYU), as Herbstreit, who covered the players extensively during their college careers, prompts each of the quarterbacks to open up about their lives, both on-and-off the field, and mindset leading into the 2021 NFL Draft (April 29 – May 1), a pinnacle event in their playing careers.

QB21 with Kirk Herbstreit Premieres Saturday, April 17; All Episodes Air across Four Consecutive Days
The seven-episode QB21 series will premiere across four consecutive days, beginning Saturday, April 17, with three episodes on ESPN featuring Lawrence (12:30 p.m. ET), Jones (3 p.m.) and Fields (3:30 p.m.). Episodes with Trask (7 p.m.) and Lance (7:30 p.m.) debut Monday, April 19, and with Wilson (9 p.m.) on Tuesday, April 20, all on ESPN2. A compilation program featuring all six quarterbacks will air on Sunday, April 18 (2 p.m.) on ABC.

Each episode will re-air multiple times in the coming weeks, including encores on SEC Network for Jones and Trask, and ACC Network for Lawrence.

“When I thought about the approach for this series, my goal was to dive into the personal aspect of these six NFL prospects: how they’re wired, what makes them tick, and the personal challenges that they’ve had to deal with as an athlete.” said Herbstreit. “So each conversation is all encompassing; about trying to get to know them from the very beginning, as early as we could go back, all the way to where they are now, on the cusp of their lives changing.”

“Working with Kirk, we developed a show concept early in the NFL Draft process, based around this year’s quarterback class,” said Lee Fitting, ESPN senior vice president of production. “Kirk has a strong familiarity with the prospects and was passionate about providing the QBs a platform where they could share who they are as people. We immediately pursued the show, knowing it would add to an already robust NFL Draft portfolio, yet QB21 with Kirk Herbstreit doesn’t happen without Justin, Mac, Trey, Trevor, Kyle, and Zach entrusting Kirk and our entire features unit.  We thank each of them and are eager to showcase a different side of their story leading into the NFL Draft.”

Among the themes for each episode of QB21 with Kirk Herbstreit:

  • Justin Fields: Leadership has been an inherent trait for Fields, a characteristic his teammates hold in high regard, which Herbstreit has witnessed first-hand. The fellow Ohio State quarterbacks discuss Fields’ approach and how his college career, one that began in his home state and ended with a Big Ten Championship and CFP National Championship appearance, have prepared him for the NFL.
  • Mac Jones: Preparation has been fuel for Jones’ success at Alabama, honing his mental and physical skills as a two-year backup to Heisman Trophy finalist Tua Tagovailoa for two seasons. Jones discusses how that foundation and approach resulted in him becoming a National Championship quarterback for the Crimson Tide this past season.
  • Trey Lance: The FCS star has a mantra he lives by: ‘Know Your Worth.’ Learn how that way of life has guided him throughout his college career and into the NFL Draft process.
  • Trevor Lawrence: No stranger to the spotlight, Lawrence has been anointed a prodigy quarterback when he was 14 years old. Yet, he has continued to live up to expectations at every level. Now, he is dealing with his greatest challenge yet, as the anticipated No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft.
  • Kyle Trask: A high school backup turned multi-year starter for the Florida Gators, Trask has learned that nothing is given and everything is proven. His journey is one that has set him up for NFL success.
  • Zach Wilson: A multi-skilled quarterback, Wilson uses his instincts and improvisational approach while leading his team. He dives into this unique aspect of the game and how it translates to his future.

In addition to the conversation with Herbstreit, Pro Football Hall of Famers Peyton Manning and Steve Young will make appearances during the Trask and Wilson episodes, respectively. Former NFL Rookie of the Year and Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George will appear in Justin Fields’ episodes.

Senior NFL Draft Analysts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay Fronted Programming among Multiple NFL Draft Specials This Month

QB21 with Kirk Herbstreit adds to an already wide array of NFL Draft programming across ESPN networks, with senior NFL Draft analysts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay leading a number of specials including more mock drafts (SportsCenter Special Presented by IBM: Kiper 4.0 on April 13 and SportsCenter Special Presented by IBM: Mel and Todd’s Dueling Mock Draft on April 20) and SportsCenter Special Presented by IBM: You’ve Got Mel and Todd on Thursday, April 15. Additional NFL Draft programming includes:

  • Hey Rookie: Welcome to the NFL featuring Florida TE Kyle Pitts, Ohio State QB Justin Fields, Penn State LB Micah Parsons and South Carolina CB Jaycee Horn:
    • Airing four consecutive weeks (April 13, 20, 27, and May 5) the NFL Films-produced series follows the soon-to-be NFL rookies through their final days in college football, to their hometowns, their Pro Days and through the NFL Draft.
  • NFL Matchup on Wednesday, April 21 and Tuesday, April 27
    • Produced by NFL Films, game tape of current draft prospects are examined to project whose skills translate best to the NFL. The show will focus on a range of prospects and positions, including S Andre Cisco (Syracuse), WR Elijah Moore (Ole Miss), CB Patrick Surtain (Alabama), and DL Payton Turner (Houston).
  • SportsCenter Special Presented by IBM: QB Class of 2021 on Monday, April 26
    • An in-depth look at this year’s quarterback class, which is projected to make history with their respective draft positions.
  • SportsCenter Special Presented by IBM: NFL Nation Mock Draft on Tuesday, April 27
    • ESPN’s NFL Nation reporters make selections for the team each covers.

Additionally, ESPN+ has multiple NFL Draft programming specials available now and forthcoming, including more mock drafts, quarterback specials and in-depth looks at team needs. More details on those specials will be released soon.

The Walt Disney Company Presents the 2021 NFL Draft
The Walt Disney Company’s team of veteran hosts, analysts and insiders will present the 2021 NFL Draft live coast-to-coast from Cleveland beginning Thursday, April 29, at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT on ESPN, ABC, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Radio, all available on the ESPN App. In addition, the event will be televised on NFL Network presented by Verizon and streamed live through NFL digital properties.

For the third consecutive year, ESPN and ABC will provide distinct prime-time presentations on Day 1 and 2. ESPN will again offer the traditional draft telecast – a combination of X’s and O’s analysis, player highlights and storytelling – while ABC, featuring the eleven-time Sports Emmy Award-winning College GameDay Built by The Home Depot crew, will cover the event with an emphasis on the individual journeys of NFL Draft prospects. More: https://bit.ly/3d06snq

ESPN also unveiled the latest rendition in its multi-platform “Ready for Football” creative campaign in support of the NFL Draft. The spot continues to celebrate ESPN as a great place for NFL fans to connect with the players, teams and storylines of the NFL, 365 days a year. ESPN once again worked with creative agency Arts & Letters for the campaign.

NFL Draft Original Programming – ESPN Networks

Date Time (ET) Show Network
Tue, Apr 13 7 p.m. SportsCenter Special Presented by IBM: Kiper Mock 4.0 ESPN2
  8 p.m. Hey Rookie: Welcome to the NFL (Episode 1) ESPN2
Thu, Apr 15 9 p.m. SportsCenter Special Presented by IBM: You’ve Got Mel and Todd ESPN
Sat, Apr 17 12:30 p.m. QB21 with Kirk Herbstreit (Trevor Lawrence) ESPN
  3 p.m. QB21 with Kirk Herbstreit (Mac Jones) ESPN
  3:30 p.m. QB21 with Kirk Herbstreit (Justin Fields) ESPN
Sun, Apr 18 2 p.m. QB21 with Kirk Herbstreit (Compilation Show) ABC
Mon, Apr 19 7 p.m. QB21 with Kirk Herbstreit (Kyle Trask) ESPN2
  7:30 p.m. QB21 with Kirk Herbstreit (Trey Lance) ESPN2
Tue, Apr 20 8:30 p.m. Hey Rookie: Welcome to the NFL (Episode 2) ESPN2
  9 p.m. QB21 with Kirk Herbstreit (Zach Wilson) ESPN2
Wed, Apr 21 9 p.m. NFL Matchup ESPN2
Mon, Apr 26 8 p.m. QB Class of 2021 ESPN2
Tue, Apr 27 8 p.m. Hey Rookie: Welcome to the NFL (Episode 3) ESPN2
  8:30 p.m. SportsCenter Special Presented by IBM: NFL Nation Mock Draft ESPN2
  10 p.m. NFL Matchup ESPN2
Tue, May 4 7 p.m. SportsCenter Special Presented by IBM: Draft Grades ESPN2
Wed, May 5 8 p.m. Hey Rookie: Welcome to the NFL (Episode 4) ESPN2


Contacts: Allie Stoneberg ([email protected]) and Derek Volner ([email protected])


Derek Volner

I currently lead ESPN’s NFL Communications, including Monday Night Football, NFL Draft and studio programming. Previously, I did the same for ESPN’s vast college football portfolio. I have been with ESPN since 2013.
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