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Why aren’t Mel Kiper and Todd McShay doing the draft together?

The duo are apart for the first time in a long time.

Mel Kiper and Todd McShay, ESPN’s dueling duo of the NFL Draft aren’t working together this weekend. In a stark departure from tradition, Kiper is part of the ESPN broadcast, while McShay is over on ABC doing his own work.

It’s not part of a long-term plan to split up the duo, but rather a factor of Kiper’s COVID-19 vaccination status, which is preventing him from attending the draft in person in Las Vegas. The ESPN broadcaster announced earlier this month why we won’t see him on the set.

So, while Kiper may be part of the ESPN studio show where he’ll offer his analysis from home, McShay is in Vegas with Louis Riddick at the ABC crew covering the event live. It’s a fairly large departure, but we should see the two back together in 2023 so they can yell at each other about the route-running of a random, New Mexico State receiver that only they and the most hardcore of draft followers know about.

Kiper isn’t the only notable absence from this year’s draft. NFL insider Adam Schefter will not be part of the broadcast in any capacity. Schefter is attending his son’s college graduation, so he won’t be a part of the weekend’s festivities — though it’s safe to imagine we’ll hear from him on Twitter all weekend long.