This is a weekend for the Patriots and the NFL as they go through the annual college draft to determine where those stars of the future will begin their careers in the pros. ESPN and the NFL Network will both have extensive live coverage of the selections starting tomorrow at noon.

Keep up with the coverage of the Patriots selections from the newspapers and blogs throughout New England and nationally on the Patriots Daily Links page.

For sports fans, it’s not a leap to say that this is the greatest weekend of the year for viewing. In addition to the draft there is MLB baseball with the Red Sox playing the Devil Rays in Tampa as a prelude to their first meeting with the New York Yankees on Monday and Tuesday of next week. (Red Sox Daily Links page) In addition there is NBA and NHL playoff action, with seven games scheduled for both Saturday and Sunday. There is also golf, NASCAR and MLS soccer on TV this weekend.

Here is the latest ratings update from RadioandRecords. The WEEI hosts have been crowing all day today about again being number one in their slot and demographics, (18-54 year old males) however, overall the station is down nearly a point from what it was last year at this time, and with a 4.6, sits in fifth place behind number one overall, WBZ, which pulled in a 7.1. ESPN Boston, after appearing in the last two updates, does not appear in this one.

Charting out the last year is pretty startling:


Now, as mentioned, the WEEI programs might be maintaining enough listeners in their very specific blocks that they can continue to tout the claim that they are number one. But in terms of total listeners, the above chart has to be at least somewhat disturbing to them as compared to the four stations that finished ahead of them in the overall ratings.


*To aid with your draft day enjoyment, the crew from Cold Hard Football Facts have teamed up with Harpoon Brewery to host the first NFL Draught Day tomorrow, Saturday, April 29, at the Cask ‘n Flagon Pub, next to Fenway Park in Boston. The event runs from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. with beer, food and Draught Day festivities and analysis. There will be beer- and football-related trivia and prizes

*I have to say, even though they’re trying to update it more often, the Lawrence Eagle Tribune website is a disaster. Stories are posted and the links expire 3 hours later, you can get to a story one time and then not another. Sometimes columns are restricted under the “Plus Edition” login, other times they’re not…it’s an inconsistent, maddening disaster and it keeps a wider audience from reading the work of Rob Bradford, Michael Muldoon and others on the paper. Stop…I can hear the jokes now… a system which keeps readers from being exposed to the stories of Bill Burt and Hector Longo can only be a good thing…

Here’s the weekly sports media columns from around the country:

Fluto Shinzawa, Boston Globe – Another team at draft.

Jim Baker, Nashua Telegraph – Ready for marathon coverage of NFL Draft.

Andrew Neff, Bangor Daily News – Uneasiness stirs among UM broadcasters – New group’s rep seeks to quell concerns.

Richard Sandomir, New York Times – Look for Something New at the N.F.L. Draft: A Second Network.

Also from Sandomir – (Keith) Jackson Silences His Voice of College Football.

Neil Best, New York Newsday – Draft getting double coverage.

Bob Raissman, New York Daily News – Bad sign if J.D. signs off.

Phil MushnikNew York Post – Keith Isn’t All Bad, Honest.

Andrew Marchand, New York Post – Sam Has ‘Eye’ on WCBS.

Also from Marchand – Nothing Like It. (Red Sox/Yankees)

Michael Hiestand, USA Today – Whoa, Nellie! Is Jackson really gone?

Also from Hiestand: ESPN puts vast resources to work to combat NFL Network.

Dave Darling, Orlando Sentinel – ESPN has company at draft.

Barry Jackson, Miami Herald – ESPN, NFL Network doubling up on draft.

Chris Zelkovich, Toronto Star – Storm brews over major sports events.

David Barron, Houston Chronicle – Analysts say Texans right to pass on Young.

Tom Hoffarth, Los Angeles Daily News – Facts need to get in the way.

Larry Stewart, Los Angeles Times – NFL Draft Hype Produces Dueling Gurus.

Also from Stewart: Jackson Didn’t Want Fuss as He Leaves ABC.

Jay Posner, San Diego Union Tribune – ESPN loses TV draft monopoly.

More links for the weekend:

Bill Simmons lists out more reasons why he loves sports.

More NFL draft coverage from the New York Sports News page and the Bay Area Sports pages.

Chad Finn is always a worthy read.

Sheriff Sully is a prolific poster and should have plenty of thoughts on baseball and the NFL draft.

If you’re worried about the play of the Red Sox the last two games in Cleveland and with the Yankees on tap next week, you can take some solace in the fact that the Red Sox have already beaten the Yankees. On Jonathan Papelbon’s Xbox. The Red Sox closer took on the Yankees’ Kyle Farnsworth using Xbox Live this past Monday, each pitcher representing their own team in the MLB 2K6 contest. Papelbon and the Red Sox defeated the Yankees in the game, 4-2. Papelbon played from Cleveland while Farnsworth was in New York city. The two went head to head to help demonstrate the online capabilities of the Xbox Live.

Here’s a shot of Papelbon in action against Farnsworth:


Have a great weekend, I’ll be back on Monday with a look at the Patriots draft coverage, and then it’s a short week for me on the site…