The Athletic Wants to Fill Your Draft Knowledge Gap

By T.L. Stanley 

When there are 257 different players being drafted and hundreds more getting evaluated for the National Football League’s 32 teams, there’s bound to be a knowledge gap, even for diehard fans.

But if asked for a hot take on the current NFL Draft, nobody wants to be caught off guard. Yet the folks in a new campaign for The Athletic face just such a dilemma.

Confronted with nuanced questions on the subject—the pinnacle of the NFL offseason—they thoroughly and publicly choke. Video ads zero in on their wide-eyed moments of panic and the embarrassing aftermath, with one man losing his suburban street cred and another killing a date vibe.


The Athletic aims to help people overcome their “draft-induced social anxiety,” with the recently launched “Speak Draft Fluently.” The work, from Bandits & Friends, includes short spots, audio and social posts, along with an interactive site and online tutorial that gives “language lessons” via features like a “draft take generator.”

The edutaining program, created with assists from Goondocks, Barking Owl and Built by Mechanic, intends to showcase The Athletic’s voluminous coverage of the topic and its stable of in-house experts. Need to know about obscure third-round O-line prospects from Toledo? The sports brand has you covered, per the campaign.

The work, running through the draft this weekend, follows Bandits & Friends’ previous effort for the client, called “Losing is for Losers,” and will get paid media buys across Meta platforms, football-focused podcast networks and New York Times display.