They built a fake Art Museum on the NFL draft stage in front of the actual Philly Art Museum

They built a fake Art Museum on the NFL draft stage in front of the actual Philly Art Museum

Live draft coverage begins Thursday at 5 p.m. with Philly Sports Talk and continues until midnight on CSN, CSNPhilly.com and the NBC Sports App.

So why didn't they just have the NFL draft at the Wells Fargo Center? It's a question many have asked in the weeks leading up to Thursday's kickoff of the 2017 draft. Especially from local Philly residents who have been inconvenienced by all of the road closures in the area.

The answer is pretty simple: because that doesn't look as cool. And they needed room for the behemoth of the Draft Experience for fans, probably.

But really it's about optics.

The NFL wants things to look cool.

You know what looks cool on television from an aerial shot? The Ben Franklin Parkway, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Schuylkill River behind there somewhere with some pretty boat houses lit up at night reflecting off the river.

Except logistics sometimes get in the way, so if you can't actually see the Art Museum on TV with the gigantic stage that is still being installed in front of it, well... just build a fake one.

That's what the NFL is doing.

BillyPenn's Dan Levy was at the media walk through of the space on Tuesday and described the faux pillars in a very thorough post.

"Let’s be clear, it looks awesome," Levy writes. "But it's fake. The columns are made of a dense foam, secured with metal rods running through. No, a brisk wind will not knock them down, nor will an exuberant draftee walking out from the players' green room, which is set up behind (and above) where the Commissioner will introduce them."

NFL Director of Event Operations Eric Finkelstein explained the thought behind the look yesterday.

"There's a little bit of an illusion there. You found us out," he said. "We wanted to highlight, not only the Rocky steps, but the Museum -- real staples of this city to show this event is Philadelphia and part of Philadelphia. So we have replicated the front of the museum as part of our stage."

Who's taking bets on whether they'll get Sly Stallone to show up or if they'll get that random dude who wears a grey sweatsuit around town with a black fedora to make an appearance?

Regardless of how the giant structure may look in person, we're willing to bet it's going to look dope on TV.

For all of your other draft in Philly related questions, the best place to start is to download the "NFL Draft" app from your cell phone's app store. It has maps, FAQs, schedules, etc. It also has a barcode you can use when at the draft to try and be a seat filler inside the "closer" portion of the draft theater on Thursday through Saturday. That's different from the Draft Experience area that is open to all fans without a ticket.

We also have a photo gallery with some more video from the Parkway right here.

Catching up on some big Eagles stories from Week 1 of OTAs

Catching up on some big Eagles stories from Week 1 of OTAs

It was great to be back at the NovaCare Complex on Tuesday and take in an Eagles practice, even if it was non-contact. There’s a lot of buzz around the team right now, and minimal time to cover everything, so let’s dive into some of the storylines that slipped through the cracks during the first week of OTAs.

The thought that the Eagles are secretly fuming over Carson Wentz seeing a private quarterback guru seems ridiculous. It’s not uncommon for NFL players -- even quarterbacks -- to seek council during the offseason. Tom Brady did it, and I don’t recall any drama ever unfolding with the Patriots as a result of that. Perhaps some mild concern has been expressed behind closed doors, as Wentz’s mechanics are a constant work in progress, and Eagles coaches surely prefer he learn the methods they’re teaching. Then again, I highly doubt somebody earned the title of “quarterback guru” if they’re not passing along standard NFL techniques. It was an even bigger reach to suggest Doug Pederson’s displeasure over this development was on display during his press conference on Tuesday.

I’m not one to place a whole lot of stock into OTAs, but seeing rookie cornerback Rasul Douglas on the field with the first-team defense in nickel situations is a promising sign. He didn’t look out of place, either. At 6-foot-2, 209 pounds, Douglas matched up well with Alshon Jeffery. I could see his size being an asset against NFC East rivals like Dez Bryant, Brandon Marshall and Terrelle Pryor -- bigger receivers the Eagles will face two times each this season. While performance in OTAs typically means squat, it was about this time last year when Jalen Mills began ascending the depth chart, and he wound up playing quite a bit. It’s early, but given the situation at cornerback, not at all far-fetched to anticipate a similar role coming for Douglas.

While I agree with the premise Nelson Agholor could improve and go on to have a respectable NFL career, Eagles teammate Brandon Graham isn’t really the most relatable example. It’s time for the seemingly annual reminder that Graham’s progression was derailed by a major knee injury as a rookie. He essentially missed the following season, and was buried on the depth chart upon returning. A year later, the defense switched to a 3-4, which was an adjustment as well. Yet, time and time again, Graham would perform at a high level whenever he got into games, finally earning his starting job back in 2015. Agholor has been a starter the past two seasons, and aside from a high ankle sprain his rookie year, he’s been relatively healthy. What’s the excuse here? Agholor may be a late bloomer, but Graham’s experience breaking into the league was vastly different.

The revelation that Vinny Curry was affected by a knee injury last season can be taken one of two ways. Some may see it as an excuse for his modest performance after signing a massive contract extension a year ago, which currently looks like an expensive mistake. I prefer to view the injury news as another reason to give Curry a slight pass. We’ve all seen what an explosive pass rusher he could be, racking up 9.0 sacks in 2014 while playing only one-third of the Eagles’ defensive snaps. If he was hampered by the knee -- Curry admitted wearing a brace for much of the season -- that could certainly help explain why he often seemed invisible. Even if he simply wasn’t very good, Curry has another opportunity to prove himself in 2017. Might as well take the optimistic outlook.

Mike Schmidt shows off new sunscreen dispensers at Citizens Bank Park

Mike Schmidt shows off new sunscreen dispensers at Citizens Bank Park

Phillies legend Mike Schmidt is teaming up with Mayor Kenney, the city of Philadelphia, Independence Blue Cross, and the Richard David Kann Melanoma Foundation to help protect you from the sun's harmful rays.

As part of the Sun Smart America initiative, the Phillies will place 12 sunscreen dispensers around Citizens Bank Park in addition to 6 dispensers located elsewhere around the city. 

This Sunday, May 28th, is also Melanoma Awareness Day at the ballpark when the Phillies host the Cincinnati Reds at 1:35. 

Schmidt will throw out the ceremonial first pitch and try to promote the importance of protecting one's skin from the sun. He knows from a trying personal experience.

"The sun almost took my life," Schmidt told the Palm Beach Post after his battle with skin cancer. He spent months going through heavy radiation and chemotherapy and is currently cancer free.

The sunscreen dispensers at the ballpark can be found at all entry gates as well as on the Rooftop, Pavillion, and Terrace levels beginning on Sunday.