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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.

Mask-wearing pioneer Rip Hamilton has advice for Joel Embiid

Mask-wearing pioneer Rip Hamilton has advice for Joel Embiid

Detroit Pistons star Richard Hamilton wasn't the first player to wear a mask in the NBA but sometimes it feels like he was.

Newsweek caught up with Rip this week to talk about his mask-wearing days and to see if he had any words of wisdom for Joel Embiid. Hamilton first wore a mask for breaking his nose, but he continued to wear it for the remainder of his career.

Embiid made his first playoff appearance of his career last night in Miami while rocking a new mask complete with a custom visor to protect his eyes. It was clearly bothering him but he didn't let it dictate his play.

“It was difficult,” Embiid said of the mask. “But to me it wasn’t really about getting used to it because at the end of the day, no matter how much it bothers me, I’ve still got to be a basketball player."

Hamilton has famously said that he embraced the mask to the point of it becoming his "Batman cape" which allowed him to be more aggresive.

"Over a period of time I started to get used to it. As basketball players, a lot of times you go to the basket and it’s a lot of elbows being thrown, guys are getting poked in the eye," he told Newsweek this week. "You tend to clench up because you don’t want to get hit in the face. Once I started wearing that mask I wasn’t clenching up no more. I was willing to take contact more. I was able to get to the free throw line more because now I’m not scared of getting hit in the face. It kind of made me into a more aggressive and better basketball player."

Hamilton's message to Embiid prior to the series?

"Embrace it. Make it cool. Make it fun. Make it like a prop. Don’t get caught up in saying like, 'I got a piece of plastic on my face. I’m worrying about how I look, I’m worrying about my perception when I shoot.' When you’re out there in, like, shooting drills, don’t be so caught up in putting the mask on and trying to worry about how you shoot with it on. Put it on in the game and just wear it because our game is a non-thinking sport. React. You gotta read and react as quick as possible. The less thinking you do, the better you’ll be."

Rip also took notice of Embiid's frustration with the mask following the game. He encouraged Jo that it only gets easier.

I’ve thrown my mask off numerous times lil bro @joelembiid ...It will get more comfortable game by game ..Trust The Process. #MaskOnMaskOff#YouGotTheJuiceNow #Holdat #Yessir#Mask #TnT #nba #nbaplayoffs #sixers#sixersvsheat #LoveThisGame

Eagles players with the most to gain at OTAs — S Tre Sullivan

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AP Images

Eagles players with the most to gain at OTAs — S Tre Sullivan

The Eagles don’t hit the practice field as a team for another five weeks, yet each year coaches point to players who distinguish themselves during the months of April and May. These are the players with the most to gain in phases one and two of OTAs.

There isn’t an unheralded prospect in better position to climb the Eagles’ depth chart this spring than Tre Sullivan.

Never mind the fact that vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas just got done lauding Sullivan’s performance in a pre-draft interview on Thursday. The 24-year-old also happens to be one of only four safeties on the Eagles roster for the time being, creating a huge opportunity for an undrafted free agent from Shepherd College.

Competition will come soon enough, as safety is an obvious target for the Eagles in the upcoming draft. Even then, Sullivan could find himself in the mix for a big role with a good spring.

Last season, Corey Graham was the Eagles’ third safety behind Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod. Graham, a free agent departure, wound up playing nearly 40 percent of the team’s snaps.

This isn’t merely a backup job. There’s serious playing time at stake – and Sullivan can get a jump on the competition.

Sullivan made a name for himself in last year’s preseason opener against the Packers with a vicious hit on wide receiver Malachi Dupre. It was a scary moment, as Dupre was knocked out by the collision, but also a clean play and an example of the defensive back’s physicality.

Sullivan forced a fumble on the hit and finished with four tackles. He would go on to acquit himself well in three other preseason games, eventually landing on the Eagles’ practice squad.

Listed at 6-foot-0, 200 pounds, Sullivan is a relatively average size for a safety, but plays downhill and hits like a truck.

The Eagles liked the instincts and aggressiveness they saw on the field. Now, Sullivan has a chance to work out and learn from coaches in an environment where there really aren’t any other young players right now and he can be the focus of a lot of attention. Phases one and two of OTAs and the two weeks before the draft in particular could be a pivotal period.

If Sullivan impresses during these early stages, it could go a long way toward solidifying his place with the team.

Even if Sullivan is bested for the third safety spot, he could still wind up on the 53-man roster. The Eagles may opt to carry five since Chris Maragos primarily plays on special teams.

Sullivan will likely enter training camp as a player who’s considered to be on the bubble, and what he does when the pads go on will be most important. However, if he showed up and really nailed these workouts, that could go a long way toward how the team views him heading into this summer.