|Jake Long, Chris Long, Matt Ryan top draft|
|Written by Admin|
|Saturday, 26 April 2008 11:16|
From Michigan tackle Jake Long, who already had signed with the Miami Dolphins, to defensive end/linebacker Vernon Gholston going sixth to the New York Jets, there was an air of predictability to the proceedings. Unlike last year, when Notre Dame's Brady Quinn had to wait hours to be chosen, the players on-hand hit the Radio City Music Hall stage quickly.
``It's great to see the green room empty,'' said Virginia defensive end Chris Long, who went second to St. Louis.
``I had an open mind about it. I knew when you guys knew,'' Chris Long told reporters.
After St. Louis took the son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Howie Long, Matt Ryan of Boston College, who could solve the quarterback problems in Atlanta, went to the Falcons.
Following a long-standing tradition, Oakland went for the gamebreaking threat in Arkansas running back Darren McFadden, prompting the fans to boo loudly. Many wanted the two-time Heisman Trophy runner-up to fall to the New York Jets at No. 6.
All-American defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey of national champion LSU was taken fifth overall by the Chiefs. Dorsey patted his heart as he held up a No. 1 Chiefs red jersey that was so small he, frankly, could never fit into it.
The Jets wound up with Gholston of Ohio State, who must now learn to play in the 3-4 alignment the team prefers.
This draft was going quite predictably before the Patriots and Ravens traded away the next two spots. New Orleans moved up to No. 7 to get defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis of Southern California, who was recruited to the school by the Saints' new defensive line coach, Ed Orgeron.
New Orleans gave up the No. 10 overall spot and its third-round slot and got a fifth-rounder along with the chance to take Ellis.
Then Jacksonville moved up from 26th overall to eighth, where it grabbed Florida DE Derrick Harvey. The Jaguars gave the Ravens four picks to get to that spot.
The NFL cut the first round from 15 minutes per pick to 10, and the Dolphins used only a few seconds to hand in their card. The Rams and Falcons didn't take much longer, but the Raiders used almost their entire time, as did Kansas City.
Jake Long signed a five-year contract with the Dolphins this week worth $57.75 million, $30 million of it guaranteed.
``It was nice to be able to relax, because everything was done,'' the Wolverines star said.
Jake Long became the first top overall pick from Michigan since Tom Harmon in 1941. He was accompanied by several family members onstage as he donned a Dolphins hat.
Then came another Long, who proudly held up a Rams jersey and pointed to the fans in the upper deck of the hall. Chris Long is the second straight defensive lineman selected in the opening round by St. Louis, following Nebraska's Adam Carriker last year. Carriker likely will move to DT to open a spot for his new teammate.
``I knew I was in the running, but all the guys here were great players and they could have chosen anyone,'' Chris Long said. ``It came down to needs.''
Ryan has an open course to starting in Atlanta, with Michael Vick in jail on dogfighting charges, and only journeymen Chris Redman and Joey Harrington to compete with.
``I have to go down and gain the respect of my teammates, do everything I can do to get on the field next year,'' Ryan said.
Asked about replacing Vick in Atlanta and whether he expected to play or watch as a rookie, Ryan added: ``I'll go down there to do all I can to be successful, try to not be distracted, try to win. ... There's not a right or wrong way to do it. I want to get there and learn the offense so I have a chance to play.''
McFadden joins a crowded backfield in Oakland, where Justin Fargas recently signed a new contract and Dominic Rhodes and LaMont Jordan are on the roster.
Dorsey will be a building block for the Chiefs, who are revamping their roster this offseason. Gholston could do the same for the Jets, who have lacked a true pass-rushing threat since trading away John Abraham.
Following the trades, Cincinnati took USC linebacker Keith Rivers ninth, then the Patriots selected another linebacker, Jerod Mayo of Tennessee. Buffalo went for Troy CB Leodis McKelvin and Denver took Boise State tackle Ryan Clady.
Carolina, looking for a complement to DeAngelo Williams, selected Oregon running back Jonathan Stewart. Chicago, which also is in the market for a running back, instead took Vanderbilt tackle Chris Williams for its spotty offensive line.
Chris Long's teammate, guard/tackle Branden Albert, went 15th to Kansas City after the Chiefs traded up with Detroit. Two slots later, tackle Gosder Cherilus of Boston College went to the Lions, prompting some in the audience to chant ``FIRE MILLEN'' in reference to Lions president Matt Millen.
The first player from the former Division I-AA went 16th when Arizona selected CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie of Tennessee State. At No. 18, another small college guy was taken when Baltimore traded up to get quarterback Joe Flacco of Delaware with a pick Houston had owned.