|Russell first in draft, Johnson second, Quinn plummets to 22nd|
|Written by Admin|
|Saturday, 28 April 2007 10:35|
Russell was the top overall choice, by the offense-deficient Raiders. The 6-foot-6 junior QB who can throw the ball 80 yards fits the mold for Al Davis, who loves the deep ball.
Obviously, in the eyes of NFL teams, LSU players have plenty of draft-day luster. Five spots after Russell, Tigers safety LaRon Landry went to Washington.
And the glow of the Golden Dome has severely faded.
Quinn sat and watched 21 players chosen before he went to the Browns, the team he grew up rooting for in Dublin, Ohio. Once considered the best prospect in this year's crop, he was still unchosen when the Browns traded back into the first round, getting Dallas' pick.
When selected, Quinn let out a big sigh of relief and looked upward before shaking commissioner Roger Goodell's hand as the fans who booed him before the draft cheered this time.
Russell had no such anxious moments.
When Roger Goodell, conducting his first draft as commissioner, announced Russell's name, Raiders fans in the crowd cheered loudly. But there was a mixture of cheers and boos when Russell, who is bigger than some NFL linemen, came on stage to don a Raiders hat and hold up a No. 1 black jersey.
Then came chants of ``L-S-U, L-S-U'' for the man who soon will be in charge of the Oakland offense.
``I kind of had faith in it. Everybody had been talking about it for a while,'' Russell said of being chosen first. ``It's a dream come true. Growing up as a kid playing every sport in life and always seeing the guys on the professional level, and here I am today.''
``I can't wait to get in the black and silver and get to work.''
While he works for a team that went 2-14 last season and scored only 168 points, Landry heads to the Redskins to team with Sean Taylor in what could be a dynamic set of safeties.
``Our feeling there was, with this pick, we need to pick someone that we feel is going to play for a long time,'' coach Joe Gibbs said, ``and have a chance to do some outstanding things.''
After Russell's selection, Detroit declined several trade options for the No. 2 overall pick and chose wide receiver Calvin Johnson of Georgia Tech, considered the best athlete available. It was the fourth time in five years the Lions chose a wideout high in the draft. Only one of the others, Roy Williams, has succeeded in Detroit. Johnson, an All-American junior known as ``Spider-man,'' is 6-4 and 237 pounds and can run a 4.35 in the 40.
``I told him when he was here (for a pre-draft visit) that he wouldn't get past 2,'' Lions president Matt Millen said. ``This guy is the real deal.''
For Quinn, the deal was disappointing. When Miami selected Ohio State wide receiver-kick returner Ted Ginn Jr., at No. 9, Dolphins fans at Radio City Music Hall let out a gasp, then booed. And then a huge portion of fans began chanting, ``BRADY, BRADY.''
While everyone else in the players' room was dressed in a sharp suit, Quinn had stripped down to his vest and looked puzzled. He soon after left the room - and eye of the TV cameras - with the other players on hand already chosen.
Quinn kept flashing a smile that became harder to maintain with each selection, perhaps recalling how Matt Leinart dropped last year and Aaron Rodgers plummeted in 2005. Leinart only fell to 10th to Arizona; Rodgers went 24th overall to Green Bay.
The Browns gave up a second-round choice and next year's No. 1 to the Cowboys to get Quinn.
Cleveland took Wisconsin offensive tackle Joe Thomas at No. 3. Thomas spent the morning fishing back home rather than attend the draft.
``It didn't surprise me,'' Thomas said of being taken by the Browns. ``I hoped for a few months that Cleveland would pick me. They showed a lot of interest in me all the way along.''
Tampa Bay picked the first defensive player, Clemson end Gaines Adams, who at 6-5 is an inch shorter and three pounds lighter than Russell.
``Oh, it's a tremendous honor,'' Adams said of being the top defensive selection. ``There's a lot of great defensive players that are out in this draft and it's just an honor to me to be one of the first ones chosen.''
Arizona also went for offensive line help at No. 5, taking Penn State tackle Levi Brown, who should replace Leonard Davis, now with Dallas after leaving as a free agent.
Adrian Peterson of Oklahoma was chosen by Minnesota, which apparently was unconcerned by the running back's history of injuries in college.
``I don't want to say necessarily disappointed because my dream has come true,'' Peterson said of sliding to seventh overall. `` You never put all your eggs in one basket. I am just excited.''
At No. 8, Arkansas defensive end Jamaal Anderson went to Atlanta, which went to the Super Bowl in 1999 with a running back named Jamal Anderson.
Then Miami got Ginn.
``I promise you that Ted Ginn is going to be someone you're going to enjoy watching play for a long, long time as a Miami Dolphin,'' coach Cam Cameron said.
But Johnson was the true prize at wide receiver, and Lions coordinator Mike Martz has a history of using such players well.
``He's ecstatic just like me,'' Johnson said of Martz. ``Like I said, I'm going to be in a good situation.''
The 10th pick was 19-year-old defensive tackle Amobi Okoye of Louisville, by Houston. He's the youngest player drafted in the first round since the merger and will join last year's No. 1 overall pick, defensive end Mario Williams, on the line.
Johnson, Adams and Okoye all reportedly admitted in team interviews at the NFL combine that they had tried marijuana. That clearly didn't hurt their stock.
San Francisco followed by choosing the best linebacker in the draft, Mississippi's Patrick Willis. Buffalo, selected next, was interested in Willis, as well but settled for Cal running back Marshawn Lynch. Lynch could replace Willis McGahee, who was traded to Baltimore in the offseason.
The Jets and Panthers swung the first trade of the day, with New York moving up from 25th overall to 14th for Pittsburgh's Darrelle Revis, the first cornerback selected Saturday. The Jets gave their first, a second-rounder and a fifth-rounder for Revis, who also returns kicks. Carolina also gave New York a sixth-round choice.