6:45 CT: Threw on some white Nike basketball shorts, sitting on my couch, buried in a blanket, and I’m ready for the NFL Draft tonight. On ESPN right now, the guys at Radio City are discussing Manti Te’o, a player I’m hoping to discuss in much more detail this evening, but Te’o isn’t going to be the first overall pick — and since it’s timely I want to discuss the top pick, whom we don’t know. But it’s weird isn’t it, that we don’t know who the top pick will be?
6:48: I looked this up. The last time we really didn’t know who the top overall pick was going to be was 2005 — San Francisco picked Alex Smith, not Aaron Rodgers. Since then, there has been a consistency with knowing who would be the first name called, because contracts were such a huge deal that teams want to make sure they can sign a guy before they draft him first overall. The fact that we don’t know this year’s top pick yet is a nod to the recent rookie caps and the depth of this draft.
6:55: Five minutes until the Chiefs officially start the 15-minute clock and the discussion is about Tavon Austin, from West Virginia. He’ll apparently go late in the first 10 picks, but seems like the kind of guy that would fit into Chip Kelly’s system with the Eagles, although nobody expects the Eagles to take him with their handful of other talented wideouts. That said, Austin reminds me a lot of Percy Harvin — a combo wide receiver and running back. This is the kind of guy who succeeds in Kelly’s offense (see: DeAnthony Thomas currently at Oregon).
6:59: My man Jon Gruden is talking about Von Miller, who is “ruining that AFC West right now.” This is in reference to why the Chiefs should take the tackle out of Texas A&M with the top pick, because he blocked Von Miller in Aggie practices for a couple years before Miller was taken second overall in the 2011 draft. As usual, everything Gruden says makes sense; after all, the Chiefs will play the Broncos twice a year.
7:01: It’s draft time and Ed Werder, reporting from Chiefs’ camp, expects the Central Michigan tackle to be taken number one overall. I’ve got to learn how to spell these big boys’ names at some point tonight.
7:02: Hey, props to ESPN for finally getting the host table right. For years, it was crowded with their reporters — Shefter, Mortensen, etc. Now, it’s Boomer, Gruden and Kiper, with the other two guys reporting for a booth somewhere else in the building. This is a nice host table tonight.
7:04: Commissioner being booed, then pulls the Boston/West Texas card by telling everyone to take a moment to remember those who lost their lives. Witty.
7:09: A ranking line scrolls across the bottom of the screen, reminding us that the Chiefs were dead last in scoring and passing offense last year, but fifth in rushing. Fifth. Jamaal Charles is just so good and has always been a fantasy football favorite of mine. With a quarterback (they traded for Alex Smith this offseason), the Chiefs could sky rocket from top overall pick to playoff team, similarly to the Colts last year.
7:16: Chiefs select Eric Fisher, tackle Central Michigan.
7:17: I just don’t know where the Texas A&M tackle lost steam this offseason. Kiper says it was all about the fact that Fisher impressed in the Senior Bowl, since the A&M guy isn’t a senior. However, if I’ve learned anything from the San Francisco 49ers line dominance, it’s that jolly green giants can win games for you by dominating defenses. Fisher is 6-foot-7 and 300 pounds.
7:20: Apparently Joe Staley, who is a starting lineman for those 49ers, attended Central Michigan just like Fisher. For reference, Staley is listed as 6-foot-5 and 315 pounds — two inches shorter, but about 15 pounds heavier; however, Staley was listed as 300 pounds as a senior in college. Big guys eat more food in the big leagues.
7:24: Jaguars select Luke Joeckel, tackle Texas A&M
7:25: What always impressed me about Joeckel was that he blocked in the Big 12 and the SEC and blocked for Johnny Manziel, who is a quarterback that likes to run around in the pocket and take his time making decisions. What does that mean? It means Joeckel can give his quarterback time when receivers can’t get open. That is a big problem in Jacksonville. They don’t have playmakers who can do that, so at least drafting Joeckel buys the quarterback some more time.
7:27: I totally expect the Raiders to come up to the podium next and surprise everybody by taking Tavon Austin, who is apparently the hottest prospect today. As a matter of fact, the more time the Chiefs spent on the clock earlier, I half expected them to do something crazy like taking Austin themselves. I’ll keep dreaming.
7:29: The Raiders haven’t drafted in the first round for two years. Before that, they took Rolando McClain. Before that, JaMarcus Russell. A great stat is on ESPN right now. Compared to the last four first round picks by the Raiders, the next player selected in those years was CJ Spiller, Calvin Johnson, Aaron Rodgers and Larry Fitzgerald.
7:31: I remember, though, when the Raiders took Michael Huff in the first round. I thought Huff was going to be spectacular, but I think most people out of Texas are going to be great. Usually, I’m wrong (see: Vince Young).
7:32: Raiders trade pick to Dolphins. Kiper expects Miami to take the third straight tackle, Lane Johnson.
7:34: Dolphins select Dion Jordan, defensive end Oregon
7:38: Not sure what to think about the Jordan pick, but he’s certainly athletic. Last year, Bruce Irvin was a surprise pick at number 15 by Seattle, but he was picked because he was a fast pass rusher. Irvin has eight sacks as an instrumental part of the Seahawks great defense this season. I’m sure the Dolphins are hoping for something similar.
7:42: Eagles select Lane Johnson, tackle Oklahoma
7:43: I’m just glad I get to talk about Chip Kelly now. I love Chip Kelly. He’s going to bring that fast paced Oregon offense to the Eagles and I think Michael Vick fits into that offense pretty well. This will be an intriguing team to watch all season. They’re expecting to run 80-plus plays per game. Amazing. The problem with that, though, is you have to get first downs if you’re going to run that many plays — or else you’ll kill your defense. If the Eagles can keep the ball moving offensively, it’ll be an interesting season.
7:46: What we understand about the Eagles is that they have a lot of talented people on offense. LeSean McCoy, Jeremy Maclin, etc. The quarterback is such a huge question mark, even though I believe in Vick. All things considered, I wonder if Kelly will be partial to drafting his Oregon guys in the next couple years because they know him and his offense. Even if they aren’t the best NFL talent, is it worth is to draft them?
7:49: Lions select Ezekiel Ansah, defensive end BYU
7:51: I saw this guy play against Notre Dame this year and he is terrifying. He could be the best player in this draft five years down the road because he has so much potential. Thing is, he’s only played one season. This pick is all on potential.
7:54: Hmm, Ansah just predicted a Super Bowl championship in an interview with Suzy Kolber…
7:55: Browns select Barkevious Mingo, defensive end LSU
7:56: The Browns just got bookends by drafting Mingo, to play outside linebacker on one side, opposite of free agent signing Paul Krueger. The pick was in almost immediately after the Lion selected Ansah, so the Browns must have been totally sold on Mingo.
7:59: But back to that Super Bowl prediction by Ansah. Certainly, that’s just a filler thing in an interview. It’s pretty clear he isn’t used to being interviewed like that. However, the Lions needs a lot more help than just Ansah. They lost a lot of sacks when Cliff Avril went to Seattle this offseason and Vanden Bosch went somewhere else, too. Also, the Lions have a lot of problems on the back end with their defensive backs and in that NFC North you have to have a functional defensive secondary.
8:01: Cardinals select Jonathan Cooper, guard North Carolina
8:01: Rams move up to eighth pick overall, swapping picks with the Bills to pick 16. Shefter expects the Rams to take Tavon Austin.
8:04: Cooper is a large, large man.
8:08: Rams select Tavon Austin, wide receiver West Virginia
8:09: Don’t forget, there’s probably a lot of pressure on Rams’ quarterback Sam Bradford this season because the Rams could’ve drafted RGIII last season, but traded that pick. Bradford has to get this team to the playoffs or bust, even in a tough division involving the 49ers and Seahawks. Austin is quite a weapon, already having compared him to Percy Harvin, who is now in Seattle.
8:11: Austin has caught more than 220 balls for more than 2400 yards in the past two season and that’s what he’ll be expected to do in St. Louis immediately because Danny Amendola is gone to New England and the Rams just don’t have any other wide receivers. Without Amendola, the Rams best remaining wide receiver is Chris Givens, who only had 42 catches last year.
8:13: I love that the Rams traded up and threw a wrench in the Jets’ barrel here. Apparently Rex Ryan had a plan for Tavon Austin in New York. Austin’s gone now. Let’s see them take Geno Smith, just because. Mark Sanchez is terrible.
8:17: Jets select Dee Milliner, defensive back Alabama
8:18: The ESPN Mel Kiper commercial airing this week had Kiper comparing Milliner to Darrell Revis, who was just traded to the Buccaneers. We’ll see about that.
8:22: The more I think about the last pick, the more I think it’s just a nice safe pick. Milliner, despite injury worries, will probably be a solid cornerback in the NFL. Solid. He’s probably not the next Darrell Revis, but he’ll be a solid back end player for the Jets. The Jets last two first round picks, Couples and Wilkerson, haven’t panned out, so sometimes you just need a guy you know is guaranteed to be solid.
8:25: Titans select Chance Warmack, guard Alabama
8:28: See picture on right…
8:29: You get it now, right?
8:30: Chargers select DJ Fluker, tackle Alabama
8:31: Three Alabama men in a row in the NFL Draft, it’s no wonder they won the national championship this year — especially since two of the three in a row are offensive linemen.
8:33: Going to commercial, Boomer asks a rhetorical: is this Raiders pick at 12 a Geno Smith pick? Answer: It better not be, because they still aren’t clean enough from the JeMarcus Russell debacle from a few years ago. That was their last number one overall pick and they totally blew it on a guy who isn’t even in the league anymore. Now, Smith is a bit different from Russell. He’s more athletic and not as fat. I’m pretty sure he’s considered more accurate that Russell was out of college. I think Russell was sought after for his strong arm, which turned out not to be real. That said, you can’t take Geno Smith here simply because you’re just not sure he’ll actually be very good.
8:36: Somebody should actually give Matt Flynn a chance instead of just trading him all over the place and making his family pick up and move year after year. Seriously people, he had one really good game for the Packers and maybe, just maybe, it wasn’t a fluke. Stick to the quarterback that you have, Oakland.
8:38: Raiders select DJ Hayden, defensive back Houston
8:39: Give all the props to a guy I know name John Venerable, who was all over this pick. In his mock, he had the Raiders going ahead and taking Hayden with the third pick, but this is smarter on Oakland’s part, trading down knowing that they could get him at 12. All credit given to John.
8:41: Geno Smith is coming more and more into the conversation the later we get, but I think the Jets like Ryan Nassib, too. I don’t think any of these quarterbacks are good anyway, which I’ll talk about more when a quarterback actually gets drafted tonight.
8:46: Jets select Sheldon Richardson, defensive tackle Missouri
8:47: The fans are booing this pick, but I think they’re going to like Richardson; however, this is the Jets trying to make up for that poor pick of Muhammad Wilkerson a couple years ago, who was supposed to be their answer at defensive tackle. Now, the burden falls on Richardson. This is another safe pick, believe it or not. Nobody’s going to get fired if Richardson doesn’t turn into an All-Pro player. Contrastingly, this is a hesitant pick.
8:51: Panthers select Star Lotulelei, defensive tackle Utah
8:53: This is an interesting story. He has documented heart problems, but before the college football season started ESPN’s Todd McShay had him rated as his number one overall prospect in this draft. Obviously, that changed but it speaks to how high scouts thought of him, aside from his heart condition.
8:55: As we get about 2 hours into the draft, the best celebrations so far have been DJ Hayden at home and Dion Jordan in the green room. Nobody else has contested these two. Chance Warmack’s humongous smile is noteworthy.
8:59: Saints select Kenny Vaccaro, defensive back Texas
9:00: That was probably the moment of the draft when St. Jude patient Markell Gregoire comes out to announce the pick of Kenny Vaccaro for his favorite team, the Saints.
9:01: Who would’ve thought the Bills traded away the eighth pick and still would have a chance to draft Geno Smith with the 16th pick? Could be either Smith or Ryan Nassib… Shefter also mentions EJ Manuel.
9:04: Bills select EJ Manuel, quarterback Florida State
9:04: The first QB! The first QB! EJ Manuel had the balls to come to the green room tonight when nobody thought he’d be drafted in the first round. He surprises by being the Bills’ pick at 16. Gruden says he loves him, which means I love him.
9:06: Overall, I don’t really like this class of quarterbacks. I think this class of quarterbacks is a little bit like this year’s NBA Draft. If you’re a quarterback, go this year, because it’s a weak class. Exhibit A: Manuel goes here. I don’t think any of these quarterbacks will be elite quarterbacks. I think Manuel is an interesting prospect with athleticism, but he has to surprise me.
9:12: Steelers select Jarvis Jones, linebacker Georgia
9:13: Like Star Lotulelei, Jones is a guy both McShay and Kiper were really high on early and during the college football season. I grew to love Jones this season. He is a fantastic linebacker and it’s almost unfair that he’s going to the Steelers to be another great outside pass rusher.
9:14: Cowboys traded 18th pick to 49ers and they select Eric Reid, defensive back LSU
9:15: That was a quick trigger for the Niners. I don’t think they had to trade up to get Reid, but what do I know? Reid made the best play of the college football season two years ago against Alabama, so I give him credit for that. He’s a big, physical safety and he fits in well on that defense, I think. Back to Jones, though, I thought he was a no-doubt top pick in the NFL, but he had poor workouts. We’ll see how much workouts really show about a player because I think he’s just a nasty, great linebacker. He’s instinctive.
9:20: Giants select Justin Pugh, tackle Syracuse
9:22: I’m pretty bored of this offensive line trend. For the record, there have been seven offensive linemen taken so far. That’s got to be some kind of record…
9:26: I didn’t know the Bears hired some coach out of the Canadian Football League. Interesting.
9:28: Bears select Kyle Long, guard Oregon
9:29: The only way this makes sense is to add on to the record of offensive linemen in the first round of this draft. The total is now eight after I commented a few minutes ago that the total was seven.
9:30: ESPN shows camera on Geno Smith, who looks very upset and totally uncomfortable at this point. This might be the surprise of the night that EJ Manuel was drafted ahead of Geno Smith, who may have gotten all dressed up for nothing if he doesn’t get picked tonight. At this point, you start feeling for the guy and hope he gets picked. So, I start feeling for him and then he gets drafted by the Green Bay Packers and becomes the best quarterback in the NFL. Oh, wait, that’s somebody else, isn’t it? Still, someone please pick Geno!
9:33: As ESPN shows a clip of the Browns trading back into the first round to draft Brady Quinn, after having passed on him in with the third pick that year, you start to calculate who the teams are who will do that to get Geno.
9:34: Bengals select Tyler Eifert, tight end Notre Dame
9:34: Guys, Eifert is an absolute monster. He is huge. He has great hands. He gets up like a basketball player. The Bengals just got a fantastic tight end to create a matchup problem like the one the New England Patriots have fed off of when Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez are both healthy. In Cincinnati, it’s Jermaine Gresham and Eifert.
9:36: Falcons trade up to the 22nd pick, which was the Rams pick
9:36: I wonder about the Geno Smith thing, if there’s some irony in ESPN showing the Brady Quinn clip — because might the Browns be the team to trade into the first round to get Smith if, in fact, they aren’t happy with the old rookie Brandon Weeden. I can’t even type his name. I almost typed Brandon Weekend.
9:40: Falcons select Desmond Trufant, defensive back Washington
9:41: Great pick. The Falcons lost Brent Grimes this offseason and this is a big need, but Trufant is so similar to Grimes it’s not even funny. You recognize the name Trufant because his older brother is a defensive back in the NFL. I really like Trufant. Liked him to start the season. Like him now.
9:43: Gruden likes Tyrann Mathieu way, way too much.
9:45: Vikings select Sharrif Floyd, defensive tackle Florida
9:46: Let’s go back to Eifert for a moment. He caught 50 passes this year, 63 last season. Four touchdowns this season. He had six catches in four of Notre Dame’s last five games, including the national championship game against Alabama. Moreover, the number of times he was target is probably at least double his actual receptions this season.
9:51: Colts select Bjoern Werner, defensive end Florida State
9:53: Vikings select Xavier Rhodes, defensive back Florida State
9:54: For the record, that’s three straight players from Florida schools in the last three picks. I’m surprised, however, how big of a storyline these ESPN guys have made of Manti Te’o. It’s right in the pick range now that he should be drafted, but they were talking about him much, much earlier.
9:56: Both Alec Ogletree and Te’o still on the board. I expect both to be picked before this night is over. The Packers maybe?
10:00: Packers select Datone Jones, defensive end UCLA
10:02: The defense has been a massive place of interest in recent drafts and Jones is another defensive end the Packers are drafting to try to beef up their defensive line and rush the passer with the likes of Clay Matthews, who just signed a long term deal.
10:04: With all of the explosiveness of the Green Bay offense, they still don’t have a running back. They had Eddie Lacy as an option, but didn’t take him. I’ve seen a mock that has them taking Montee Ball in the second round. It’s still a position they need to aggressively address in this draft, but Jones is a workout warrior.
10:07: Texans select DeAndre Hopkins, wide receiver Clemson
10:09: Here’s a guy who said, Let me get out of Sammy Watkins’ way at Clemson and go on to the NFL before I’m directly competing with Sammy. Hopkins is a lightning bolt with great hands. It’s about time the Texans got a real secondary receiver to help out Andre Johnson.
10:15: Broncos select Sylvester Williams, defensive tackle North Carolina
10:16: Hey, what ever happened to Marvin Austin, or was it Melvin Austin? The big defensive tackle that used to ride around the North Carolina campus on a scooter. He was supposed to be amazing! Did he get in trouble or something?
10:18: Patriots trade pick to Vikings. Shefter thinks the Vikings will take Manti Te’o
10:22: OK, I looked it up. Apparently Marvin Austin was dismissed from North Carolina because he was being paid by some agent. I think he was a part of all of that fuss with UNC football. Austin and Williams were twin defensive tackles. That would’ve been a great defensive line. I think the last mock I saw that included Austin made him a top pick in the NFL Draft. How the mighty sometimes fall.
10:24: Insert inspirational Boston montage here even though the Patriots traded away their pick to the Vikings. A nice moment. And then commissioner brings up former NFL player for the Patriots who was at the Boston Marathon.
10:28: Would’ve been really, really special had the Patriots held onto that pick and been able to give that “Boston Strong 617″ jersey to their draft pick. Even so, great moment at the end of the draft.
10:30: Vikings select Cordarrelle Patterson, wide receiver Tennessee
10:31: Early today on ESPN NFL Live, Keyshawn Johnson and Bill Pollian were arguing about Patterson. Pollian didn’t like him because he wasn’t proven. Johnson loved him because he’s so athletic and compared him to Chad Johnson, who also didn’t have much experience coming into the NFL. Johnson asked Pollian, the former Colts GM, if he regretted not taking Chad Johnson in that draft. He said no because Reggie Wayne was proven in a full college career and had a better NFL career. That’s all that needs to be said right now.
10:33: ESPN’s commercial-after-every-pick strategy late in this first round is really killing this draft diary, which I should mention is running low on fuel…
10:34: It appears Geno Smith will not be drafted tonight, so I’ll be saving my note on Geno Smith for the end of this diary in an attempt to end it on a solid rant. So, there’s that.
10:36: Rams select Alec Ogletree, linebacker Georgia
10:37: Geno Smith was just shown storming out of the green room. He’s not getting drafted tonight and I feel really bad for him. I can only imagine the emotions he’s going through right now. He’s probably very upset. He’s probably embarrassed that he was just put through that. It’s a very sad thing for that to happen to somebody, which is why I’m not a fan of the whole Green Room idea. Players should just stay in the comfort of their homes and some of them can let cameras in.
10:40: There were apparently 23 players in the green room tonight and I think Geno was the only one left. I’m not sure, but I’m frantically looking it up and trying to find a list of names.
10:42: What I can find is that last year there were six prospects left in the green room after the first round. Maybe it’s similar this year, but I can’t find a link to who was in the green room this year and I missed the opening of the show where they pictured the 23 people.
10:42: Cowboys select Travis Frederick, center Wisconsin
10:42: Make it nine offensive linemen taken in the first round of the draft. Wow.
10:44: Ravens select Matt Elam, defensive back Florida
10:45: This is the replace Ed Reed pick. No surprise.
10:45: Geno Smith is a risk as all of the quarterbacks in this draft are. He was so inconsistent down the stretch at West Virginia this season and that probably scared people away. The Moutaineers started the season 5-0. In that stretch, Smith threw for 1,996 yards, 20 touchdowns and no interceptions. Also, he was completing somewhere around 80 percent of his passes. It all changed after that. West Virginia finished 2-6, including a loss to Syracuse in a bowl game. In that stretch, Smith’s completion percentage plummeted almost 20 percent and he threw six interceptions.
10:49: Smith will be taken tomorrow, as will Te’o — both were the biggest storylines coming in. Smith told Suzy Kolber that he’s holding up fine, but declined and interview and said he wont be back tomorrow — he’s heading home. I feel bad for that guy, but I’ll be rooting for him.
10:51: Aha! Eddie Lacy was also in the green room, but wasn’t drafted. Whew! Thanks for reading!