Posted: Saturday April 23, 2005 12:42PM; Updated: Friday September 16, 2005 6:40PM
2:52: Finally, a trade. We were about to nod off like Thurman Thomas did in 1988 while waiting to be picked. The Saints move from No. 16 to the Texans' spot at 13, then take offensive tackle Jammal Brown of Oklahoma. Apparently the Panthers, sitting next at No. 14, had their eye on Brown as well. Do the Panthers stick with a tackle, going for Alex Barron? Unfortunately, none of the three cabbies I had last night gave me any insight, so you're on your own.
3:06: The Panthers go with Georgia's safety/linebacker Thomas Davis, allowing ESPN cameras to zoom in on Cal quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who is emerging as this year's fastest-falling player. Rodgers gave an audible (or at least visible) sigh-groan when he heard Davis's name called. It was only a week or two ago when most figured that Rodgers would go first overall to the Niners. The word is that he is confident bordering on cocky, though in an interview about an hour ago he called himself a "humble guy." It can't be fun to be sitting in his designer suit right now. Fortunately for us viewers, the cameras will track every moment of his torture until he's picked.
3:18: The Chiefs indicate they may actually try to play some defense this year, going with Texas linebacker Derrick Johnson at No. 15. He's apparently been telling teams that the only Ricky Williams he knows went to Texas Tech. (OK, we made that up.)
3:28: They just ran that great ESPN radio commercial in which a young girl gives a class project on middle relievers. I love it when she puts air quotes around "set-up men."
3:33: We're halfway home! The Texans take defensive tackle Travis Johnson at No. 16, the second straight player named Johnson. That ties Johnson with Williams and Brown as the most popular names thus far with two selections each. You won't get this kind of incisive analysis on ESPN, people.
3:45: The Bengals go with Georgia's David Pollack at No. 17. Marvin Lewis certainly didn't solicit my opinion, but I don't see Pollack being a big factor in the NFL unless he turns out to be a useful linebacker. I don't think he's big enough to play defensive end. He might be the classic case of an excellent college player who's not quite physically talented enough to duplicate that production in the pros. At least, that's what my cabbie told me.
3:54: Man, the Vikings still have lousy timing. They've just picked Wisconsin defensive end Erasmus James at No. 18 with nearly five minutes left on their clock, but in the process they interrupted a legitimately interesting argument about Randy Moss. Andrea Kremer is holding a round table with Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel, Chiefs quarterback Trent Green and Redskins lineman Jansen. Jansen and Green were arguing that Moss's leaving the field before the final play against the Skins last year was a huge problem, and that they might not completely trust Moss as a teammate.
Surprisingly, it was Vrabel of the team-first Pats who defended Moss and said he'd love to have him on his team because of his talent and production. "Don't give me Super Bowls," Vrabel said, "give me numbers." That's the last thing you'd expect to hear from a Belichick disciple. The discussion between the three players got pretty heated, and not in a fake Salisbury-Clayton way. Kremer finally broke in by asking Vrabel an excellent question: Would Moss's act play on the Patriots? Before we got the answer, though, the Vikings handed in their pick and we had to go back to the dais. Blasted!
3:58: The Rams continue the hurry-up attack by snapping up offensive tackle Alex Barron of Florida State. Please, let's go back to Vrabel.
4:08: Cowboys get their man, LSU defensive end Marcus Spears, at No. 20. Chalk up another one for Dr. Z, who correctly called Dallas's Ware-Spears combo. That must be worth a nice California white.
4:16: Very interesting. At No. 21 the Jaguars take Matt Jones, the former Arkansas quarterback who has been the most intriguing name of this draft as a potential receiver or H-back. As an LSU fan and SEC watcher, I've seen Jones play quite a bit. The guy is a freak. It's hard to believe a guy that tall can be as fast as he is. Sometimes, it seemed he simply couldn't be tackled, especially late in the game. As a quarterback, though, sometimes Jones appeared to be very casual, simply flipping the ball and throwing some very laissez-faire interceptions. Is he tough and committed enough? It should really be fascinating to see how he develops. On a side note, does Jones count as the second quarterback taken in the draft, since Aaron Rodgers is still working on his developing ulcer?
4:25: The Ravens take wide receiver Mark Clayton of Oklahoma. It seems Baltimore is always looking for a wide receiver. Torry Holt apparently is interested in adopting Clayton, he likes him so much. Good luck to both of them.
4:31: The Raiders go with cornerback Fabian Washington at No. 23, the only player today who shares a name with a '50s teen idol. Fortunately, Berman held back from crooning Turn Me Loose.
4:43: The Aaron Rodgers Watch is over. The Packers tab him as the likely successor to Brett Favre, who seemingly ponders retirement every other week. One had a feeling Rodgers was the man when, just before the pick was named, Rodgers finally flashed a smile while talking on his cell phone, presumably with the Pack. Rodgers had apparently ducked out of the green room for a while rather than allow the cameras to continue to record his car-crash-like free fall, but he's back now. If Rodgers goes on to be a big success, today's travails will be cited as part of draft lore. In the short term, though, he just lost a few million dollars off his first contract. Ouch.
4:58: Suddenly there's a run on quarterbacks as the Skins take Jason Campbell of Auburn. Meanwhile, SI.com judges are deciding if (Aaron) Rodgers and (Carlos) Rogers have the same last name, which would allow Rogers/Rodgers to tie Brown, Williams and Johnson for first-round honors. Maybe somebody will take offensive tackle Marcus Johnson of Ole Miss to break the tie.
5:11: The Seahawks take Ole Miss center Chris Spencer at No. 26, eschewing our advice to take Marcus Johnson. Mark our words, the Seahawks will live to rue this day. Responds Mike Holmgren, "Who the hell is Pete McEntegart?"
5:24: Dr. Z had the right prescription with this one, correctly calling Alabama-Birmingham wide receiver Roddy White to the Falcons. White's next move should be to log on to this Web site, in which you plug in your name to get your own Ron Mexico-like alias.
5:35: The Chargers take Northwestern defensive lineman Luis Castillo, who might be the only active athlete ever to admit outside of a grand jury to taking a banned perfomance-enhancing drug (andro). Castillo flunked his drug test at the combine, but sent a letter to all NFL teams owning up to taking the substance to help rehab an injury. Apparently his drug store was all out of flaxseed oil. It seems Castillo got high marks for honesty.
5:41: The Colts hurry up and pick cornerback Marlin Jackson of Michigan. Maybe the NFL doesn't want to set a new record for longest first round; the current mark is five hours and 48 minutes in 2002. But does the first round officially start when the first pick is made, or when the first team is put on the clock? It should be the latter.
5:45: Now we're rolling! The Steelers take tight end Heath Miller of Virginia, who suffers from a sports hernia. How is that different from a regular hernia? What exactly is a hernia, anyway? It certainly sounds painful. Two picks left in the first round and by our calculations, we're at five hours and 32 minutes. It's going to be close.
5:49: The Iggles go with USC defensive tackle Mike Patterson, evidently calling on the two-minute offense that was missing in the Super Bowl. Now it's all up to the Patriots. Do they take the full 15 minutes? Colts coach Tony Dungy just told Berman that he's "overanalyzing things." Hey, when it takes nearly six hours to get through the first round, the TV folks have to do something.
6:01: The Pats go with offensive lineman Logan Mankins of Fresno State, who I must admit I've never heard of before. My handy draft guide from Pro Football Weekly calls him a "throwback, hard-nosed road grader who was born to play football." I have to mention something from that book because it cost $20 and I need to expense it. ESPN claims that the first round clocked in at 5:47, one minute short of the record. So close! Maybe next year. Until then, we are checking out. Thanks for hanging with us. Please look for Monday's 10 Spot.