SI.com At The Draft (cont.)
Kansas City 4:58 p.m.
The Chiefs traded up to 15 to get Virginia offensive lineman Branden Albert because they were fearful that another team would take him before they were on the clock at No. 17. Kansas City gave up its first (17), third (66) and fifth for Detroit's first (15) and third (76).
Earlier in the day, the Chiefs selected LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey at No. 5. Before Saturday, the Chiefs didn't believe Dorsey would be available when they were on the clock. They were even skeptical early Saturday afternoon, when word began to circulate that the Rams were going to take Chris Long and the Falcons were zeroed in on Matt Ryan. The reason: They had no idea which way the Raiders would go at No. 4.
When Oakland selected running back Darren McFadden, the Chiefs listened to trade offers from New Orleans and New England -- the Saints offered the best deal, which included their first- and seventh-round picks this year and a No. 1 next year. But the Chiefs decided that wasn't enough for a guy whom many consider to be the best defensive player in the draft.
Interesting note, when the Raiders selected McFadden, a gathering of Chiefs fans at the team's practice facility cheered. And when it was noted that Kansas City was listening to trade offers, the fans booed. They cheered again when Dorsey was selected. --Jim Trotter
New York City 4:53 p.m.
An NFL official told me the league was happy with the six draft prospects they invited to New York City this week. Unlike last year, when Brady Quinn was left to languish, none of the six picks in the Big Apple on Saturday were embarrassed by a long delay. "You just want to get out of there as soon as possible," newest Chief Glenn Dorsey said. In many people's minds, Dorsey was the one player in the top five who fell. Many people in the building thought Dorsey would never last past No. 3. But Dorsey said all the right things and said he was thrilled to be going to Kansas City.
The Chiefs will probably be a good fit for Dorsey, who said he's not used to the big city and said playing in Arrowhead should be a lot like playing in the environments of Baton Rouge. Often compared to Warren Sapp on the field, Dorsey also has some of Sapp's infectious personality off it. Of the six prospects in New York, Dorsey and Chris Long were the two most charismatic. --Andrew Perloff
Long Island, N.Y. 4:48 p.m.
Eric Mangini just addressed the media here and Jets fans have gotta love the way the coach envisions using Vernon Gholston. Says Mangini, "I'm a big fan of linebackers who you can move around wherever you want." In other words, look for Gholston and ex-Cardinal Calvin Pace to get shuffled all over the place, sometimes in a three-point stance, sometimes dropping into coverage, but never showing their cards. It worked brilliantly two years ago (and lesser so last year) against the Patriots.
A Jets fan will tell you Gholston was an easy pick at the six spot, especially given the board. He'll be a sweet compliment to newly-acquired nose tackle Kris Jenkins, plus coach Mangini gets to tweak the Patriots, who seemed to love the Ohio State defensive end at No. 7. The atmosphere here pretty much mirrors what I would expect at Radio City Music Hall. There were no high-fives, but no one's bashing their head on a laptop keyboard either. The best/worst thing anyone has had to say so far: "Another smart guy who won't say a thing [to the media]." In other words, "Ho hum." --Adam Duerson
New York City 4:45 p.m.
Hopefully Jerod Mayo just got out of picking weeds when he unexpectedly went number 10 overall to the New England Patriots. While most players eligible for the draft sit and watch every tantalizing pick, waiting for their name to be called, Mayo went a different route.
Mayo told me on a number of occassions during our discussions for his Rookie Diary on Sirius NFL Radio that he would not watch one second of the draft because he didn't think he could handle the anxiety. Instead of sitting on a couch watching the tube, Mayo elected for some yardwork with his mom in his hometown of Hampton, Va. He said he would just mow some grass and pick some weeds on draft day with his cell phone on him in case someone called.
Though I consistently told Mayo I did not believe him and thought he would end up watching the draft, he has a proven track record of keeping his word. Mayo kept his promise to get his degree from Tennessee when he graduated early enough that he could declare for the NFL draft after his junior year.
The maturity Mayo showed in getting his degree early in an era in which many players don't graduate is just one of the reasons the Patriots chose him. Thankfully, Mayo can now come inside from the yardwork and get ready for a flight to Boston where he will begin his apprenticeship under Tedy Bruschi. --Ross Tucker
Tempe, Ariz. 4:40 p.m.
I'll never forget spending a week with the Boise State football team before the Fiesta Bowl and talking to Broncos coaches as they went over game tapes. While Oklahoma was clearly the most talented team across the board, the one player that stood out amongst the rest was Ryan Clady. "He's a special player," said Boise State coach Chris Peterson. "He'll be playing on Sundays."
Clady, now a Denver Bronco, may end up being the only Boise player involved with that unforgettable Statue of Liberty play that ends up making an impact in the NFL. If you don't remember Clady, click here and pay close attention to No. 79. --Arash Markazi
New York City 4:37 p.m.
I just talked to Matt Ryan's father, Mike, who said that multiple teams thought Matt might end up being a Raven because they had been told there was a very likely possibility the Ravens would trade up. Mike Ryan seemed a bit surprised but was very pleased that his son was headed to Atlanta. When asked about the controversy surrounding his son's new team, Mike said he believes his son is up to the challenge. "People follow Matt," he said. "They have since grade school. He's very well equipped for this challenge."
Like his dad, Matt seems to be a humble kid. His dad explained that when Matt first arrived at Boston College, he weighed 190 pounds, and when he took his shirt off, everyone laughed. At one point Matt was considered a serious candidate to be the No. 1 picks. So for a kid who no one had heard of a few years ago, to be drafted No. 3 is pretty good. --Andrew Perloff
Chicago 4:34 p.m.
The Bears' big decision on whether to go for help on the offensive line, or at the skill positions, has been made easy. It looks as if they might have their choice of top-10 graded Branden Albert or Jeff Otah. Incredible.
Rashard Mendenhall remains an intriguing option, but what good is a running back if you don't have an offensive line to block for him? Ditto for MSU's Devin Thomas. The Bears won't be able to get him the ball if Rex Grossman is lying on his back. --Marty Burns
Alameda, Calif. 4:31 p.m.
With Darren McFadden in pocket, Raiders head coach Lane Kiffin just addressed the media for the first and perhaps last time today. Among the best nuggets:
Yes, defense was the biggest need, but "this was the guy we had to have." There was never a discussion of trading the pick. Kiffin and his staff considered it somewhat of a long shot that McFadden would even fall to No. 4, and actually discussed trading up to get him. If you believe that's not Al Davis talking, I've got an earthquake-proof bridge to sell you.
There was little interest from other teams in grabbing the Raiders' pick -- more were interested in snapping up Glenn Dorsey, whom few expected to fall to the Chiefs at No. 5. Cue the shoulda-wouldas in Raider Nation.
McFadden will likely be the opening-day starter, perhaps even in a split backfield with the recently re-signed Justin Fargas. Kiffin also loves his new toy as a receiving tailback, and will often even line him up out wide.
The oft-publicized character issues? Not an issue (especially on this team, which has become a haven for guys with so-called "character issues" that make McFadden look like a choir boy). "I can't find one person who will tell me they've ever had an issue with him, in the weight room, in practice," Kiffin said. "He's passionate about football."
And finally, the Raiders may not be done on Day 1 after all. Kiffin said the team may deal for more picks depending on how the board shakes down. "There are a couple of players where we'll have to look at giving something up for next year." And there are plenty of holes to fill: defensive line, receiving corps, another cornerback ... the list goes on.
Best joke I've heard all day at Raiders HQ: Oakland's premier offensive players are now McFumbles and JaMumbles. --Jonah Freedman
Irving, Texas 4:26 p.m.
All right. Everybody out of the pool. I'm done. It's all downhill from here. When the Patriots at No. 10 picked Tennessee linebacker Jerod Mayo, it meant that my final mock had the exact top 10 trade that went down between the Patriots and Saints, with both players being correctly tabbed. Hand on the Bible I didn't see anyone else's mock predict that one correctly.
I'll not match that sort of prescience any time soon. Be forewarned. Anything I say now is subject to change. Or not happen. My psychic powers are spent. --Don Banks
Flowery Branch, Ga. 4:23 p.m.
First two trades in the top 10 since 2004. The Patriots' trade with New Orleans was totally logical, because once Glenn Dorsey was gone, Sedrick Ellis was the guy the Saints had to have to bolster a weak interior defensive line and the Patriots saw all the front-line defensive linemen off the board. The Jag trade amazed me. This is a two-person draft for them -- Derrick Harvey, the defensive end who'd become a cult guy in the last few days since it became known he was the third or fourth player on Bill Parcells' board in Miami, and the 58th overall pick. After that, Jacksonville does not have a pick till the 143rd choice overall, midway through the day tomorrow in the fifth round.
It's amazing to me that the Jags saved their second-round pick in the deal, surrendering two third-round picks and a fourth in the deal.
Now Baltimore sits at number 26 for their first choice. The Ravens will try to move up a few spots to pick off Chad Henne, the Michigan quarterback. In my mock draft Monday, I had Henne go to Baltimore at number 20. That's about where I expect him to go. --Peter King
Tampa Bay 4:15 p.m.
Florida defensive end Derrick Harvey may have been shooting up draft boards, but did the Jaguars need to trade all the way up to No. 8 to get him?
This seems like the draft's first reach, but maybe the Jags know what they're doing. Jacksonville is only about 75 miles from Gainesville, Fla., so Jags scouts and coaches have had plenty of chances to see Harvey up close and personal. They know he's a "high-motor" guy with excellent burst off the line. Line him up next to John Henderson, and the opposing line will have issues.
Jacksonville's pick does raise one question, though. Given that Jacksonville picked Reggie Nelson -- another ex-Gator -- in the first round last year, are the Jags trying to stock their team with players local fans already love in an attempt to boost sagging attendance? Remember, the Jags had to tarp off several sections in their stadium to lower seating capacity so that their games wouldn't get blacked out. --Andy Staples
Flowery Branch, Ga. 4:10 p.m.
Atlanta GM Thomas Dimitroff and coach Mike Smith are meeting the press here. Nattily attired, too. Both in nice suits, which I'm sure for Dimitroff is a rarity.
"We're definitely excited about Matt Ryan being the quarterback of the future for the Atlanta Falcons,'' said Thomas Dimitroff. "Glenn Dorsey was a legitimate consideration. It came down to us ... the tipping point ... was the value for the position. What sold us on Matt? He's the prototypical quarterback, very intelligent, a big-time leader, a game-winner. He'll take a shot in the face and get back up.
"We're excited about him being at the helm ... It wasn't a difficult decision. I can't stress it enough. He has the ability to [lead] not only the offense, but the whole team. I was in New England with a guy who was like that, and it was important.''
Said Smith: "When we met with Matt, [offensive coordinator and QB coach] Mike Mularkey and Bill Musgrave put him through a lot on the board. They tried to trick him. He was outstanding on the board. He's very cerebral.'' --Peter King
Irving, Texas 4:04 p.m.
Ouch. Just dislocated my right arm trying to slap myself on the back for nailing the Patriots-Saints trade in the top 10 of my final mock draft on Friday. But it did make all kinds of sense to have No. 10 New Orleans come up to No. 7 and get Sedrick Ellis, the draft's second-highest rated defensive tackle, because you knew the Patriots were willing to vacate their pick from day one.
I didn't have the exactly order correct in my top six, but I had all six players who were chosen 1-6. I got Jake Long, Chris Long and Darren McFadden matched up accurately, but I had Matt Ryan going sixth to the Jets, Glenn Dorsey going third to the Falcons, and Vernon Gholston going fifth to the Chiefs.
I really like the moves the Saints have made this offense. That defense is considerably better with Jonathan Vilma, Randall Gay, Bobby McCray and Dan Morgan all added to the mix, and Ellis gives them even more of a play-making presence in the defensive interior. I know we said this a lot last year (and were wrong), but look out for the Saints. --Don Banks
New York City 4:02 p.m.
*Editor's note: Former NFL lineman Ross Tucker typed the following post on his blackberry because the NFL's wireless connection in Radio City Music Hall is unbelievably and inexcusably down.
What a difference a year makes. Last year at this time I was in an apartment in Northern Virginia with a case of beer, anguishing over every pick the Wahington Redkins made. As a back-up lineman fighting for a roster spot, I was keenly aware how devastating it would be to my chances of making the team if the Skins drafted a lineman. With most teams only keeping nine offensive linemen, one draft pick along the offensive line would mean one less spot available for me. The NFL is a zero sum game and the math isn't hard to figure out.
There aren't too many other professions where you can literally watch your employer attempt to replace you on live TV. I always loved the draft and considered it one of my favorite days as a huge football fan growing up. Once I became an NFL player, it became my least favorite weekend on the NFL calendar. Every pick was agony and though I know I shouldn't have watched, that is easier said than done. Everybody rubbernecks and looks at car crashes on the side of the road when they drive by, and for me this was no different. If my career was going to be negatively affected, I wanted to know immediately and with my own eyes, not from a text message or phone call from a friend.
I can still recall watching the Cowboys draft Al Johnson in 2003 and knowing I may not be in Dallas much longer. My family couldn't comprehend why I was so upset when it happened that day in late April. After I was cut in late May, they understood.
For the first time in seven years, I have nothing at stake today. Though I wish I was still playing, I must admit it was a lot easier to wake up today than it had been in years past. --Ross Tucker
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