Yahoo! Sports columnist Dan Wetzel provided running commentary on the first round of the NFL draft from Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Here's his take:
11:57 a.m. ET: The streets of Manhattan are overrun by middle-aged men stuffed into NFL jerseys, a look of hope, anticipation and morning beer in their eyes.
It's time for the NFL Draft, a day to restore hope in the great American pursuit of foolishness – aka the best waste of a Saturday of the entire year.
Here at Radio City Music Hall, the top prospects are dressed in their best sherbet-colored suits, only looking a little more awake then past years. Thanks to Roger Goodell's new conduct policy, business at Scores was off 50 percent from a year ago and not a single projected draft pick attended an outer-borough dog fight.
And they questioned whether Goodell could impact the league after Paul Tagliabue.
Just about everyone is ready to go. We're hearing JaMarcus Russell to the Raiders, followed by Calvin Johnson to the Lions – offensive coordinator Mike Martz is begging for him – with the possibility that Tampa Bay makes a trade to get him.
Our main hope for the day is that the helmet phones get good reception, Jets fans don't get too apoplectic and Chris "You're With Me Leather" Berman doesn't ruin the proceedings by tipping off each pick with a lousy pun.
We're here all day for these and other useless analysis. Stay tuned.
12:15 p.m. ET: They had a nice ceremony before the draft for Virginia Tech, with Hokies coach Frank Beamer and former greats Bruce Smith, DeAngelo Hall and Michael Vick. The crowd mostly booed Vick, and considering the dog fighting allegations against him, you can't blame them. You wonder whether Goodell suspended Vick right after the ceremony. Or maybe set up a bet on an upcoming pit bull match.
• Goodell opened the proceedings with a smile and fist pump. Everyone expects JaMarcus Russell to be the guy, but never bet on the sanity of a man in a black Member's Only jacket.
• Top three rumored picks are Russell to Oakland, Johnson to Detroit and OT Joe Thomas to Cleveland. If that happens, if the Browns pass on Notre Dame's Brady Quinn, then he could slide all the way to Miami at nine. That would make for one long, uncomfortable day in the green room, with all of those Notre Dame haters loving every second of it.
12:25 p.m. ET: Huge ovation from the Raider fans in the house for the Russell pick.
• The way the NFL plays sweeping, soaring music and unleashes a bevy of strobe lights you'd think Russell is here to save the world from an asteroid hurtling toward the planet.
• It took a while for him to get off the phone with Oakland to get his picture taken but that shouldn't be surprising. These days it takes Al Davis about 10 minutes to say, "connnngraaaatuuuuulaaaationssss. Juuuuust winnnnn Baaaaabeeee."
• Russell is rocking an all-black outfit, a perfect match for the Raiders hat. He looks good, looks like a Raider. I like a draft pick willing to coordinate his outfit to match his expected selection.
• Our NFL draft guru John Murphy is bragging about being 1 for 1 in his mock draft. Send him to Canton.
• The Lions are on the clock. If they were smart they'd draft Scott Pioli.
If they traded their entire first day draft for Pioli, the Patriots' assistant genius, then let him make the second-day picks, they'd still probably end up with a better draft than having Matt Millen chose the entire thing.
This is Millen's sixth consecutive top-10 selection. Hey, there is no substitute for experience. He is likely to pick his fourth wide receiver in five years.
12:40 p.m. ET: The Lions take Johnson to mixed reviews here. Not sure why the fans are bothered, unless it is general humor at anything the Lions do. The "overrated" pick even got busted out. I don't know about that. He's 6-5, 239 pounds with speed and productivity. At some point, Detroit is going to get some good luck, too.
• Is there a more disappointing experience in football then being handed the Lions Honolulu blue hat and told welcome to the league? I mean, Calvin Johnson worked a long time to get to this point. There is no way he is 100 percent happy about not sliding down to Tampa.
• If the Lions do keep Johnson then this was the influence of offensive coordinator Mike Martz, who was dreaming of designing an offense with Roy Williams on one side and Johnson on the other. And, on paper, this looks formidable. Of course, the Lions' last five top-10 picks looked formidable on paper also.
• One thing about Millen taking his fourth wideout in five years. This is actually a good sign for the Lions. It would have been trouble if the club saw Johnson as the best player available and didn't take him because of past failures and fear of ridicule.
• Back to Russell for a second, one of his best traits is his ability to "flick" the ball downfield. He is so big and so strong he can go deep even without a full throwing motion. In practice he claims he once flicked a ball 85 yards.
• Michael Strahan was interviewed here and got the crowd fired up by talking about bringing the Vince Lombardi Trophy back to New York. Of course, if he does that his ex-wife will immediately hawk it at a garage sale.
12:50 p.m. ET: Joe Thomas, who is fishing on Lake Michigan, goes three to Cleveland. This should be the new trend in the draft, everyone spending the day doing their favorite hobby. We could get guys at all-you-can-eat buffets, hanging out in sorority houses, hitting gentlemen's clubs, raising pit bulls at Michael Vick's house.
• Now the camera starts zooming in on Brady Quinn, and this could get tough. Quinn was an Ohio kid (outside Columbus), Cleveland needs a QB and coach Romeo Crennel is close friends with Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis (they worked together at New England). If it didn't happen here, look out. Expectations are Quinn could drop all the way to No. 9 at Miami, who will pick in an hour and a half. Repeat, an hour and a half.
It's a good thing his agency, CAA, has wrapped up all of those endorsement deals before the draft.
• You can't say Cleveland isn't committed to controlling the trenches. They now end up with about $80 million in guaranteed money on their offensive line alone.
1 p.m. ET: A well-dressed Gaines Adams goes fourth to Tampa. He has a reputation for taking plays off but also making some outrageous things happen. He gets the Bucs' line younger.
• While speculation remains that Tampa and Detroit will swap picks, Calvin Johnson said he believes that he is staying with the Lions and will not be traded.
• Gaines Adams' high school – Greenwood (S.C.) Cambridge – was so small it played eight-man football. Adams was also a wideout – he caught 57 passes for 20 TDs.
• With the two New York teams not picking until the 20s, the crowd has been pretty subdued so far, everyone sort of waiting for something good to happen.
1:10 p.m. ET: Big, old Levi Brown goes to Arizona, giving Matt Leinart some protection. At 328 pounds, this is a move that has the full support of the Phoenix Restaurant Association.
• The Redskins are up next, and if they keep the pick, everyone expects they will select LSU safety LaRon Landry. However, this spot is ripe for a trade to get the action going. Both Quinn and Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson are sitting here waiting to get picked and could entice someone to move.
• Peterson and Quinn are represented by the same agency, CAA, and both might feel like firing them right now for getting them invited to this event. A prolonged wait is much more tolerable on a fishing boat somewhere. Joe Thomas had the right idea.
1:35 p.m. ET: Minnesota grabs Adrian Peterson, who is a steal if he remains healthy. This is a big-time player and the Vikings have to be happy he dropped into their laps. Peterson looks OK in purple. He'll be tough on that turf in Minneapolis.
• Brady Quinn, last man sitting, has lost his suit coat and is showing his matching vest. At least he has a blond to talk with at his table. Miami looks like the inevitable destination here, unless Atlanta thinks that Michael Vick is in some disciplinary trouble and wants to gamble. Say this for the Dolphins, the last time a QB slid to them (all the way to No. 27), his name was Dan Marino. That worked out OK.
• Atlanta is checking league bylaws to see if selecting a bail bondsman or dog trainer is allowed.
1:25 p.m. ET: So the Redskins draft LaRon Landry, who looks like a heck of a player, but can Washington really take a guy named Landry? What's next, Staubach? Aikman? If LaRon had a little courage, he'd rock the Tom Landry lid at his introductory press conference. Clinton Portis would applaud the wardrobe.
• Legendary boxing writer Bert Sugar is in the house – wearing his trademark hat and carrying a cigar he can't smoke. Love the guy. I asked him for his take on the Oscar de la Hoya-Floyd Mayweather fight. He went with the upset. "I give Oscar a hell of a shot," he said. "A hell of a shot. It's his fight to win."
• At least 15 more minutes of painful camera shots for Brady Quinn and, to a lesser extent, Adrian Peterson. I say this every year, but sometimes these guys get screwed by their "marketing teams."
The agency has a million clients, another draft every year. These guys have one. And if you sit for a couple hours on national television getting passed over and over, it is an enduring memory. What seems like a good marketing-school idea to soak up publicity isn't in real life. Aaron Rodgers is still best known for dropping all the way to 24th in the 2005 draft, stuck in the green room for hours.
1:40 p.m. ET: I'm sure when CAA sold Brady Quinn on all the marketing benefits of going to the green room they mentioned he might get an ESPN segment called "How far will Quinn drop?"
Good work, gang.
1:45 p.m. ET: When Atlanta picked Jamaal Anderson with the 8th pick, Brady Quinn looked like, "Who? Didn't that guy retire a couple years ago? They took a guy from that Wal-Mart state?"
• Michael Vick was disappointed to find out that Arkansas recently banned cock fighting. He wanted a guy from Louisiana, the last state where it's legal.
• Anderson looked pretty mean on video, but then again all the highlights I saw were against Mississippi State. Does that count?
2 p.m. ET: Ted Ginn. Oh, my. Brady Quinn looks like he wants to take up another sport, maybe baseball or boxing like Jeff Samardzija or Tom Zbikowski respectively. The Dolphins electrified the place by selecting Ginn, who can flat-out fly and I think is going to be a great player . A "Brady Sucks" chant broke out as a surprising number of Ohio State fans in attendance rejoiced.
Everyone is still buzzing. Quinn is two more spots from firing CAA. Drew Rosenhaus is already texting him.
• In a nice touch, they played the Dolphins' fight song – "Miami Dolphins are No. 1" – over the loudspeaker as we waited for Miami to pick. In a draft with little excitement up to that point – the New York Public Library down the street has more excitement running through it thus far – it was a glimmer of hope.
• Cockfighting is also legal in Washington, D.C., which is understandable. Our congressmen and women need something to do other than take bribes and sleep with their interns.
2:10 p.m. ET: Houston needed help on the defensive line, the secondary, at wide receiver and offensive line. Other than that they are about to turn the corner. So they took Amobi Okoye, the 19-year-old defensive tackle who starred at Louisville. He joins Mario Williams in an effort to build a young, athletic defensive front and should help boost Williams' productivity.
• San Francisco is on the clock and they don't need a quarterback. This doesn't bode well for the Brady Quinn wait, which is getting more painful by the minute. Even Irish haters might start feeling for the guy. Well, maybe. Quinn may fall all the way to Carolina at 14 or Green Bay (the Brett Favre heir apparent) at 16.
2:25 p.m. ET: San Francisco grabs Patrick Willis, the lightning-fast, hard-hitting linebacker out of Mississippi. This was a guy I heard every team in the NFL liked. They couldn't take him in the top 10, but everyone wanted him.
• It looked like he was having a pretty good house party in Tennessee. With his signing bonus money he should buy another couch for the family. They were a little packed in there.
• Buffalo could use Brady Quinn, or else he could go to Carolina at No. 14, but only if the Panthers are willing to give up on the Chris Weinke era. Maybe Weinke just needs more time.
2:40 p.m. ET: Buffalo replaced one malcontent running back with another. Cal's Marshawn Lynch goes to the Bills and makes all of those foolish stories about how teams were wary of off-field issues and would pick only "character" guys now. According to media reports, Lynch has a restraining order against him from an ex-girlfriend who accused him of sexual assault. The NFL is about talent and talent only. Now and forever. Let's just go with it, OK?
• One of the highlights ESPN showed of Lynch was him driving a cart around Cal's stadium after a victory. I loved when he did that.
• In an effort to entertain between picks, the NFL has been playing music based on the city that is next picking. Some of them have been tough. With the Rams on the clock we got treated to the ancient "Meet in me in St. Louis." Ouch.
I'm looking forward to Cincinnati's selection when we get to hear "Folsom Prison Blues" by Johnny Cash.
• Word is Roger Goodell ordered them to get Brady Quinn out of the green room so he doesn't have to suffer any longer. What a heart-warming gesture. Tags would have left him in there for ratings potential.
• Still, ESPN just ran a poll asking, "Will Quinn fall as far as Aaron Rodgers?"
2:45 p.m. ET: Nebraska defensive end Grant Wistrom worked out pretty well for St. Louis, so perhaps Adam Carriker, hulking Husker himself, will too.
• Carolina trades its pick to New York Jets and the place goes nuts. If it is Quinn, for some reason, that'll be the end of the "Brady Sucks" chants. Look out.
3 p.m. ET: The Jets make the move to grab Darrelle Revis, the defensive back out of Pittsburgh who is considered a lock-down cornerback. Revis also doubles as a return man, meaning he has plenty of value and in their mind was worth giving up a second-round pick to get.
Jets fans were fine with the pick although not as wild as if it had been Quinn (which wouldn't have made any sense) or just about any big name they've actually heard much about. They could only muster a couple of "J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets" chants. Pretty weak, really.
• Meanwhile, Quinn is taking the Circle Line cruise tour to kill time. Or off in a hole-in-the-wall bar in Brooklyn curing his misery with some Bushmills straight. Green Bay still looms, though.
3:05 p.m. ET: Steelers grab Lawrence Timmons out of Florida State and a home with a green wall and Drew Rosenhaus in it. Not bad. Rosenhaus had been pretty quiet this year, so I was wondering where he might pop up. "Next question."
• Green Bay can give up on Aaron Rodgers, the last QB of the future to fall to them from the green room and take Brady Quinn, a newer, more famous model. Maybe he is the answer for the post-Favre era.
But the Pack needs to go all in right now, try to make the playoffs in what should be Favre's last year. That's why they've been talking about getting Randy Moss. So someone who helps right away like tight end Greg Olsen out of Miami would seem to be the best fit.
3:30 p.m. ET: Green Bay goes with Tennessee defensive tackle Justin Harrell, who helps the Packers' sagging line and continues speculation that they will get Brett Favre some offensive help by pulling off a trade for Randy Moss.
• On his conference call with the South Florida media, new Miami wide receiver Ten Ginn said he was surprised the Dolphins didn't take Brady Quinn.
• How do you feel if you are one of the six companies that have already negotiated deals with Quinn? With every camera shot of him in the green room, his hair seems to get worse and worse. Tough day all around.
• Jacksonville traded its pick to Denver, giving the Broncos the 17th overall for the 21st overall, plus third-round and sixth-round picks. Denver selected Jarvis Moss, a defensive end out of Florida.
3:45 p.m. ET: The Cincinnati Bengals take Leon Hall, the cornerback out of Michigan. Since their defense was ranked 30th last year, it made sense. They're second choice was a warden from the Ohio Department of Corrections.
• For the record, Quinn worked deals with Nike, Hummer, EAS, Xbox, Subway and Sprint. In the end, who cares where he gets picked. He is very wealthy right now.
• Tennessee's theme song is "All my exes live in Texas, that's why I live in Tennessee." The fans are enraptured by this entertainment.
4:05 p.m. ET: With Pacman Jones out for the year, Tennessee grabs Hittin' Michael Griffin out of Texas. What they really need is to make sure Pacman winds up at that prison The Rock coaches at. Might keep him in game shape.
• The Giants were up, so that meant 15 minutes of fans doing the following: chanting "Let's Go Giants" and "Big Blue Wrecking Crew", butchering the pitch to Sinatra's "New York, New York" and then trying so hard to get camera time a pregnant woman almost got trampled. She must be carrying a future Jets fan.
Then, after all of that, they pick Aaron Ross and all the fans turn to each other and go, "who?"
Gotta love the draft.
4:25 p.m. ET: The most relieved man in the world, Brady Quinn goes to Cleveland after all. He walked into Radio City pointing up to heaven, exhaling and putting the Browns hat on even before shaking Roger Goodell's hand. He was the only player to do that.
The crowd cheered wildly for him, proving that after awhile just about everyone felt a little bad for the kid.
• Cleveland gave up a bunch to get him – a second round pick this year and a first rounder in 2008.
Dallas made out huge on that, dropping down just 14 spots down this year (22nd overall to 36th overall) to pick up what should be a top-15 first-round pick next year. For the Cowboys that's a steal.
For Cleveland though, they get the signature QB, the Ohio product, at a cheaper price, and have big Joe Thomas to protect him. Their fans won't know what they missed out on for at least another year.
Intriguing deal to say the least.
• According to the official NFL stat pack, Jacksonville defensive back Reggie Nelson did the three cone in 6.7 seconds. Meanwhile, new Arizona lineman Levi Brown took care of the three cone in vanilla, chocolate and rocky road.
4:35 p.m. ET: Cleveland starting QB Charlie Frye had an interesting afternoon, didn't he? Third pick comes and he's probably celebrating that the Browns not only don't get Quinn to replace him but grab Joe Thomas to keep pass rushers off his back.
He probably popped some champagne at the thought of remaining the starter.
Then a few hours later, wham! Here comes Brady and he's playing. Otherwise, giving up that first rounder makes no sense.
Frye may have smashed that empty champagne bottle over his own head.
5 p.m. ET: Brady Quinn held his press conference – he was relieved, funny and relaxed – and here are some quick highlights. He was on the phone with Baltimore, who claimed they were about to draft him (in a deal with Kansas City?) when Cleveland clicked in and said they were taking him.
On getting picked, at last: "It felt like the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulder."
On the wait: "In my head, I had a spot where I didn't think I'd to any further. And obviously I went past that."
On watching teams pass him by: "(It) got to a point where teams are going to stop needing a quarterback. They're successful, they have a veteran or they took a quarterback a year ago. What can you do?"
On the boos and cheers from the fans: "I think the love-hate relationship comes more from going to Notre Dame. It's like the Yankees. Those are two teams you either love them or hate them."
On secretly thinking that he was going to show Cleveland up one day for passing him over at No. 3: "I'd be lying if I said no."
On losing money by dropping in the draft: "Everyone was saying I was losing money. I didn't have it. In my wallet I have like a dollar in cash. And its still in there. If you have success in the NFL you'll make (plenty of) money in your second contract."
5:05 p.m. ET: Meanwhile, Kansas City took Dwayne Bowe of LSU, a wide receiver, New England grabbed off-field gamble Brandon Meriweather, a safety out of Miami (Fla.) and Carolina took his Hurricanes teammate Jon Beason, a linebacker.
With Meriweather, again, so much for all those stories about character being all important suddenly. At Miami, according to the Baltimore Sun, he "was suspended one game for stomping on a Florida International player during a melee last season. He is also known to have discharged a registered handgun defending himself during an attempted robbery."
The gun thing shouldn't be a big issue since it wasn't like he was doing the robbing.
• Philly fans spent 10 minutes singing "Fly, Eagles, Fly" and getting fired up by the "Rocky" theme song only to have the Eagles trade the pick to the Cowboys for second-, third- and fifth-round picks.
5:15 p.m. ET: Cleveland felt giving up their 2008 first-round pick was worth it as long as they weren't going to finish in the bottom 10 next year. With Quinn and Joe Thomas, the Browns braintrust believe they won't, so they didn't hesitate to make the deal.
• Brady Quinn's sister Laura (or Mrs. A.J. Hawk) is working for IMG here, doing interviews. She somehow managed to score a one-on-one with her brother, which meant this was the first time I've ever seen an interview end, "thank you and I love you."
• Dallas took Anthony Spencer, a linebacker from Purdue with a pick that they had swapped all over the place. Dallas started at 22, went to 36, then returned to 26, which if you add up, multiply by five and then take the square root of you get the number of reasons Terrell Owens has to not be depressed.
5:40 p.m. ET: The NFL Draft slogan is "Who wants it more?" This makes no sense. It has nothing to do with wanting it more, you can only pick where you are allowed to pick. If they abolished the draft and the salary cap then "Who wants it more?" would apply because JaMarcus Russell would have just gone to the highest bidder.
In this case, it's just stupid. Whatever consultant ripped off the NFL to come up with that is the official winner of this year's event.
• Getting close to the end here, which means with the 33rd pick I'm taking cold beer and the Nuggets-Spurs game.
• The Saints added speed at wide receiver with University of Tennessee's Robert Meachem. Then, San Francisco traded up for New England's pick and proceeded to grab offensive tackle Joe Staley out of Central Michigan. This totally screws with Baltimore, who wanted Staley to eventually replace Jonathan Ogden. I suggest the Ravens send Marlo Stanfield to California to "send a message" and get a little revenge.
• For giving up the 28th pick overall, New England grabbed the 49ers' fourth-round pick this year and first-round selection in 2008. Not bad for the Pats, who will again enter a draft with two first-rounders.
6:15 p.m. ET: An improvising – and perfectly poetic – Browns fan in attendance is wearing a Tim Couch jersey. Only he put white tape over the "C" so now it just reads "ouch."
• San Diego selects Craig Davis, a wide receiver from Louisiana State. That's four Bayou Bengals taken in the first round, which has to make Tigers fans feel good and terrible at the same time.
When you have a quarterback as the top pick overall and two first-round receivers, how in the heck did you manage just three points at Auburn and 10 at Florida? The rest of the season they rang it up, of course, but that must have been a heck of a defensive scheme put on them those days.
• Greg Olsen goes to the Bears, giving them a downfield threat at tight end. And we get the second appearance of Drew Rosenhaus, who this time had his client and his family in front of a wall painted blue. Nice interior decorating.
• One more pick and I mercifully become Mr. Irrelevant again.
6:30 p.m. ET: The Colts take Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio State, another weapon for Peyton Manning to throw to. Very few Colts fans are here, but the Tim Ouch "fan" got excited with the selection. Guess he likes the Buckeyes also.
Here's what I like about the Colts: They see the Patriots take a defensive back in Brandon Meriweather and they up the ante with another wide receiver. That's not a coincidence. You've got to love that rivalry.
• Our draft guru John Murphy nailed the first and the 32nd picks. Just about everything in between got a little dicey. "I started strong and finished strong," he said.
All in all he got nine picks correct. I'd make fun of him but he has to be here for another 36 hours and may be getting violent soon.
• With that, the first round of the NFL Draft is complete, and so too is this live blog. If you followed along for the entire time, reading all 5,000-some words as they were printed, you may have a bigger problem than us. And that's saying something.
This was the longest first round in NFL Draft history – six hours and eight minutes. Great. Always nice to set a record.
There is just no better way to blow a spring day than the NFL Draft, where hope is eternal for all 32 franchises, even the ones with quarterbacks who like dog fighting.
Special thanks to Brady Quinn for plummeting in the draft to give us something to write about. In the end, he didn't look any worse for wear. And in the long run, he'll appreciate having Joe Thomas to save him.
Maybe he's the one who wanted it more.
- Brady Quinn
- Calvin Johnson
- Roger Goodell
- Michael Vick