West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith was the one on draft day whose presence in the green room was a bit heartbreaking.
There is usually one player whose stress is evident as the picks fly off the board. Brady Quinn and Aaron Rodgers know the feeling, as television cameras memorably chronicled their angst in the green room as they fell in the draft. Smith looked more and more uncomfortable as the night dragged on. The NFL Network said at about 11:40 p.m. ET, with two picks left to go in the first round, that Smith left the building. ESPN reported that Smith doesn't plan to come back for the second day of the draft. He'll be a cautionary green room tale for years to come, like Rodgers and Quinn.
Manti Te'o didn't take the chance. The Notre Dame linebacker stayed in Hawaii, with no television cameras in his home. He wasn't taken in the first round either, but at least the nation didn't have to suffer along with him. The same can be said for USC quarterback Matt Barkley, who many projected as a top 10 pick in last year's draft before he decided to go back to college for another year. He wasn't taken in Thursday's first round either.
Heading into the second day of the draft, there is a lot of skill position talent still available, and Smith is probably be the headliner of that group. In another oddity, no running backs were taken in the first round of the NFL draft for the first time since 1963. That's what happens when the first round was filled with offensive and defensive linemen.
With stars like Smith, Te'o and Barkley still on the board, the second round might be more intriguing than the rather lackluster first round was.
Florida State's E.J. Manuel was the only quarterback selected in the first round, which is one of the surprises of the draft. There were no running backs taken, and just three receivers and one tight end went in the first round. And Smith was far from the only big-name quarterback who didn't hear his name called.
The Jaguars pick first in the second round, and Blaine Gabbert has done more than enough to prove that Jacksonville needs a quarterback. The Cardinals have the sixth pick of the second round. Carson Palmer is a fine option at quarterback for Arizona if it's still 2007. It's not, so Arizona should be in play for a quarterback. The Raiders, with the 10th pick of the second round, are another team that drafts early on Friday and needs a quarterback.
And there are a few interesting options. Aside from Smith, whose struggles over the second half of the 2012 season ruined his first-round hopes, Barkley, Syracuse's Ryan Nassib, Oklahoma's Landry Jones, Arkansas' Tyler Wilson and N.C. State's Mike Glennon are the top quarterbacks available. So there are a lot of intriguing names available at a second-round price. While Smith seems to be the top option, there are so many differing opinions on the quarterbacks this year that it's anyone's guess what order they'll go in.
Te'o might not be the best defensive player left on the board, but he's the most interesting. We'll never know for sure how much the catfishing/fake girlfriend hoax that was uncovered after last season affected his draft stock. There were plenty of football-related concerns about him after he struggled mightily in the BCS Championship Game against Alabama. Many teams picking late in the first round could have used a middle linebacker but none selected the Heisman Trophy runner-up. With the last pick of the first round, Baltimore was on the clock and the Ravens need to replace the retired Ray Lewis. Commissioner Roger Goodell started to announce "Ma ... " but then finished by saying the name of Florida safety Matt Elam. And officially Te'o had to wait until at least Friday to hear his name called.
Here are some of the top players who will be available when the draft continues on Friday:
Geno Smith, West Virginia
Tyler Wilson, Arkansas
Matt Barkley, USC
Mike Glennon, N.C. State
Ryan Nassib, Syracuse
Landry Jones, Oklahoma
Eddie Lacy, Alabama
Giovani Bernard, North Carolina
Montee Ball, Wisconsin
Le'Veon Bell, Michigan State
Johnathan Franklin, UCLA
Keenan Allen, Cal
Robert Woods, USC
Markus Wheaton, Oregon State
Justin Hunter, Tennessee
Zach Ertz, Stanford
Gavin Escobar, San Diego State
Menelik Watson, Florida State
Larry Warford, Kentucky
Terron Armstead, Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Johnathan Hankins, Ohio State
Jesse Williams, Alabama
John Jenkins, Georgia
Damontre Moore, Texas A&M
Alex Okafor, Texas
Sam Montgomery, LSU
Cornellius "Tank" Carradine, Florida State
Margus Hunt, SMU
Manti Te'o, Notre Dame
Kevin Minter, LSU
Arthur Brown, Kansas State
Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State
Jamar Taylor, Boise State
David Amerson, N.C. State
Jonathan Cyprien, Florida International
D.J. Swearinger, South Carolina