Welcome to HitFix’s first live blog of the NFL Draft…and the Draft’s first primetime treatment (and we’re not talking about Deion).
7:30 PM Remember when everyone was upset that the NFL and Madison Square Garden got into a fight that sent the Draft to Radio City Music Hall? Now, I can’t imagine it anywhere else.
7:35 PM How much does Mel Kiper hate his soon-to-be replacement, Todd McShay? Despite being ESPN’s No. 2 NFL Draft guy, McShay isn’t at the main table.
7:36PM Sam Bradford is on the phone smiling. He must be the No. 1 pick. And he is. Rams take Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford with the top pick.
7:38 PM The Rams have had four months to figure out this pick. No need to take these extra minutes. They have been successful with an undrafted QB (Kurt Warner) and a 6th-round draftee (Marc Bulger). Taking Bradford is a big gamble. They’ve had a Top-2 pick in the last three drafts; They may be back there again next year.
7:39 PM Bradford looks great. Love the light suit. And what a big smile. Even if he stinks at QB for the Rams, he’s a good “face of the franchise.”
7:44 PM It’s kind of crappy that ESPN cuts to the college players on the phone before the pick is announced. Ndamukong Suh is taken No. 2 and might be the best player in the draft, and his addition to the Lions will be a huge help. Watch out for the Lions this year. I know you hear this every year, but you don’t hear it from me. Until now. I think 9-7 is very reachable for this team, and Suh will contribute immediately.
7:46 PM Leave it to New Yorkers to boo every single pick. Oy.
7:50 PM I can’t stand the insistence of ESPN to talk to draft picks after they get selected. What insight are they going to share when asked questions like, “How do you feel?” Ugh. How about asking them, “Gonna get laid tonight?” Or “What are you going to do with your first million?” If all Suzy Kolber can come up with is, “How does it feel,” it’s time to find another 5-foot-2 beauty queen to ask questions.
7:52 PM Again, we now know Gerald McCoy is picked by the Bucs at No. 3 before it’s announced. ESPN needs to stop showing these players before their name is announced. It’s like telling you what’s going to happen in a movie 10 minutes before you see it. And two Oklahoma players selected in the top three? No chance they both pan out.
7:57 PM This is probably the only desirable city in the Top 10 to get drafted to: Washington DC. I mean, would you really want to be shipped to Detroit, St. Louis, Buffalo, Jacksonville, Cleveland…? I guess Oakland wouldn’t be so bad, maybe Seattle. These guys drafted in the Top 10 get great paydays, but I’d rather get half the money and live in Miami.
8:00 PM Three of the top four picks from Oklahoma? Washington picks Trent Williams at No. 4. This guy might be the one who really breaks out. He’s got some strong players lining up behind him: Donovan McNabb, Clinton Portis, Larry Johnson, Willie Parker…and now Mike Shanahan running the show? If I had to pick one guy drafted today who could end up in the Hall of Fame, this is the guy. Great pick by Washington.
8:03 PM I can’t believe Todd McShay is nowhere to be found tonight. This has to be all about Mel Kiper’s ego. McShay’s the better analyst, but Kiper has the bigger
hair name. And yes, the bigger ego. ESPN should tell Kiper to go jump in a lake and make the switch to McShay.
8:06 PM What will today be remembered as? The Huggy Draft? Seems every guy gives Roger Goodell a bear hug. So we finally have our drinking game: Every time Goodell gets a hug, take a shot!
8:07 PM Wow, major screw-up by ESPN. They played the audio of Chiefs selection Eric Berry (picked No. 5) saying, “I’m going to the Chiefs, baby” before it was announced. I know they’ve been showing the guys on the phone, but at least there was some question. To show the player announcing it before he’s selected? Wow. Major screw-up. BTW, safety’s a great spot for the Chiefs to fill. In the AFC West you have to chase the Chargers with Philip Rivers and those big receivers. If this kid delivers, with no top CBs in the draft (and I’m not sure Haden is), this will be a very smart pick.
8:18 PM Not a big surprise that Seattle would take Russell Okung at No. 6. Most didn’t think he’d fall to the No. 6 spot. If the Seahawks want to work that left side the way they did with Shaun Alexander, this guy’s the man. Also not surprising that Pete Carroll would go offense in his first draft.
8:20 PM Fifty minutes in, Todd McShay shows up and he’s in the ESPN studio. Crazy.
8:22 PM Odd that the color palette of ESPN’s on-site studio and lighting is lavender. I get that the NFL has embraced pink with the breast cancer fight, but lavender?
8:24 PM And the first bust of the draft is, shockingly, headed to Cleveland. Florida CB Joe Haden goes with the No. 7 pick. What in heck is Gruden talking about? Ignore his 40 time and he’s somehow faster when he puts on his uniform? BTW, anyone else think Joe Haden looks like Nien Nunb?
8:28 PM I don’t know what ESPN is doing, but their telecast is delayed way behind NFL.com, who has already announced Oakland drafted Rolando McClain from Alabama as the No. 8 pick. Odd.
8:30 PM Just to show you how “outside the box” the Raiders are: McClain isn’t even at the Draft. They could have easily traded down and still gotten this guy. The Patriots have the Raiders’ No. 1 pick next year; Looks like it’ll be a Top 10 pick again.
8:31 PM Buffalo Bills takes Clemson RB C.J. Spiller at No. 9. So odd. They already have Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson. The Bills have so many needs, why take a running back? Gruden says he’s happy for Spiller – really? Because he’s now stuck on a bad team in Buffalo? Yeah he might be the best player on the board, but with the defenses in the AFC East the Bills need to stop somebody. Odd.
8:39 PM Jaguars take DT Tyson Alualu with the No. 10 pick. Not sure about this one. The Jags have a lot of needs and are dropping quickly. With their running game, a strong defensive line is key to rebuilding.
8:41 PM 49ers who had the No. 13 pick trade up to No. 11 (from Denver). Interesting that they’re chasing somebody here. They jumped over the Dolphins. Interesting to see who they wanted…
8:48 PM Great pick by the 49ers: OT Anthony Davis goes at 11. They obviously want to invest in QB Alex Smith; Instead of grabbing a QB they’re shoring up the line. And with Frank Gore behind this line, the Niners could take another leap. Remember, Ray Rice ran behind this guy.
8:52 PM Seems like a reach for the Chargers. A running back from the WAC? Taking Ryan Matthews at No. 12, they’re obviously thinking they need a big bruiser to work opposite Darren Sproles.
8:54 PM Broncos coach Josh McDaniels obviously learned the Patriots’ draft method and is implementing it: Trade down a few times, collect later draft picks, and maximize your draft. Love what the Broncos are doing.
9:00 PM The Eagles wanted this guy bad, taking Brandon Graham at No. 13. Don’t know much about this guy, but 26 tackles for loss in a season is pretty good. With McNabb gone, they’re going to need defensive help.
9:07 PM Seahawks pick Earl Thomas, a Safety from Texas, at No. 14. Good for Pete Carroll. He grabs someone to lock up the offensive line and now a strong safety with good field vision and hands. Seahawks will get an A in a lot of draft grades.
9:12 PM We’re getting to the point where Toby Gerhardt would be a bit of a reach, but I’ll make a big prediction here: Whoever grabs him will be in the playoffs next year, and he will be Top 3 for offensive rookie of the year, as long as he has 250+ carries.
9:17 PM Jerk agent Drew Rosenhaus lands his client, Jason Pierre-Paul, in New York with the No. 15 pick. He’s a big guy with speed who can fill some holes on that defensive line. He’s a project, but that coaching staff can bring him along. I’m not sure he’ll produce next year, but the draft isn’t about producing next year. Could be a strong pick.
9:24 PM Seven defensive linemen taken in the first 16 picks as the Titans go with Georgie Tech DE Derrick Morgan at 16.
9:26 PM Wow, the 49ers are rocking. Mike Singletary knows what he’s doing. They’ve clearly decided that Alex Smith is their QB of the future (or he really likes David Carr), passing up Jimmy Clausen for OG Mike Iupati at NO. 17. They’ve now taken two rookie offensive linemen with their two first-round picks, and this guy is a stud run blocker. Singletary isn’t being flashy, and his game isn’t flashy, but they are building a playoff team. Niners get an A+.
9:29 PM Okay, it’s great that the NFL allowed a Make-A-Wish kid to announce the Steelers’ pick. Maurkice Pouncey, Tim Tebow’s center at Florida, can run block and pass block and is a great pick at 18. All of the talk about them trading Roethlisberger was obviously a bunch of malarky. They’re committed to him and he now has a center to play with him through retirement.
9:35 PM The Falcons take LB Sean Witherspoon at 19. I was thinking about how many non-high-profile players are being picked, but that reflects how few superstars are in this draft. The draft is deep, but the guy they pick here probably won’t contribute much more than their 2nd-round pick.
9:38 PM Houston Texans are obviously aware that they went 9-7 but still 0-2 against the Colts. They’ve taken CB Kareen Jackson at No. 20. Nice pick. They play Indy in Week 1; Jackson will get a special welcome to the league from Mr. Manning and Mr. Wayne.
9:42 PM Prediction: Pats traded their pick to the Broncos and the Broncos will take Dez Bryant. And the Patriots will take their now-No. 24 pick to trade right out of the first round.
9:43 PM Cincinnati nabs TE Jermaine Gresham at No. 21. This is the guy Michael Irvin thought they’d take a few days ago. With the weapons on this team now, Carson Palmer has no excuse to not be a Top-5 QB again.
9:47 PM Right position, wrong guy. I can’t believe the Broncos passed up Dez Bryant for WR Demaryius Thomas at the No. 22 pick. I guess the Broncos were tired of dealing with a headcase in Brandon Marshall so passed up Bryant, who allegedly has “character issues.”
9:53 PM It’s possible no team drafted for need more than the Green Bay Packers this year, picking Bryan Bulaga at No. 23. The only thing that kept them from the NFC Championship was their offensive line. But man, is it a law that offensive linemen are unattractive? Jeez.
10:02 PM Patriots are racking up draft picks. The Dallas Cowboys have traded up to grab the best player on the board, Dez Bryant, at No. 24. He gets to stay in Texas with his lesbian mom. I’m not sure this is what the Cowboys needed, but he’ll add to the team. This pick could have huge consequences for someone. He had been suspended for working out with former Cowboy Deion Sanders. This pick could result in some serious repercussions and discussions regarding tampering.
10:03 PM These military guys are the only people the New York crowd hasn’t booed all night.
10:07 PM And the second bust of the draft, after all of the wheeling and dealing, Tim Tebow gets picked at No. 25 by the Broncos. They traded down for this? Huh? This isn’t a project, this is doomed to fail. Bi-zarre. They now have three guys in Tebow, Brady Quinn and Kyle Orton who are all crappy QBs. Bi-zarre. Worst pick of the draft.
10:11 PM More on the Broncos picking Tim Tebow. Idiots. Kiper and Gruden and Young are talking about Tebow’s leadership. You don’t draft “leadership” in the FIRST ROUND! You groom it or draft it later. It’s no wonder 41% of the ESPN viewers give this pick an F. Well look at it this way, Broncos fans: You’ll have a Top-10 pick next year.
10:17 PM My buddy Juan Gibbons, former CB from Washington State, is with me and is really happy with Arizona’s pick of Dan Williams, DT, at No. 26. Juan says he’s physical and a gamer. That’s exactly what Whisenhunt and the Cardinals need. There is nothing you want more from a DT than someone who can be physical (OK, speed is good too).
10:26 PM No boos are louder from the New York crowd than for the Patriots’ pick. CB Devin McCourtey taken No. 27 by the Pats. One INT last year? Really? A cornerback with one pick drafted in the first round? Ten passes defended? Belichick must see something in this kid, but the chances of him being a starter this year are slim to none. A head-scratcher.
10: 35 PM Eight defensive linemen taken in the first round, with the Dolphins picking Jared Odrick at No. 28. Locking up that line in the AFC East is huge, with Brady and Sanchez (and whoever is in Buffalo).
10:39 PM What is the basement the Jets’ pick at No. 29, CB Kyle Wilson, is in during the draft? Odd. Anyhow, with Revis and Antonio-Cromartie, if this guy pans out they will have 3 top-level CBs with a coach who wants to blitz, blitz, blitz. Scary. BTW, how nuts are the New York fans? They even boo their own team’s picks.
10:47 PM The prototype of smash-mouth football is a strong defensive line and a game-carrying running back. That’s what the Lions are banking on with the pick of Jahvid Best at No. 30, trading up to get him. I said earlier the Lions could be 9-7 this year; I’ll say it again. Lions will be in the playoff hunt in November. You heard it here first.
10: 56 PM The five-man crew actually called something right. But then again, everyone knew the Colts needed a pass rusher. With the No. 31 pick, DE Jerry Hughes goes to the Colts. ESPN is showing some crap video of this guy. I don’t believe for a second he’s going to be a strong bookend with Dwight Freeney, or even a decent backup for him. Not sure about this one.
10:57 PM If I was being considered for the Madden game cover, I’d refuse it. But Drew Brees is going to try to buck a 10-year tradition of the coverboy sucking or getting injured. Make that 11 years.
11:04 PM Saints pick Patrick Robinson, a DB, at No. 32. Just about the least ceremonious first-round pick ever. With just the first round tonight, it was pretty anti-climactic.
Thanks for joining us tonight! For more sports info, head to Outsports.com. Now I gotta go give someone a hug…
Cyd Zeigler is the co-founder of Outsports.com, dubbed “ESPN for homos.” His NFL expertise has appeared on ESPN and Fox Sports Radio.