This is a collection of real-time thoughts from Round 1 of the Draft. 95% of what's to come are my immediate insights and interpretations as the pundits spoke and the picks were made (with some random observations mixed in). The other 5% are stats and links I went back in to update. So read below and it'll be like you were right there with me watching last night!
1. I don't understand the process of who gets invited to the Draft and who doesn't. Do agents negotiate this? Does the NFL ask players to attend? If someone turns them down do they ask someone else? When are they asked? Why do I care so much about this?
2. The Berman-Gruden-Kiper trio might have the worst collection of hair-do's in television history.
3. OMG I love Russell Wilson! He just made this opening montage with 50 Cent worth watching. By the way...50 Cent is alive?
AND WE'RE OFF...
4. Wow is this Goodell-Simms-Namath thing embarrassing! Did they even practice what they were going to say? It feels forced, awkward and unnecessary.
5. Congrats to Eric Fisher. Chiefs needed offensive linemen and Fisher seems like the consensus best guy (even though two weeks ago the consensus best guy was Luke Joeckel). My only question is the level of competition he played against. Central Michigan isn't playing the same teams as Texas A&M, so is he as NFL "ready" as Joeckel? Time will tell.
6. So apparently Miami isn't messing around this year! Say what you want about the moves - I sure did (see my free agency posts) - but they have been all business in 2013. You have to respect the attitude of Stephen Ross (owner) and Jeff Ireland (GM). That said...
7. Gruden is hating on Miami's pick of Dion Jordan. I have to say I agree. He's a "smaller" edge rusher with limited experience. That sounds like the next Aaron Maybin to me, although I'm sure the Dolphins are expecting the next Aldon Smith.
8. Lane Johnson just went to the Eagles. I'm yet to be interested in any player drafted. Hopefully the Lions pick someone who actually touches the football.
9. Nope. They go with Ziggy Ansah. Who is seemingly wearing 3-D glasses?!
NOW WE'RE GETTING SERIOUS!
10. My Bills shake it up by trading the 8th pick to the Rams for the 16th pick, and an extra 2nd rounder and 7th rounder. I love it! Not only does it give us a desperately needed extra pick, but it makes us relevant! The Bills have single handedly altered the course of this draft. We haven't been talked about this much on ESPN in forever.
11. Tavon Austin is picked by St. Louis. This sounds like a unanimous thumbs up from the Draft commentator community. I agree. A major reason why Geno Smith was projected as one of, if not the top quarterback, was the production he had from Tavon Austin. Austin should run wild on the St. Louis turf. Some might question his size, but smaller receivers are more and more productive every year in today's NFL. Sam Bradford is smiling. Rex Ryan is not. From all accounts, the Jets wanted to get younger and faster, and were very interested in Austin. Another shout out to my Bills: by trading with the Rams, it kept a touchdown-maker out of the hands of our division rival. Smooth move, Buddy Nix.
12. Congrats, Dee Milliner. You have to fill the shoes of one of the best players in the league in the biggest media market in the world. The Jets replaced a cornerback coming off a serious knee injury with a guy who's had five surgeries before his 22nd birthday.
13. D.J. Hayden just went to the Raiders. You could make the argument that the average football fan doesn't recognize the name of anyone selected thus far: Fisher, Joeckel, Jordan, Johnson, Ansah, Mingo, Cooper, Austin, Milliner, Warmack, Fluker, Hayden.
14. Once you sift through the BS, mock drafts and awkward dude on dude hugs, the Draft really is one of the best sporting events of the year. It's so enjoyable. For all the ways you can make fun of ESPN (Skip Bayless comes to mind), it's pretty amazing what they have built this into.
15. What a moment for the young man from St. Jude's Hospital.
16. SHOCKED!! The Bills take E.J. Manuel and the first QB is off the board. Let me take this in...
17. Initial reaction: I like it. I like his size, running ability, accuracy. He's said to be a great leader and all-around good guy. He won any bowl game he ever played in and was MVP of the Senior Bowl (maybe the most important "game" of his college career). Go Bills!
18. I really like the Tyler Eifert pick by Cincy. It's another weapon for Dalton and will potentially take safety help away from A.J. Green. I'm predicting big things for the Bengals this year.
ROUNDING OUT ROUND ONE...
19. This booking.com commercial was sneaky hysterical.
20. DeAndre Hopkins was one of my favorite guys coming into the Draft. Great hands, good size, always seems to be open - even when he's covered. Nice scoop by the Texans to play alongside Andre Johnson and give more depth to their offense.
21. Holy picks! The Patriots just got four picks from the Vikings as Minnesota gets back into the 1st round. Should the Patriots even send representatives to Radio City on Day One?
22. I was about to praise Minnesota for their 1st round picks with Sharrif Floyd and Xavier Rhodes, then they went and dropped four picks to get the biggest boom or bust guy available. Cordarrelle Patterson could be great, but I'm always hesitant with "raw" receivers who have possible attitude problems.
23. Matt Elam is so not as interesting as Manti Te'o. On to Round 2!