LOS ANGELES — The day is finally here: the First Round of the 2012 NFL Draft. We’ve been talking about this day since the season ended back on February 5 when Tom Brady’s hail mary landed just by the outstretched arms of Rob Gronkowski. It was then speculation began on who would go No. 1 overall, even though we all assumed (correctly, it turned out) that it would be Andrew Luck of Stanford. Last year, it was Cam Newton who dominated our pre-Draft chatter; this year it’s Luck and Baylor’s Robert Griffin III who’ve high-jacked the Draft talk in the months leading up to Roger Goodell taking the podium at Radio. City. Music. Hall. As always, I couldn’t be more excited for this year’s First Round. And as always, I’ll be documenting all the action live all night with NFL Network as my guide (#duh) with its team of Rich Eisen, Steve Mariucci, Marshall Faulk, Michael Irvin and Mike Mayock. I’m expecting hilarity, ridiculousness, insight and lots of references to watching tape, being a beast and scout jargon Mayock likes to use to confuse the viewers. I laid out my First Round Predictions earlier this week so we’ll see how I do, but above all, I’m expecting a fun several hours. The festivities don’t officially kickoff until 8pmET but I’m tuning in for the pre-game show just in case. We’ll see if anything good happens. Enjoy!
4:03pm – Robert Griffin III on the red carpet with Melissa Stark and wow, does he look just like Andre 3000’s kid brother; pretty much dressed like him, too, with a baby blue suit and purple tie and a checkered shirt. Camera pans down to his socks, which say “Go Catch Your Dreams” and are Redskins colors. Very sick. He had them custom made; no kidding. This guy is going to be a huge, huge star in the D.C. area. Ya know, until he clashes with Mike Shannahan and Jared Allen separates his shoulder in Week 6.
4:08pm – WOW!! An hour to go before the draft and we already have a trade. Michael Lombardi and Jason LaCanfora are reporting the Browns have traded up to No. 3 to presumedly take Trent Richardson. Unreal. The Greatest Player Of All-Time, also known as Jim Brown, called Richardson “ordinary” earlier today. I guess we’re going to find out just how ordinary he is in Cleveland. Colt McCoy is smiling big right now.
4:13pm – So the Browns give up, reportedly, a 4th, 5th and 7th, as well as swapping No. 1s for Richardson. Well, I guess Cleveland had the picks after last year’s coup with the Falcons for Julio Jones. NFLN has Richardson video on, it’s ridiculous how good he is. The Vikings should’ve just traded Adrian Peterson and taken Richardson.
4:15pm – Bill Belichick coming up on Patriots Cam! I love that Bill always wears a suit for these things. He’s amazing. Man I hope the Pats trade up and take Chandler Jones or Mark Barron or Luke Kuechly.
4:24pm – Bill has said “we’ll see what happens tonight” three times already. Good to see he’s in midseason form in late April.
4:27 – hilarious tweet from Tom E. Curran re: Belichick: “Perhaps the finest coach in NFL history just sucked the life out of the NFL Network predraft broadcast. #belibuster”
4:42pm – “The Ones” feature is very tight. Love the Jon Hamm voice over. Some good names on that list and some busts. Interesting to see if both Luck and Griffin (I refuse to call him that other moniker) can become superstars as usually one is and one isn’t when two QBs go that high. I would bet both make the Pro Bowl in 4 years.
4:45pm – Eisen kicks it to Deion Sanders, who’s on the stage walking across a gigantic “PRIMETIME” which is embroidered on the carpet. That wasn’t an accident, I assure you.
4:51pm – and we have an early candidate for Most Annoying Commercial: you guessed it, “The Avengers” trailer. I think this movie is going to be so terrible and unwatchable not even Robert Downey Jr. will be able to save it but it’s not going to matter because it’ll still rake in boatloads of cash thanks to the fanboys, who are going to come out in full force for it. Who am I kidding, I’ll probably end up donating my 30 bucks to cause.
4:54pm – Ryan Tannehill standing with Melissa Stark says he’s excited about 14 times. Yeah, I would be too if I was about to be the 8th pick in the draft when any other year I wouldn’t go in the first 3 rounds. Oh, and his wife is a model. He’s winning the draft so far tonight.
5:00pm – NFL Draft open for NFLN narrated by Jon Hamm. I’m getting flashbacks to Don Draper’s Kodak pitch from season one of “Mad Men.” If you’re not watching that show, you’re missing out.
5:02pm – and there it is! Our first Radio. City. Music. Hall. from Eisen. Only 56 more to go! What a scene out there in New York. Someday I need to attend the Draft as a fan. I gotta think it’s either one of the coolest, most fun days ever or akin to sitting outside Best Buy in the freezing rain on Black Friday because your girl wants a new blender.
5:03pm – and here’s Goodell to the dais to a chorus of boos from the Radio City crowd. New York is seriously the best. They’d boo their moms if they hadn’t made the playoffs in three years. “The 2012 NFL Draft is officially open” actually gets cheers from the crowd and Goodell announces the Colts are on the clock. How is this taking any time whatsoever?!? Jim Irsay, you’ve known you were taking Luck since October!!?!
5:04pm – Luck is on the phone as Eisen tells us since we’ve known this was the pick since 2009, NFLN is gonna show it, which won’t be the case throughout the night. No doubt they’ll show Griffin on the phone, too. The pick is in, so let’s get this party started.
5:06pm – It’s official. Luck is the first pick and his mom pinning him with the Colts horseshoe on his lapel. Very cool moment. Handshakes all around in the Colts war room. So Luck doesn’t exactly look like a Mad Men extra. Looks like I’m already 0-fer on my predictions. Thought that one would be a lock.
5:08pm – Mayock just compared Luck’s athleticism to Cam Newton’s. Umm, really? If Luck rushes for 14 touchdowns this season I’ll run the LA Marathon buck-ass naked.
5:10pm – Luck with Deion on the stage and he’s excited and NOT sporting a neckbeard. Definitely the upset of the day thus far. And the Redskins have their pick in and of course it’s going to be Robert Griffin III. Can’t believe he’s still rocking the braids. It’s 2012. Come on, bro.
5:13pm – Griffin has his named called and as he’s hugging his family and entourage in the green room he picks up his daughter who’s holding an iPhone. Don’t know why, but this is hilarious to me.
5:14pm – apparently the Browns have made their pick already and the Vikings are on the clock. They should without a doubt move down and compile picks. Deion calls Griffin the savoir of the Redskins. I wonder what VA and Scotty Wat think about that. I’ve posted it on our GroupMe, we’ll see who gets back. Deion says you “have to have swag” to wear those socks. I’m already over Deion.
5:20pm – Browns make it official and take Richardson. This guy is… wait for it… a beast. Too bad he’s stuck in Cleveland, which means he’ll probably be out for the season with a knee injury in Week 4.
5:21pm – these guys are taking FOREVER to get on stage to the Commish. They are literally shaking hands and man-hugging with 30 people before getting up there. There is a wicked logjam right now, as the Vikings and Bucs have already turned in their cards. IN other news, I think my Triscuits are stale but that won’t stop me from eating the rest of the box.
5:24pm – and it appears the Jaguars have traded up to No. 5 to take who Lombardi is guessing is Justin Blackmon. OK, that’s fine and dandy, but who’s gonna throw him the ball!? Is Maurice Jones-Drew playing quarterback now? Richardson on the stage with Deion with his two daughters who are rocking Browns hats. Pretty cool moment.
5:26pm – Mayock says it’s either Morris Claiborne or Matt Kalil for the Vikings here and the Rams will be taking whomever they don’t. Here’s Goodell … Vikings take Kalil, smart pick. 10-year pro. He’s the biggest lock in the Draft. And good because no one has to lose their job, as I bluntly stated earlier today.
5:28pm – a Lane Kiffin sighting! Wow. And Kalil rocking a serious beard. He also becomes the 476th player from USC chosen. That’s ridiculous, nine more than Notre Dame.
5:31pm – OH SNAP. First big shocker of the first round. Cowboys trade up to No. 6!!?! Jerry Jones has done it again. Who is he taking there? Mark Barron? Here’s the Jags’ pick … Justin Blackmon it is. “That’s a great pick” says Mayock. Yeah, it is, but still. Blaine Gabbert is still your quarterback.
5:33pm – first GroupMe update from my buddy Dave, a Giants fan: “not looking forwad to playing RG3 twice.” There you have it.
5:37pm – Mayock says reason Cowboys hasn’t made a Super Bowl in recent years is because of their secondary, as Goodell comes out and announces Dallas taking Morris Claiborne. “best ball skills of any corner coming out in recent years.” And is that Claiborne with his kid? So that’s 6 picks and four kids among the draftees. That HAS to be a record.
5:39pm – really like Claiborne’s suit. I tell ya what, Cowboys fans can’t ever complain about Jones not doing what it takes to compile players. He goes out and makes things happen. They don’t always work, but he’s got that Steinbrenner in him in that regard.
5:43pm – so every selection except the top pick has been via a trade, which is a new record and now the Bucs pick is in… Mark Barron from Alabama, who people thought might go in the teens. Nice purple checkered shirt and tie and damn, an enormous gold watch. Mayock all but guarantees he’s a Pro Bowler.
5:47pm – this is a great pick for the Bucs when you think about it, with all those receivers and explosive offenses in the NFC South. Now we have the Dolphins on the clock, so who knows what they’re doing. Ryan Tannehill? Jesus, that’s going to be a disaster. Good thing I’m not a Dolphins fan. Let’s see what Marc says.
5:49pm – and it’s Tannehill to the Dolphins. Man oh man. I thought last year teams panicked with taking quarterbacks early with Jake Locker, Christian Ponder and Gabbert. This guy might be worse than all of them. And poor Chad Henne, I actually thought he might be a decent pro. What do I know, though, Tannehill could be a legit starter. But I wouldn’t bet an apple on that.
5:53pm – the Panthers pick is in and I’m guessing it’s Melvin Ingram though Mayock disagrees, but we agree it’s a defensive player. And the Bills pick is in, too. This first round is flying!
5:54pm – Panthers take Luke Kuechly from Boston College, the stud linebacker. This guy is going to be ridiculous. He’ll make the Pro Bowl this year, count on it. Shot of him at home in Cincinnati with a huge party going on. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, that’s the way to go. Big party at your house. No need for the hoopla of being in New York.
5:56pm – another “Avengers” spot. I’m telling you, major flop. Followed by an Outback ad. Kinda makes me wanna go fight some crime and eat a bloomin’ onion. These stale Triscuits aren’t cutting it.
5:58pm – Bills dial up Stephon Gilmore from South Carolina. More defense for Bills after last year’s selection of Marcel Dareus. Let’s see what Owl says about this pick: “I know very little about him. He’s fast. I like taking a corner though, so I’m happy with that part of it.”
6:00pm – lot of conservative suits from these guys so far in the top 10. Only Robert Griffin went for something a little offbeat. Even Michael Irvin has a generally conservative (for him) look with pin stripes. Mayock did call him Nucky Thompson, which was pretty funny. Chances Irvin knows that reference? 5%?
6:03pm – Chiefs take Dontari Poe to the surprise to most. Poe becomes literally the 10th of 11 picks to have dredlocks, I think, which is ridiculous. And we may have another trade, Eagles move up to 12 to take what people think is Fletcher Cox.
6:06pm – Poe has the top hair in the Draft. Hands down. Also amusing is how he’s wearing his hat now. And JESUS that’s a big watch. “think Haloti Ngata” says Mayock. Damn, that’s some comparison. Irvin wonders why he was so average in college, which is a good question. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say he didn’t work hard enough and took his dumptruck size shape for granted.
6:11pm – let’s see how Eagles fans respond to this pick, always interesting … Fletcher Cox it is and moderate cheers/boos. This is a big boy. OK, I’m all for congratulations backstage, but there needs to be a time limit on getting to the stage. This is getting out of hand. Actually, Cox was one of the quicker guys… wow, what a bear hug he just laid on Goodell. The commish needs to go through his own combine/training before the Draft to deal with these blows he’s taking from guys. I thought this would be a one-year thing, but nope. People love hugging Roger.
6:15pm – Cardinals on the clock. So are they going to take Michael Floyd here or what? Still not sure they’re sold on Kevin Kolb, especially after admittingly going after Peyton Manning earlier this offseason, so we’ll see what happens here. They must feel like they can win their division but are missing what? Defensive line, Offensive line. Who knows.
6:18pm – Cards go with Floyd to team up with Larry Fitzgerald and whomever Ken Whisenhunt decides to march out there at QB. First Notre Dame receiver taken in first round since Tim Brown in 1988. We all know how that worked out (hint: very well.)
6:20pm – Irvin saying Floyd reminds of him Anquan Boldin. I’m buying that. Fitz hasn’t been as good since Boldin left, and well, since Kurt Warner retired. I also buy into the notion of having two stud receivers; balances out the defense so it can’t take away one. Look at the Patriots; who in the hell do you focus your coverage on on that team?
6:23pm – update on Tannehill from Epstein, our resident Dolphins fan: “Don’t know much about him. (Owner Stephen) Ross loves him, which isn’t a good thing to me. Guess we’ll see. Who knows what the Dolphins are doing.” So they have that going for them, which is nice.
6:26pm – apparently Seahawks owner Paul Allen is calling out every other teams picks on his Twitter account before it’s broadcast. Hilarious… Rams take Michael Brockers, the defensive tackle from LSU. Ooh, really liking his suit, too, three-piece with a purple pocket square.
6:30pm – love the war room shots as we see Seattle and Pete Carroll just chillin. Very cool cat. Almost literally ran into him rounding a corner at the Senior Bowl in Mobile this year, and he just laughed it off. Then again, it was kinda late, so who knows where he was coming/going. “I like the drama, I like not knowing the picks,” Mayock says in reference to not showing the kids on the phone before hand. It does add some intrigue, I’ll admit… Seahawks take Bruce Irivin, who can be kind of a wild card but is possibly the best rusher in the draft and wears #11, which is pretty cool for a defensive player. If I was a badass linebacker in college I’d definitely wear a single digit number or something low. Makes you look cooler.
6:31pm – Jets on the clock, who knows what would happen here but they’re definitely taking a defensive player. Really hope it’s not my boy Chandler Jones from Syracuse, that would be disappointing.
6:35pm – not sure if this is a good sign for the Seahawks or not, but the last 1st round pick out of West Virginia: Pacman Jones! Your Seattle Seahawks, everybody!
6:36pm – look at the names available for the Jets here: Ingram, Courtney Upshaw, Quinton Coples, Chandler Jones. Damn. Tom Brady can’t be loving that. Ryan Tannehill is too busy staring into the eyes of his new bride to care. Ryan Fitzpatrick is off grooming his beard somewhere.
6:39pm – ok, Jets fans, let’s hear it … Quinton Coples is the pick and we get some claps and jumping around from the gallery. Well we have another bust candidate. I question how much this guy likes playing football. We’ll see. “Julius peppers-like ability” says Mayock. I mean, come on, Mike. I was at the Senior Bowl, too, and the most impressive thing about Coples there were the fraternity brands on both his upper arms.
6:42pm – from Dave: “Coples and Goodell are hugging like they’ve known each other for 15 years.” Yeah, the hugging has gotten a little creepy at this point.
6:46pm – With the first of their two 1st Round picks, the Bengals take Alabama’s Dre Kirkpatrick, and man am I loving the red sweater under the suit the gray suit. And look at that polkadot tie he’s got there. But seriously, what’s with the dreds?! I really thought guys were going away from that look.
6:53pm – Melvin Ingram finally goes off the board to the Chargers. Surprised he fell as far as he did. Goes to show if you’re a player without a true position or teams aren’t sure where you can play it will affect your stock. It’s too bad, he had a fantastic Senior Bowl and could be one of the best defensive players to come out of this draft when it’s all said and done. Good value for San Diego here. WOW, he and Goodell just did a choreographed handshake like they were Victor Martinez and Manny Ramirez. That was pretty fly, can’t front there.
6:56pm – This might be the first selection of someone I’ve never heard of: Shea McClellin from Boise St. Good to see Parker’s Broncos getting some love in the first round.
7:01pm – Patriots move UP in the draft, just like I predicted, and will take Chandler Jones per Adam Schefter. LOVING that pick. I guess that’s why Bill was being so coy earlier in the afternoon.
7:06pm – another logjam of picks with three in the hopper. Here’s Goodell with the Titans at No. 20 … Kendall Wright, the receiver from Baylor. Good move for them especially with Kenny Britt’s uncertainty following ACL surgery.
7:09pm – did Irvin just compare Wright to Santonio Holmes? That can’t be a good thing, can it? And the Steelers are on the clock at 24 even though we have yet to hear who the Patriots are taking at 21, even though we think it’s going to be Chandler Jones, or maybe Courtney Upshaw. Bill loves SEC players and is friends with Nick Saban.
7:10pm – here’s Goodell with the Patirots pick … boos from the Jets fan, haha, haters… CHANDLER JONES!!! YES!!! Mayock’s no. 9 player falls to 21. This is fantastic. Haven’t been this excited about a Syracuse player coming out since Dwight Freeney and that seemed to work out just fine. Also, how stupid athletic is this family. I’m sure you’ve heard by now, but Chandler’s brother is UFC light heavyweight champion Jon “Bones” Jones and his other brother, Arthur, plays defensive line for the Ravens. Three professional athletes, not bad. The Brockmans need to step up their game.
7:12pm – second first round pick for the Browns, let’s see how they screw this up … wow, Brandon Weeden! Unreal. Nice knowing ya, Colt McCoy. “He can make all the throws” says Mayock. I really like this kid, had a great Senior Bowl and a great season at Oklahoma St., which I thought should’ve been playing for the national championship. Should be a good pro. Ha, just realized how ridiculous calling him “kid” looks, he’s 28 and married for Pete’s sake.
7:13pm – VA, a Redskins season ticket holder, has weighed in on Robert Griffin via GroupMe: “he appears to be off the charts in any category you’d want in a franchise QB. Having said that, he’s coming to the sports Bermuda triangle of Washington, dc and I’ve assumed nothing but the worst for/from him.” And there you have it. Good luck, Mr. Griffin.
7:17pm – Lions pick about to be announced as we learn that the Patriots traded up AGAIN. Wow, I really nailed that one. This time up to 25, swapping out with the Broncos.
7:19pm – Calvin Johnson, your new Madden 2013 cover boy, is out to announce the Lions pick. Let’s see how this works out for him. I guess if anyone can break the “Madden Curse” it’s Megatron. Oh, and they take Iowa tackle Riley Reiff. Sure, why not, need to protect the injury prone Matthew Stafford somehow.
7:21pm – big Stanford guard David DeCastro goes to the Steelers at 24. Blue collar pick for a blue collar team. Pittsburgh rarely misses on guys, so this is will probably work out for them. Let’s see what the Patriots do here, probably Courtney Upshaw, I’m guessing. Eisen says Pats traded out all their lower picks, so they have two 2nd round picks tomorrow and that’s it for the draft. Interesting move by Bill there. I’d guess they’d trade down on one of those 2nd rounders for more picks on Day 3, but that’s just a guess.
7:22pm – Patriots take Dont’a Hightower from Alabama. The 4th Crimson Tide player to go so far tonight. “two of the most explosive defensive players in this year’s draft,” Mayock says about the Pats draft so far. Really solid. Pats were 31st in the league last year in defense, so there’s only one way to go in that regard. Both players with start and play a TON next season.
7:28pm – and we have another “WHO?!?” pick of the first round. Whitney Mercilus from Illinois for the Texans at No. 26. Guess you have to try and replace Mario Williams somehow.
7:32pm – Eisen and Marshall do their Goodell/Ingram handshake impression. Eisen’s too white to pull that off, which he immediately acknowledges, so that’s good. Mayock just wants Charlie Yook to stop telling him what to do in his ear. Good luck with that, as well.
7:34pm – Bengals take Kevin Zeitler from Wisconsin to play guard. Zzzzzzzzzzzz… Maycok saying if your’e a Bengals fan you should be happy. Um, OK.
7:36pm – OK, new commercial I’m sick of, the Top 100 promo that NFLN is running. I’m only half kidding because I really like that show having worked on it last season. I think this year’s list will be more indicative of who the players actually think are the best 100 players in the league. Last year it appeared if the voting was skewed because a) not a lot actually voted and b) no one really knew what this list was and how it was constructed. Really curious to see if Tebow makes the list. I’m guessing no. Cam Newton will be in the top 25 and maybe higher than Eli Manning, who continues to get no respect. Rob Gronkowski will also be very high. Aaron Rodgers will be your new No. 1. I have no inside info, just speculating. Probably do a full post about this next week or further along in the list, which kicks off this weekend.
7:39pm – packers take Nick Perry from USC, who is a BEAST. He can play some serious ball. Last time the Packers picked a Trojan his name was Clay Matthews, seems to have worked out so far.
7:42pm – Courtney Upshaw looks like he’s about to rip that table off and throw it across the green room. I’ve stood next to that guy. He’s straight up the scariest dude I’ve ever seen. Shocked he’s still on the board.
7:45pm – Ravens trade out of the first round to the Vikings, who take Harrison Smith, a defensive back from Notre Dame. Shocking, Mayock loves this pick, wonder if it’s that because he’s the Irish broadcaster? Haha, Mayock just called Darren Sharper “what’s his name” that’s hilarious. First time since 1994 that Notre Dame had multiple first round picks. So that must’ve been Jerome Bettis and who? Chris Zorich? No. Hmm… Ok, looking it up.
7:47pm – So I was way off there. Bryant Young, Aaron Taylor and Jeff Burris were taken in the first round that year from Notre Dame. In case anyone was wondering, the first overall pick that year was Big Daddy Dan Wilkinson. The 3rd pick was Heath Shuler. NFLN’s own Marshall Faulk went 2nd and Willie McGinest 4th. Respect.
7:49pm – in doing the Verizon phone promo, with a closeup of his hand and the phone, Eisen says “sorry ladies, I’m married.” Classic.
7:50pm – 49ers take A.J. Jenkins, the receiver from Illinois. Mayock had him as a 2nd rounder and 8th best WR. Not exactly a ringing endorsement. Why would they take him, anyway? They signed Mario Manningham and Randy Moss this offseason in order to bolster that passing offense for Alex Smith. Really odd move unless you think this kid can play right away, which I seriously doubt.
7:53pm – Interesting tweet just now from Deadspin, noting that ESPN has said the word “Tebow” 14 times, while NFLN has said it only once. Not sure what that means but it’s not nothing that’s for sure.
7:54pm – Josh, my resident Ravens fan chimes in after they trade out of the first round; “waste of 3 hours.”
7:56pm – Bucs trade up to take running back Doug Martin from Boise St. Hmm, LaGarrette Blount can’t be happy right about now.
7:57pm – and we’re minutes away from the end for the first round with the Giants on the clock. Amazing how fast this has gone, roughly less than the average time of an NFL game. That is the real upset/surprise of the night, especially given all the trades.
8:04pm – here we go, let’s wrap this up: “the world champion New York Giants” take David Wilson, running back from Virginia Tech. Wow, 3 running backs in the first round, also an upset, though not to Marshall Faulk. “He’s a football player”, um, yeah, they all are, Mike. Astute observation.
8:06pm – that was exciting and fast. What a fantastic first round. Really shocking no players drafted from the usual powerhouses Ohio St., Penn St., Miami, Florida or Florida St., among others. One thing that kind of annoyed me, aside from the all the man love with the Commissioner, is that everyone seemed to “love” every pick. I really like when the analysts kill picks on these types of things. Bruce Irvin and AJ Jenkins really shouldn’t have been picked where they were but yet there was no real criticism. Best picks, in my opinion: Morris Claiborne, Melvin Ingram and Chandler Jones. Didn’t really like any of the offensive players, aside from the obvious guys at the top. I think Weeden can play in this league but he’ll need some help on Days 2 and 3 from the Browns personnel department. Had a really fun time, once again, so thanks for taking the time to re-live all the 1st Round action with me. It was fast-paced and really exciting. Already can’t wait for my fantasy draft to see which of these rookies my buddies overvalue and the Sept. 5 kickoff. Happy offseason!