Welcome to the first (annual?) Blog the Walls Down live coverage of the first round of the NFL Draft. I'm your humble host, JD.
The actual start of the draft is about 10 minutes away, so check back in for the first pick.
The St. Louis Rams are on the clock, and boy, do they need help.
1. St. Louis Rams - Sam Bradford - QB - Oklahoma - An obvious first pick, even though taking a QB number one overall is a gamble, but it's a good pick. I like Sam, and I think that given time, he'll be a star.
The Detroit Lions are on the clock, and it's their second draft without Matt Millen. That can only be a good thing.
2. Detroit Lions - Ndamukong Suh - DT - Nebraska - If you've seen this guy play, then you know that this is a great pick for the Lions. He dominated the Big 12 Championship game and was one of the best players in all of college football last year. Suh is a difference maker and can only help the woeful Lions. He was number one on Mel's board. Not sure where Mel's Hair had him.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are on the clock. I'd expect Gerald McCoy to go here.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Gerald McCoy - DT - Oklahoma - This makes 2 OU players taken in the first three picks. Somewhere, Jim Ross is smiling. You could have flip flopped Suh and McCoy and either team would be happy with who they've drafted. He'll make Bucs fans not groan every time their defense takes the field. Wow... McCoy just gave the commish a huge hug. That's a good sign, Bucs fans.
The Washington Redskins are on the clock. The Skins had better make a good pick here since they don't have another pick until the fourth round.
4. Washington Redskins - Trent Williams - OT - Oklahoma - Wow... a safe pick by the Skins. They got someone to help protect newly acquired Donnie McNabb and a replacement for Chris Samuels. Good, safe pick.
The Kansas City Chiefs are on the clock. Expect another OT here, probably Russell Okung out of Oklahoma State. Man, what a good year for Big 12 players. Bzzt! Wrongo fongo.
5. Kansas City Chiefs - Eric Berry - S - Tennessee - Per Berman, he's the most NFL ready player in the draft. USA Today compares him to Troy Polamalu and Ed Reed which is good company to be included with. Gruden calls him a "force" and thinks he could play corner. Another good, safe pick.
The Seattle Seahawks are on the clock. They could sure use a big time running back, maybe C.J. Spiller? Not so fast, my friend. Adam Schefter says Okung is going here.
6. Seattle Seahawks - Russell Okung - OT - Oklahoma State - The ESPN crew says that when the Hawks were good, they had big time o-linemen, and Mel says Okung is the best offensive lineman in the draft. It's hard to pass up a potential franchise left tackle.
The Cleveland Browns are on the clock. Will they take Spiller or go for Derrick Morgan out of Georgia Tech? What will the Big Show do? Per Michael Smith, it will be either Joe Haden or Kyle Wilson, both CBs. The Steelers were targeting Joe Haden. Steve Young wonders if the Browns will trade down. It's Joe Haden, who is in tears.
7. Cleveland Browns - Joe Haden - CB - Florida - The top cornerback in the draft goes to a team in great need of help on the perimeter. The AFC North is a very pass happy division, so the Big Show goes defense in his first draft as Browns head honcho. I was hoping Haden would fall to the Steelers. Guess not.
Now the fun begins. The Oakland Raiders are on the clock. Somewhere Al Davis is getting ready to make what is sure to be a pick that will make the ESPN guys go "What?". An aside - do Al and Bob Huggins buy their track suits at the same place?
8. Oakland Raiders - Rolando McClain - LB - Alabama - Mel says he's surprised and says McClain is the 15th best player on his board. The Raiders have reached again! Guess the JaMarcus Russell experiment isn't over since Jimmy Clausen is still out there. Either that or the Raiders are sold on Bruce Gradkowski. McClain is a good football player who will step into the Raiders already good D immediately.
Bills are on the clock and the pick is already in!
9. Buffalo Bills - C.J. Spiller - RB - Clemson - Somewhat of a surprise pick per Berman, but he's the best player on the board per Mel and Gruden. Spiller is a home run hitter who can catch the ball in space and return kicks. The Bills need some excitement on offense, and this is a great pick, but the Bills had better address their O-Line in later rounds.
The Jacksonville Jags are on the clock. Could they actually take Tim Tebow here or play it safe with Derrick Morgan?
Man, Jon Gruden is a scary looking dude at times.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars - Tyson Alualu - DT - California - Mel says this is a stretch at 10 and that while he's not surprised that Alualu made into the first round, he is surprised he went this high. Even I think this is a big reach.
The San Francisco 49ers are on the clock as they have just swapped picks with the Broncos. I wonder who my second favorite team is targeting and what they had to give up to move up. It's a 4th round pick this year - not too much.
11. San Francisco 49ers - Anthony Davis - OT - The Niners get the player they wanted, and it only cost them a 4th round pick to move up. It looks like Miami really wanted this guy because the Dolphins have just traded their pick to San Diego who move up from the 28th pick. Interesting...
12. San Diego Chargers - Ryan Matthews - RB - Fresno State - This is the guy Mort said the Bolts were targeting and thought he wouldn't be there at 28. Matthews led the nation in rushing and his blazing speed (a 4.37 40) makes him a good fit for the Chargers who have been looking for a RB since LaDanian Tomlinson lost a step.
13. Philadelphia Eagles - Brandon Graham - DE - Michigan - Consensus was that the Eagles had moved up from 24th (giving the Broncos two 3rd round picks to do so) to take S Earl Thomas, but instead they go for a pass rusher who is in the Dwight Freeney mode.
Man... trades are fast and furious tonight. The Seahawks are back on the clock for their second first round pick. Jimmy Clausen, maybe or Earl Thomas?
14. Seattle Seahawks - Earl Thomas - S - Texas - The Seahawks use their second first round pick on a guy who played in an NFL style defense at Texas. Gruden says he can play corner in the pros. Fast and great instincts for the ball. Pete Carroll's first two picks as the new head man in Seattle are pretty strong.
The New York Giants are on the clock. Still no receivers taken. Would the Giants take a flyer on Dez Bryant here?
Where does Jimmy Clausen go? Mort says that if the Niners don't take him at 17, Clausen could fall all the way to the bottom of the first round.
15. New York Giants - Jason Pierre-Paul - DE - South Florida - Well, the Giants had an epically bad defense last year, so going with Pierre-Paul is a safe pick. I saw him play against Pitt and wasn't all that impressed, but Gruden loves him. He's very raw, so the Giants will need to give him some time to develop. Mort says this could signal the end of Osi Umeniyora's tenure in New York.
The Tennessee Titans are on the clock, and Mel says Derrick Morgan should go here to be a replacement for the departed Kyle Vanden Bosch.
16. Tennessee Titans - Derrick Morgan - DE - Georgia Tech - The ACC Defensive Player of the Year and the heir apparent to Vanden Bosch in Tennessee. I think the Titans should be thrilled to get a possible top ten talent in the middle of the first round.
The Niners are back on the board for their second pick of the first round.
17. San Francisco 49ers - Mike Iupati - OL - Idaho - This guy is just huge and should help keep Ol' Small Hands Alex Smith off the turf and open some holes for Frank Gore. Steve compares him to Jesse Sapolu.
The Steelers are on the clock. Will Maurkice Pouncey go here?
18. Pittsburgh Steelers - Maurkice Pouncey - OL - Florida - Pouncey can play guard and will probably move to center eventually. Justin Hartwig is the encumbent, but I expect Pouncey will have a chance to become the Steelers' next All-Pro center before long.
The Atlanta Falcons are on the clock.
19. Atlanta Falcons - Sean Witherspoon - LB - Missouri - Well, there goes yet another Big 12 player taken in the first round. Witherspoon had a huge combine and will help fill one of the Falcons big needs - outside linebacker. He slipped a bit last year, but a lot of that was attributed to the departure of players like Ziggy Hood to the pros.
The Houston Texans are on the clock. It's 9:35 and we've had 19 picks in two hours. Not too bad.
20. Houston Texas - Kareem Jackson - CB - Alabama - Gruden says that Jackson is a "Nick Saban cornerback" with good coverage skills. The Texans finally had a winning season last year, so maybe they've finally made the turn toward being a possible playoff contender.
The Cincinnati Bengals are on the clock. I see Jermaine Gresham going here.
21. Cincinnati Bengals - Jermaine Gresham - TE - Oklahoma - The Bengals get a big time receiving tight end, something Carson Palmer has never had. Now, the Bengals usually take a step back after having a good season, so maybe this is a sign that they're drafting for need and the future at the same time.
The New England Patriots are on the clock. I wonder if Mrs. Belichick picked out a special draft day hoodie for Bill. Nevermind... the Pats have traded the pick to the Broncos.
22. Denver Broncos - Demaryius Thomas - WR - Georgia Tech - The first receiver goes off the board to a team that just traded All-Pro receiver Brandon Marshall to Miami. Mel says he's talented but needs a lot of work. Still no Dez Bryant, by the way. Steve and Tommy are perplexed by this pick.
The Green Bay Packers are on the clock. Do they go after Dez Bryant to give Aaron Rodgers another big time receiving threat or does Bryant continue to fall like a rock? Schefter says Bryant will probably go to the Ravens at #25.
23. Green Bay Packers - Bryan Bulaga - OT - Iowa - Berman says Bulaga looks like an old school Packer with his buzzcut. USA Today had him going in the top ten, so I think the Pack got a steal here, especially considering the serious problems they had protecting the QB last season. Aaron Rodgers should be thrilled.
Now the Pats are on the clock. See above for my Bill Belichick hoodie joke. Nevermind, take two. The Cowboys have traded up to take Dez Bryant.
24. Dallas Cowboys - Dez Bryant - WR - Oklahoma State - Character and injury issues aside, Bryant is a talented receiver and he gives the Cowboys something they've been lacking - a playmaker on receiver. He'll fit in well in Dallas, but I hope he keeps his nose clean. Jerry Jones always has regretted not taking Randy Moss and hopes this will make up for it.
The Baltimore Ravens are on the clock, probably stinging from losing out on Bryant.
Tim Tebow is on the phone! Who's on the clock? The Broncos? Another trade? Wow!
25. Denver Broncos - Tim Tebow - QB - Florida - Well, if the Broncos are drafting for character and potential, then they couldn't have made a better pick than Tebow. Yes, his delivery is a work in progress. Yes, he doesn't have a great arm. But he's a winner. Period. No matter where he plays, he's going to help your team. Will he be a QB? Time will tell, but I think he'll get that time in Denver.
Man, did the Broncos wheel and deal tonight. And Jimmy Clausen waits.
The Arizona Cardinals are on the clock. Will they take Clausen? I doubt it, especially considering what a bust Matt Leinart has been.
26. Arizona Cardinals - Dan Williams - DT - Tennessee - Mel says he dropped because of where he plays - nose tackle in a 3-4 defense - and he didn't fit anywhere else except for Arizona. He's a true nose tackle and a big upgrade on the D-line.
The Pats are on the clock for the third time in the first round. Maybe they'll actually, y'know, make a pick this time.
I'll say one thing about tonight - it sure hasn't been boring. Could the Pats take Clausen as Tom Brady's heir apparent or could Clausen possibly slip all the way to the Vikings at #30?
27. New England Patriots - Devin McCourty - DB - Rutgers - Wow... 2 Rutgers players in the first round. That's gotta be a first. Mel says McCourty is a good special teams player and will help the Pats there. A bit of a stretch, per Mel, but there were other guys on the board who would have been a better value here.
The Miami Dolphins are back on the clock after trading down earlier in the evening. No Jimmy Clausen here, that's for sure.
28. Miami Dolphins - Jared Odrick - DT - Penn State - Could this be the replacement for Jason Taylor? Gruden says he's the perfect Bill Parcells player, and you know that he's got a good pedigree coming from PSU. I like this pick for the Dolphins because they need someone to rush the passer with the departures of Taylor and Joey Porter.
The J-E-T-S are on the clock, and they sure as hell aren't taking Jimmy Clausen.
29. New York Jets - Kyle Wilson - CB - Boise State - Called an "agitator" by the ESPN guys, had great ball skills and is very confident. Mel isn't as sold on him as Gruden is, but man, put him opposite Darelle Revis and you might have a good set of shutdown corners.
The Minnesota Favres are on the clock. Do they take Jimmy Clausen? Nope. The Lions have traded up to take... beats me.
30. Detroit Lions - Jahvid Best - RB - California - The Lions need a running back, and Best is a good pick at 30. They get Suh early in the first round and Best at the end. Not a bad first day for the woeful Lions.
I hope Jimmy Clausen hasn't spent his first round signing bonus, because all indications are that he's not going to be drafted tonight. I think Colt McCoy is a much better fit for the Colts or the Saints, but we'll see.
The Indy Colts are on the clock. Did Gruden just say "dumb ass"?
31. Indianapolis Colts - Jerry Hughes - LB - TCU - Hughes has a huge motor and was a first team All-American on a very good team. The Colts could use another pass rusher, and he'll be tutored by Dwight Freeney, one of the best in the league. Good late first round pick.
The Super Bowl champs, the New Orleans Saints, are on the clock with the last pick of the first round, and Drew Brees will be announcing the pick.
32. New Orleans Saints - Patrick Robinson - CB - Florida State - A great cover guy, but not much of a hitter. He was good but not great, per Mel. He has prototypical NFL size and is a good run supporter. He was the last of the corners with a first round grade, per Mel.
That concludes the first round, and it only took 3.5 hours. I meant to predict that the first round of the draft would finish before the Penguins/Senators game, but I forgot.
And that's all for me, gang. I'll be back tomorrow with a look back at the first round and Penguins post-mortem.