NEW YORK – Despite the gloomy weather and the fact the football universe knew who would be the first and second draft picks, the National Football League held its annual draft at Radio City Music Hall. Fanatics lined up beginning at 10 p.m. Wednesday night in order to get into the venue for free.
Dressed in their favorite team colors and with painted faces, they cheered for the most part, unlike last year when they gave commissioner Roger Goodell a Bronx cheer when he made his way to the podium to begin the festivities because of the lockout that almost threatened the season.
Stating that “the 2012 season has officially started,” Goodell then announced that the Indianapolis Colts picked Andrew Luck, quarterback from Stanford. Flashing his wide smile, while putting on the Colts hat, Luck embraced Goodell while the crowd chanted “R-G-3” in reference to Robert Griffin lll, who would be picked next by the Washington Redskins. Instead of sporting a Colts jersey with the traditional No. 1 on it, Luck’s jersey displayed No. 12. The number he will wear as a member of Colts and the number he wore in college.
The crowd then roared its approval when Griffin was picked as he sported a light blue suit and dreadlocks under his Redskins cap. Then the fun really began as eight trades were made before the first round concluded.
Denver, New England, Tampa Bay, Minnesota and Dallas were involved in two trades each. Cleveland moved up from its No. 4 spot to No. 3 in its trade with the Vikings in order to get highly-touted running back Trent Richardson from Alabama. Minnesota then used its pick to select tackle Matt Kalil from USC.
Dallas, looking to improve its secondary, selected Morris Claiborne, cornerback from LSU. New England selected defensive end Chandler Jones from Syracuse and Dont’a Hightower, inside linebacker from Alabama.
With the Jets crowd screaming “We want Ingram” referring to defensive end Melvin Ingram from South Carolina, they used their 16th pick in the first round to select Quinton Coples, defensive end from North Carolina. Dressed in a grey suit, white shirt and blue tie, Coples said he was more nervous than his girlfriend and mom, who had escorted him to the draft. Two Jet beat reporters thought that Coples was the better selection.
The last selection of the night belonged to the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants, who were looking to replace running back Brandon Jacobs after he signed with the San Francisco 49ers. With their 32nd pick, they chose running back David Wilson from Virginia Tech. He gained over 1,700 yards last year. With injury prone Ahmad Bradshaw and his foot/ankle issues over the past couple of years, Wilson may get more playing time than expected.
The NFL fanatics were in rare form from their attire, painted faces and unique, offending chants that are commonly heard throughout stadiums and arenas these days. Then, after the much anticipated picks were made by the Colts and Redskins, teams went on a trading frenzy the likes that prior draft s had never seen.