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LIVE BLOG: 2012 NFL Draft

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AN OLD FACE*by John Schmeelk 9:32 p.m. ET

*I was very excited to see Danny Clark announce the Texans 68th overall pick. Danny was a seventh round pick, and was proud to point that out when he was a member of the Giants. As a Giant he was always a gentleman and very accessible. He was the original host of Big Blue Hits on Giants.com (along with Sammy Knight) and I think he has a great future in broadcasting. Good guy. 

He was interviewed inside Radio City and talked about how seventh round picks had to always prove themselves. He said he liked playing for five different teams and pointed out how much he loved New York. 

Rueben Randle is at the draft and I'm going to see if I can get something from him at the podium.  

PICK NUMBER 2
by John Schmeelk 9:23 p.m. ET

I love the Broncos selecting Brock Osweiler. It gives them a young quarterback behind Peyton Manning. It will take a him a couple years to be ready, but at 6'7 he has the arm and skills to be a NFL quarterback. Dexter Jackson is the former Bucs player to announce their pick? I was hoping for someone like Reggie Cobb. I just wanted to see some highlights of those old orange uniforms. Guilty as charged. The Ravens took offensive tackle Kelechi Osemele.

The 49ers selected running back LaMichael James, one of the fastest backs in the draft out of Oregon. They continue to compile offensive weapons to compliment an already great defense. It's a very crowded backfield, though, with Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter, and Brandon Jacobs. I'll be interested to see how they utilize all those players. The Packers traded up with the Patriots to jump ahead of the Giants, and they took defensive back Casey Hayward out of Vanderbilt. Giants fans in the crowd started a nice Let's Go Giants Chant as Frank Sinatra's New York blared over the house speakers.

The Giants wasted no time in making their pick, (though it took forever to get the announcement – they are four picks behind again) which was announced by former Giant Michael Strahan, who got a huge ovation. In typical fashion, he played to the crowd and told everyone the Giants selected Rueben Randle out of LSU. I saw some experts have a first round grade on him, and I'm sure the Giants are very excited to have him.Those are two straight picks on the offense for the Giants, and Randle fills a need as well. He's someone that can compete to replace Mario Manningham as the Giants third wide receiver. He has size at 6'3, great hands, and experts say he can go up and get the ball. Analysts say he can beat cornerbacks deep with good top-end speed too. Like David Wilson, he brings big-play ability to the Giants. Very exciting!

SLOWLY MOVING ALONG
*by John Schmeelk 8:52 p.m. ET

*I love the fact there are finally some old timers announcing picks. I'm feeling better about myself. The Giants pick is getting closer at number 63, and the draft room's process is pretty much the same as it was in the first round. The Giants are slowly taking names off their draft list and will be left with a group of players that has the highest rank on their board. The Giants will judge talent and need before making the pick.  A few guys left that I've seen rated high by some experts are Bobby Massie, Lavonte David and Rueben Randall.  Barry Sanders received by the far the biggest ovation of any of the NFL stars that have announced their picks. In an interview, Sanders talked about all the great business and family stuff he has done since retiring from the NFL. He also reminisced about his draft day, which he spent with his family. He called it one of the greatest days of his life. Sanders retired from the NFL when he was still on top of his game, something to be admired. I've never seen anyone tougher to tackle than Barry Sanders. If I wanted to win a Super Bowl, however, I'd take Emmitt Smith.

OUTSIDE TOP 100
*by Dan Salomone 8:24 p.m. ET

*With the Patriots taking Illinois safety Tavon Wilson, they became the first team to take a player outside of Mike Mayock's top 100 (for what it's worth). Here's a look at the best players still available, according to Mayock:

  1. Vinny Curry, DE, Marshall
  2. Casey Hayward, CB, Vanderbilt
  3. Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin
  4. Devon Still, DT, Penn State
  5. Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson
  6. Bobby Massie, OT, Mississippi
  7. Trumaine Johnson, CB, Montana
  8. Lavonte David, OLB, Nebraska
  9. Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson

MORE STARSby John Schmeelk 8:02 p.m. ETThe draft moves on as Fred Taylor announces the Jaguars pick. I'm amazed at how big Taylor is. I loved watching him play running back. It's a shame he always had so many injury issues. He could have been a Hall of Famer. Janoris Jenkins goes to the Rams with their second pick in the second round. He has all the physical talent in the world but so many off the field issues pushed him into the second round. If the Rams help him figure that stuff out, the pick could be an absolute steal. The Rams can take those types of risks with all their picks. The Buffalo Bills pick Cordy Glenn, an offensive lineman that fell a long way. Love it. He can be good at guard or tackle. Jets trade their 2nd, 5th and 7th to move up  and they take Stephen Hill out of Georgia Tech. He has all the size and speed but his production was limited in college because of Tech's triple option offense. He's a risk, but has the tools if he can figure the NFL game out.

MOVING ALONG*by John Schmeelk 7:32 p.m. ET

*Matt Stover announces the Ravens pick, a good kicker in the league for a long time. They get Courtney Upshaw who should be able to rush the passer for the Ravens. He was sitting in that green room for a very long time. Terrell Davis announced Derek Wolfe, a defensive tackle from Cincinnati as the Broncos pick. Davis is under consideration for the Hall of Fame, but I don't think he will get in. As great as he was, Davis just didn't do it for long enough because of knee injuries to warrant entry. The Broncos system also turned Olandis Gary and Mark Anderson into 1000 yard backs. It is amazing, however, that Davis was only a sixth round pick.

SO IT BEGINS… AGAIN
*
by John Schmeelk 7:12 p.m. ET

*Night two of the NFL Draft, and as they should, the Rams make their pick with less than two minutes off the clock. With a night to sleep on it and accept trade offers, they knew what they wanted. Word had it they were pretty upset to lose Justin Blackmon to Jacksonville last night. The Rams also get the Cowboys and Redskins picks in the second round of the draft from trades.  Now this will be fun, as former players announce all the picks. Isaac Bruce and Tory Holt go for the Rams, and I immediately start feeling old. Those two guys were Kurt Warner's main weapons during the Rams Super Bowl Era. That happened when I was in College. Yup, I'm going to be feeling everyone one of my thirty years tonight.  The Colts pick quickly, and their pick is announced by Marvin Harrison. In his era, I always liked Harrison as a player more than either Randy Moss or Terrell Owens. The Colts take one of Andrew Luck's favorite targets from Stanford, Coby Fleener.

With the 32nd pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the World Champion New York Giants select…
*
by Dan Salomone

*The Giants often do their best work in the two-minute drill. Maybe that's why they waited until 1:33 remained in the first round to make their selection with the No. 32 pick.

Without further adieu, the Giants drafted Virginia Tech running back David Wilson.

Stay tuned to Giants.com for the latest news, reaction, and of course, the rest of the rounds in a jam-packed draft weekend.

And for those scoring at home (read my post toward the beginning of the night), fans inside Radio City could vote on "New York Groove" by Ace Frehley, "Empire State of Mind" by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys, or "We are the Champions" by Queen for the Giants' draft song.

With that pick, the world champions' fans selected…New York Groove.

FINALLY HERE
*
by John Schmeelk 10:55 p.m. ET

*AJ Jenkins, a WR goes off the board to the 49ers. They are really stockpiling at that position to try to improve an offense that was carried by the best defense in the league last year. Jenkins joins Randy Moss, Mario Manningham, and Michael Crabtree.

The Bucs trade with the Broncos to move up to 31, giving up their second and swapping 4thround picks. Clearly there is someone there that Tampa Bay really wants: Doug Martin. I'm a fan of the tough runner out of Boise State. He was the best player on a great offense on a blue field in his time at Boise State.

And the Giants take… Dan will tell you about that, I'm off to get reactions from Giants fans!
 
FOCUSING IN
*
by John Schmeelk 10:48 p.m. ET

*The Texans take a pass rusher in Whitney Mercilus to replace Mario Williams, certainly a need. The Bengals take Kevin Zeitler next, a solid interior offensive lineman. The Packers take Nick Perry, a pass rusher to help Clay Mathews get to opposing quarterbacks. When the Packers lost to the Giants in the playoffs, they simply could not get to Eli Manning and get the Giants off the field.

At this point, the Giants are slowly taking people off their board, hoping someone high in their rankings is still on the board at 32.

The Vikings are wasting no time and trade their 4th rounder and 2nd rounder to the Ravens to select at 29. They already took the consensus best tackle of the draft in Matt Kalil and many think they need a big play wide receiver. Instead, they improve their secondary and select Harrison Smith, someone draft experts linked to the Giants at 32.

Tick tock… tick tock…

GETTING CLOSE TO CRUNCH TIME
*by John Schmeelk 10:32 p.m. ET

*Megatron, also known as Calvin Johnson, who was voted to be on the cover of Madden 13, announces the Lions pick: Riley Reiff. He was considered by most as the second best tackle of the draft. Protecting Matthew Stafford can't be considered a bad thing. That means more time to find Calvin Johnson.

The Steelers pick the guy some experts called the best offensive lineman in the draft, disregarding position. David DeCastro should provide more protection for the Steelers quarterback and maybe get their running game a little more consistent. It's very good value for DeCastro at 25.

The Patriots moved up to 25, from 31, and all it took was a 4th round pick. Patriots now have only one pick on the third day of the draft. They end up drafting Dont'a Hightower, an impact inside linebacker in the 3-4. The Patriots are clearly trying to improve their defense, and putting Hightower with Jones and Mayo at linebackers certainly looks good on paper. Hightower can rush the passer with his hand down as well. I know there were a lot of Giants fans hoping for him at 32. Don't worry there's still a lot of talent left.

A good job by the Commissioner catching back up with the picks, this thing is back on track. The Giants should be picking around 11 at this rate. Things are moving very quickly again.

PATRIOTIC TOUCH
*by Dan Salomone 10:30 p.m. ET

*Over the years, Radio City during the draft has garnered a somewhat notorious reputation for the chorus of fans in the balconies.

No matter who you are, if you walk across that stage, there's a high likelihood you'll hear some boos volleyed in your direction.

However, in between the No. 24 and 25th pick on Thursday night, the crowd came to life for the right reason. Commissioner Roger Goodell welcomed more than a dozen members of all branches of the military on stage, and everyone from the team officials closest to the podium all the way up to the third balcony were standing and applauding.

Chants of "USA, USA." rang out before "God Bless the USA" played on the loudspeakers.

PATS TRADE… UP?!?!?!?!
*by John Schmeelk 10:19 p.m. ET

*The Patriots move from number 27 to 21, and it only cost them a third round pick. Bill Belichick has constantly traded down in recent drafts and netted more picks. He must really like a player to move up in the draft like this. My guess: a pass rusher. Media everywhere is saying they will wind up with Chandler Jones, someone many draft experts through would be long gone. This could be an absolute steal for the Patriots and a much needed boost to their defense. Jones projects as a 3-4 OLB that can rush the passer.

We finally find out from the Commissioner that the Titans selected Kendall Wright. The best part of this pick: We get to hear Arrested Development's "Tennessee". A GAME OF HORSESHOES!!!!!!!

The Comissioner is three picks behind again, with the 24th pick on the clock. He still hasn't announced who the Pats are taking. When he finally does make the announcement he is booed, mostly because nobody likes the Pats.

The Browns are interesting. They got their RB, and people tell me this is where they will get their tackle. Lots of guys still on the board there. Instead, the Browns select Brandon Weeden. They must really like the 28 year old quarterback. Most think he still would have been available with their second round pick at 37. Perhaps they go for a tackle there. Weeden was once a draft pick of the New York Yankees.

**SLOWING DOWN

**The draft's breakneck pace has officially slowed to a crawl as teams are using nearly all of their ten minute clock to make their choices. Dre Kirkpatrick, a CB from Alabama goes to the Bengals. A good defense gets even stronger in Cincinnati.

According to Mike Mayock's top 100, Chandler Jones is by far the best available player left on the draft board. Eight of the top 17 picks in the draft have come out of the SEC.

Melvin Ingram goes to the Chargers, a lot later in the first round than many draft experts thought. Many thought he was the best end pass rusher in the draft. I bet San Diego is thrilled to have him at 18.

This is when the Giants will start to sweat out what players could drop to them at 32. If the right player drops, they could have a Prince Amukamara scenario on their hands again.

David DeCastro is still around, the consensus best guard in the draft. Just pointing it out.

Shea McClellin, a DE from Boise State goes to the Bears, someone who has shot up draft boards in recent weeks. This is a run on pass rushers. Guys like Andre Branch, Whitney Mercilus, Nick Perry, Courtney Upshaw and Chandler Jones (Mike Mayock's 9th  best overall player) still out there and can rush the passer. 

GOING GREEN
*
by John Schmeelk 9:42 p.m. ET

*The Rams took the first pass rusher of the draft, Bruce Irvin and Jets fans want their team to pick another: Melvin Ingram. They are chanting his name from the balcony here at Radio City Music Hall.

(I should also note that Mayock called Bruce Irvin perhaps the best pure pass rusher in the draft, but he was a huge risk.)

The Jets end up selecting Quinton Coples, who was much better as a junior then a senior according to Mike Mayock. But at the Senior Bowl, most analysts thought he was the best player on the field. If he plays to his potential this could be an absolute steal for the Jets.

This is officially the halfway point of the draft. 15 more picks to go, Giants fans.

NFC EAST TRYING TO CATCH UP BY TRADING UP
*
by Dan Salomone 9:33 p.m. ET

*While Giants fans wait for their team's pick, the rest of the division added their top pieces for the night in hopes of chasing a division crown in 2012.

And they've all traded up to do so.

A forgone conclusion before the night began, the Washington Redskins' night was a formality in getting their quarterback, Robert Griffin III with the second pick (after trading with the St. Louis Rams for future picks back in early March).

Meanwhile, the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles provided a little more suspense on Thursday night. Both traded up and both went defense.

Dallas traded its second-round pick to the Rams to move up eight spots and take LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne with the No. 6 selection.  Philadelphia moved up to the No. 12 pick to take Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, dealing its fourth- and sixth-round picks to the Seattle Seahawks.

MORE SURPRISES
by John Schmeelk 9:32 p.m. ET

In between the last couple of picks, we've heard both Kelly Clarkson, Adele and One Direction. I can't think of three artists that more typify the NFL than they do. Can you?

Larry Fitzgerald is going to get some help, as the Cardinals draft Michael Floyd, a wide receiver out of Notre Dame. Reports were saying he was begging management to select a wide receiver and take some pressure off of him. Floyd seemed very humble and well spoken in the interview they played in house.

The Rams finally drafted at number 14. They moved from #2 to #14 and in the process netted a first round pick in 2013 and 2014, and the Redskins and Cowboys second round picks this season. Wow, that's a lot of talent. With the 14th pick in the first round the Rams selected Michael Brockers, the last of the first round caliber defensive tackles. The Rams will have plenty of more chances tomorrow night to continue to grow that team with four picks, three coming in the first half of round two.

At 15 the Seahawks took Bruce Irvin, who Mike Mayock had ranked as the fifth best defensive end in the draft. He just described him on the air as someone who can't defend the run at all and has "so many red flags, many teams took him off their boards completely." This is more shocking to me than Dontari Poe.

The Jets go on the clock and the crowd cheers. We'll see if they are cheering when the selection is announced.

FIRST BIG SURPRISE
by John Schmeelk 9:14 p.m. ET

WOW – I am absolutely shocked that the Chiefs just picked Dontari Poe over Fletcher Cox. The Eagles have quickly traded up, and they will definitely take Cox. Dave Spadaro told me this morning on Big Blue Kickoff Live that they love Cox, and would try to trade up for him. The Eagles had trouble in the middle of their defense last year, but with the trade for DeMeco Ryans and now the Cox draft pick, it should get much better. I think the trade helps the Eagles immediately.

In fairness to the Chiefs, Dontari Poe is a LARGE man. If he can use that weight effectively, he could be an unmovable anchor in the middle of the defensive line. But why didn't he dominate at Memphis?

It should be noted all three NFC East teams traded up in the first round this year, desperately trying to keep pace with the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants.

THE TANNEHILL QUESTION
*
by John Schmeelk 9:04 p.m. ET

*The Dolphins pick was considered one of the huge turning points of the first round of the draft. Will they take a potential franchise cornerback? He's a guy that most draft experts don't have graded as a top ten pick, but the quarterback position is so valuable it was impossible to pass up. They end up going with Tannehill, and Miami hopes they have their true heir to Dan Marino. An "overrated" chant serenades the pick. His girl was wearing an orange dress. Deion Sanders asked him on stage if he knew something, and Tannehill just said that she liked the color. Hmm…

Carolina picked extremely quickly at number nine, and I'm guessing they are going to go with Fletcher Cox, the top rated defensive tackle in the draft.  I am wrong. The Panthers go with Luke Keuchly, a middle linebacker than knows how to play the position. Mike Mayock just said he is one of the best coverage linebackers he has ever seen in the draft. With the two tight end formation becoming more and more popular, players like that are becoming extremely valuable.

Stephan Gilmore goes to the Bills at 10, a highly valued corner. Someone has to try to slow down Tom Brady and the Patriots offense, right?

One note: No pass rushers have come off the board yet, and that says something considering how highly that position is valued by GM's across the league. 

MOVING AND GROVINGby John Schmeelk 8:47 p.m. ET

The Jaguars only had to give up their fourth round pick to move from 7th to 5th, a lot less than Cleveland did to move one spot from 4th to 3rd. The rookie wage scale is making it a lot easier for teams in this draft to move up and down. It is making this draft very exciting.

And as I type this, the Cowboys have traded up to the sixth pick in the draft. It's hard to say who they will pick since we still don't know who the fifth pick is. They really need to pick up the announcing of the picks inside the auditorium. Roger Goodell finally announces the Jaguars pick and it is Justin Blackmon, and he fills a great need at wide receiver.

The Cowboys have a need at safety but this seems slightly early for Mark Barron. Fletcher Cox would be a great pick for them on the defensive line next to Jay Ratliff. Or will they take another cornerback like Morris Claiborne? Either way, the Giants are going to have to deal with another very talented player on the Cowboys defense. The Cowboys had to deal their second round pick to move up eight spots, not a prohibitive price.

They end up going with a cornerback, Morris Claiborne. With the signing of Brandon Carr in the offseason, they have a new look secondary. You have to think they have the Giants dynamic wide receivers in mind when they decided to upgrade their defensive backfield. As you might imagine, the crowd did not have a positive reaction to the Cowboys pick. Not many people made the trip up from Big D. 

On a separate note, I LOVE the New Era draft caps. They are simple and look great.

THIS IS WHEN IT GETS INTERESTING
by John Schmeelk 8:32 p.m. ET

The Commissioner is getting behind here. The Bucs are on the board at number five, and we still haven't heard who the Browns are taking at number three. The pomp and circumstance on the stage is slowing things down.

At number three was when this draft was going to get interesting, and it did early with the Browns trading three third day picks to move up only one place in the draft. They got the man they wanted in Trent Richardson, who will replace the departing Peyton Hillis.

The Vikings on the other hand, are leveraging their picks extremely well. They got three picks from Cleveland to move three spots and still got the man the tackle they wanted, Ryan Kalil, to protect their young quarterback Christian Ponder. They can use the additional picks to fill out their roster.

This is the area of the draft where the chips start falling. Tampa has traded down. The third trade of selections in the Top Five… let's see where the Jaguars go. Clearly there is someone there that they want. LOTS OF ACTION!!!

NFL Draft: The Musical
by Dan Salomone 8:30 p.m. ET

The NFL is embracing its venue here at Radio City Music Hall.

The in-house feed is letting fans vote for which song will be played when their respective team's pick is announced. For example, Vikings fans could vote for "Skol Vikings" (their fight song), "Immigrant Song" by Led Zeppelin, or "Purple Rain."

Nothing like the offensive lineman formerly known as Matt Kalil walking out to the soft sounds of Prince for his welcome to the pros. Before their pick, the audience was serenaded with "Who let the dogs out?" for the Cleveland Browns.

I wonder what the options will be for when the Giants are on the clock. Probably the standards.

Note: They played Kid Rock's "Cowboy" when it was announced Dallas traded up.  

NO SURPRISES EARLY
8:26 p.m. ET 

The best part of the first two picks is that neither the Redskins nor the Colts took all 15 minutes to select the players everyone knew they were going to pick. Sorry Giants fans, no Andrew Luck for you.

I got my hands on one of the gift bags each fan gets when they attend the draft. The NFL takes care of its fans. The coolest thing is a radio that allows fans to listen to either the NFL network or ESPN broadcast, both of which are shown on large monitors in the main auditorium. Fans also get a free T-Shirt, towel, a special Draft pin, a mouse pad and some football cards. It's really pretty good.

In terms of the picks, the NFC East just got a lot tougher with yet another top notch quarterback joining the division. There was a nice "RG III" chant before he was picked.  As for Andrew Luck, his manner reminds me a lot of Eli Manning. He seems very down to earth. He decided to rock the purple tie.

Random Pre-Draft Thoughtsby John Schmeelk

I've worked every NFL Draft since 2004 and every year the thing gets bigger and bigger. There has never been more media, with the lounge area overflowing with writers. Granted, the media always flocks to the food, but it has never been as crowded as it was tonight.

The red carpet was introduced three years ago when the draft went to Thursday night for the first time, and it didn't disappoint this year. NFL greats like Barry Sanders and Fred Taylor escorted the draft prospects and talked to the media.

There are more Redskins fans than I've ever seen at one of these drafts. I get they are excited for Robert Griffin III, but with so little drama surrounding the pick, it seems somewhat anticlimactic to me.

Nice touch on the in-house Radio City feed, they are doing live interviews with not only Draft prospects, but their families as well. It gives a great feel for not just the player, but the person and the environment he came from. After hearing from Robert Griffin III's family, you like him even more.

Finally, there are an inordinate amount of Giants highlights in the videos they are showing inside Radio City Music Hall. It pays to win the Super Bowl. Hopefully, it will give Giants fans something to enjoy since they have a very long wait before they pick at #32 in the first round. Talking to Giants fans before the draft, they seem to want a tight end or offensive lineman in the first round. One thing was constant among all the fans: everyone has faith in Jerry Reese and company to make the right decision.



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