Little guesswork involved

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NEW YORK --- Forget the intrigue at the top of the draft. The NFL invited a half-dozen players to the draft Saturday, and they went in the first six picks.

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New York Jets fans cheer as defensive player Vernon Gholston, of Ohio State, is selected as the No. 6 pick by the AFC team.  Associated Press
Associated Press
New York Jets fans cheer as defensive player Vernon Gholston, of Ohio State, is selected as the No. 6 pick by the AFC team.

Then things went a bit crazy.

From Michigan tackle Jake Long, who already had signed with the Miami Dolphins, to defensive end/linebacker Vernon Gholston going sixth to the New York Jets, there was an air of predictability to the proceedings. Unlike last year, when Notre Dame's Brady Quinn had to wait hours to be chosen, the players on-hand hit the Radio City Music Hall stage quickly.

"It's great to see the green room empty," said Virginia defensive end Chris Long, who went second to St. Louis.

"It's a blessing to be here, they only ask six guys to come," Gholston added. "Funny how it worked out, teams made good selections."

After St. Louis took the son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Howie Long, Matt Ryan of Boston College, who could solve the quarterback problems in Atlanta, went to the Falcons.

Following a long-standing tradition, Oakland went for the gamebreaker in Arkansas running back Darren McFadden, prompting the fans to boo loudly. Many wanted the two-time Heisman Trophy runner-up to fall to the New York Jets at No. 6.

All-American defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey of national champion Louisiana State University was taken fifth overall by the Chiefs. Dorsey patted his heart as he held up a No. 1 Chiefs red jersey that was so small he, frankly, could never fit into it.

The Jets wound up with Gholston of Ohio State, who must now learn to play in the 3-4 alignment the team prefers.

"I'm looking forward to going up against Jake Long twice a year," he said of what will be a revival of their Big Ten rivalry.

At the seventh overall spot, the bartering began. Eight of the next 15 picks were involved in trades.

New Orleans moved up to No. 7 to get defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis of Southern California, who was recruited to the school by the Saints' new defensive line coach, Ed Orgeron. New Orleans gave up the No. 10 overall spot to New England, and its third-round slot, and got a fifth-rounder along with the chance to take Ellis.

Then Jacksonville moved up from 26th overall to eighth, where it grabbed Florida DE Derrick Harvey. The Jaguars gave the Ravens four picks to get to that spot.

Everything moved at a good pace after the NFL cut the first round from 15 minutes per pick to 10. The first round took 3 hours, 30 minutes, a significant improvement over the five-hour marathons of previous years.

The Dolphins used only a few seconds to hand in their card. The Rams and Falcons didn't take much longer, but the Raiders used almost their entire time, as did Kansas City.

Not that Jake Long had any worries. He signed a five-year contract with the Dolphins this week worth $57.75 million.

"It was nice to be able to relax, because everything was done," the Wolverines star said.

Jake Long became the first top overall pick from Michigan since Tom Harmon in 1941. He was accompanied by several family members onstage as he donned a Dolphins hat.

Then came another Long, who proudly held up a Rams jersey and pointed to the fans in the upper deck of the hall. Chris Long is the second straight defensive lineman selected in the opening round by St. Louis, following Nebraska's Adam Carriker last year. Carriker likely will move to DT to open a spot for his new teammate.

"I knew I was in the running, but all the guys here were great players and they could have chosen anyone," Chris Long said.


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