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Teams show love for big boys
Short on glam, slim on glitter, the NFL draft was still nothing less than a rock solid B-plus. As in Big, as in Brawn, as in Bulk, as in...
NEW YORK — Short on glam, slim on glitter, the NFL draft was still nothing less than a rock solid B-plus.
As in Big, as in Brawn, as in Bulk, as in Beefy.
We're talking a scale-busting 600 pounds at the outset Thursday night with offensive tackles Eric Fisher of Central Michigan and Luke Joeckel of Texas A&M.
The first seven picks were all linemen: four on offense, three on defense.
"That's a lot of love for the big boys up front, which we usually don't get," Fisher said.
Unlike the past few years when bumper crops of quarterbacks reigned, this was pure muscle, and lots of it.
Not a single QB was selected until Florida State's EJ Manuel went to Buffalo at No. 16 — the lowest since 2000, when Chad Pennington went 18th to the Jets.
Fisher became the first Mid-American Conference player selected at the top when Kansas City's new regime led by coach Andy Reid chose the 6-foot-7, 306-pound offensive tackle.
"This is so surreal," Fisher said. "I'm ready to get to work right now. I'm ready to start playing some football. I can't process what's going on right now."
Fisher was followed by All-American Joeckel going to Jacksonville, defensive end Dion Jordan of Oregon to Miami, which traded up with Oakland, and Oklahoma tackle Lane Johnson to Philadelphia. Not a skill position player yet in sight — a stark change from the past four drafts.
The procession of linemen continued with Brigham Young defensive end Ziggy Ansah, born in Ghana, going to Detroit; Louisiana State defensive end Barkevious Mingo to Cleveland; and North Carolina guard Jonathan Cooper to Arizona.
Fisher was only the third offensive tackle picked No. 1, joining Orlando Pace (1997) and Jake Long (2008) since the 1970 merger of the NFL and AFL. It's also the first time since 1970 that offensive tackles went 1-2.
Miami, envisioning Jordan as the next Jason Taylor, sent its first-rounder (12th overall) and this year's second-rounder to Oakland. Then new Eagles coach Chip Kelly got a road-grader for his uptempo offense in Johnson.
"Tackle is not a very sexy position," Johnson said. "But it's a position of dire need."
The next big trade saw the Rams move up eight spots — and send four picks to Buffalo to do so. St. Louis ended the pursuit of heft by grabbing West Virginia wide receiver Tavon Austin, who at 5-8, 174 pounds, could probably fit in the hip pocket of any of the guys picked ahead of him.
The New York Jets may have found a replacement for star cornerback Darrelle Revis — traded to Tampa Bay — when they picked Alabama All-American Dee Milliner. That was the first of three straight selections from two-time national champion Alabama: Tennessee took guard Chance Warmack and San Diego got offensive tackle D.J. Fluker.
Te'o not selected
Manti Te'o must wait one more day to find out his future after a tumultuous four months.
The All-American Notre Dame linebacker was not taken in the first round of the NFL draft. And so fans — and even people who don't normally care about football — will buzz for another 24 hours about the fake-girlfriend hoax and its repercussions on his football career.
Rounds two and three are Friday.