Even without a high-profile passer, runner or tackler going at the outset, the fans in the home of the Rockettes were pumped. They chanted “U-S-A, U-S-A” when Goodell paid tribute to the first responders at the Boston Marathon bombings and to the victims of the West, Texas explosion. They roared when Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath began the countdown to the first outdoor Super Bowl in a cold-weather site by taking the podium and screaming: “New York; Super Bowl 48.”
The crowd didn’t seem to care that early on the picks were all heifers, not hoofers. No Andrew Lucks or RG3s at the top of this crop.
“What you’re getting is a very athletic player, a great kid, smart kid, engineering major,” Reid said of Fisher, who really began to draw attention with a strong Senior Bowl, showing he could handle the highest level of competition. “He can play any position along the line, and loves to play the game.”
Joeckel didn’t seem any less thrilled to go No. 2.
“I don’t have words for all the emotions I feel,” he said. “It’s the best feeling of my entire life.”
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.
Roll Tide, indeed.
Oakland used the pick it got from the Dolphins for Houston cornerback D.J. Hayden, who nearly died last November after a collision in practice tore a blood vessel off the back of his heart. He was taken to a hospital and underwent surgery.
Unlike with their choice of Milliner, which was met raucous cheers, the Jets next selection, defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson of Missouri, drew scattered boos and even a few “Who?” comments.
“I’m here to bring a championship back to New York,” Richardson said.
Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei, who also had a heart scare at the NFL combine but then checked out fine, went 14th to Carolina, followed by Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro to New Orleans.
Then came Manuel, although many analysts pegged West Virginia’s Geno Smith as the top quarterback.