NFL DRAFT: Big name QBs finally hear names

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NEW YORK (AP) - It took a few hours on the final day of the NFL draft for A.J. McCarron, Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger to finally hear their names called.

It took much longer, but Missouri defensive end Michael Sam, the first openly gay player to enter the draft, heard his in the seventh and final round.

Sam was taken 249th out of 256 picks, by St. Louis. There was applause at Radio City Music Hall from the slim crowd on hand.

Scouts had pegged him to be a mid- to late-round selection, but he didn’t perform well at the combine; some questioned whether he would be drafted at all.

“I knew I was going to get picked somewhere,” Sam said. “Every team that passed me, I was thinking how I’m going to sack their quarterback.”

The star quarterbacks of the SEC went earlier, but will be long shots to become early starters in the pros.

McCarron led Alabama to two national titles, but had to wait until the 164th overall spot to be selected by Cincinnati. Georgia’s Murray went one pick earlier Saturday to Kansas City. LSU’s Mettenberger didn’t go until the sixth round, to Tennessee.

Virginia Tech’s Logan Thomas, not nearly as accomplished as the SEC passers, was the first QB chosen on the last day, by Arizona in the fourth round.

Murray had a penchant for big plays with the Bulldogs, but the SEC’s career passing leader tore his ACL on Nov. 8 and did not work out during the NFL combine. He figures to compete for a third-string job this year.

“There’s no restrictions, no second thought when I’m running, cutting,” Murray said. “It’s full-speed, full-go ahead.”

McCarron expects to learn behind Andy Dalton, who led the Bengals to three straight playoff berths for the first time in franchise history.

“I’m confident in myself, but at the same time, I know Andy’s the QB out there and I respect that,” McCarron said. “All I want to do is go in and help us in whatever way I can. If that means me holding the clipboard for a couple of years and giving Andy reports during the week and watching film with him and helping him in any way I can, I’m just ready to do it.”

Thomas comes out of school healthy, but the inconsistency that plagued his career hurt his draft stock. Thomas never really improved to the level expected with the Hokies after a strong debut. He’s big, with a strong arm, but is turnover prone.

“I’ve grown as a quarterback in this offseason,” Thomas said. “Everybody’s basing it off the season, which I understand. That’s what’s on film. But this offseason was a chance I was able to really go refine some things.”

In all, 14 quarterbacks were selected.

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