- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 29, 2007

NEW YORK — It came at 4:17 p.m. instead of 12:17 p.m., at the 22nd pick instead of the third pick.

But Brady Quinn ended up with the team he had hoped, the Cleveland Browns.

“Obviously, it was a dream scenario [to be drafted by the Browns] and after the third pick, I started looking at other things,” Quinn said. “You never envision your dream coming true. … Who knew it was going to work out like this?”

Once Oakland decided on JaMarcus Russell at No. 1, Quinn’s hopes of joining his boyhood team seemed dashed when the Browns chose Wisconsin left tackle Joe Thomas with the third pick. Minnesota and Miami also passed and Quinn started free-falling down the draft board a la Aaron Rodgers three years ago.

But as Kansas City waited at No. 23 to possibly pluck Quinn, Cleveland general manager Phil Savage engineered the most aggressive trade of the day — dealing the Browns’ second-round pick this year and first-round pick in 2008 to Dallas — so he could land Quinn.

Booed when he was introduced before the draft, Quinn walked onto the Radio City Music Hall stage to a loud ovation once the pick was finalized.

Told he looked like a giant weight had been lifted off him, Quinn said: “I guess it was and only because, when you play the scenarios out in your mind ahead of time — I had been thrown all over the draft board to so many places. … I had an opportunity to go visit some of those places and work with some of those coaches so I could see and feel what it would be like.

“At a certain point, when you’re past those teams, you’re entering an unknown and you don’t really know what’s going to happen.”

The Browns-Cowboys trade is similar to the Washington Redskins’ trade in 2005 to draft Jason Campbell. The Redskins had a top 10 pick (Carlos Rogers) and used their first-round pick the following year to move into Denver’s spot at No. 25.

NFL honors Hokies

The outpouring of support from the sports world for Virginia Tech continued yesterday when the NFL recognized coach Frank Beamer and former Hokies DeAngelo Hall, Bruce Smith and Michael Vick prior to the start of the draft.

Thirty-two people were killed on the Virginia Tech campus on April 16.

“Virginia Tech is going to come back from this,” Beamer said. “One kid came there, a very sick kid, and that’s not Virginia Tech. That is absolutely not what we’re about. We’re coming back together and we’re going to be stronger.”

Smith later appeared on stage to announce the Bills’ No. 12 pick — California running back Marshawn Lynch.

“How do we move on? It’s going to take a while,” Smith said. “There is a healing process that no one can place a time limit on. It is something that each and every individual has to handle in their own due time.”

Five deals done

Among the five trades in the first round, two teams gave up their 2008 first-round picks — Cleveland gave its to Dallas to select Quinn, and San Francisco traded its to New England to draft offensive tackle Joe Staley No. 28 overall.

Philadelphia and Seattle were the only teams that didn’t draft in the first round. The Eagles traded out of their 26th spot in a trade with the Cowboys and Seattle relinquished its pick to the Patriots last fall in the Deion Branch deal.

Character is counting

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s recent mandate on player conduct trickled down to the draft evaluation process. Russell, Oakland’s new quarterback, said he was asked several questions about his background.

“A lot of [questions],” he said. “That won’t be a problem. I was raised better than that and I know right from wrong.”

Said Detroit draft pick Gaines Adams: “They didn’t talk to me about it that much because they did my history and their background check and saw that I’m not a troublemaker.”

Quarterback first again

When the Raiders drafted Russell, it marked the 16th time since the NFL-AFL merger that a quarterback had been selected first overall.

Each decade — the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s — have at least three quarterbacks chosen No. 1.

In the last seven years, quarterbacks have gone first six times: Russell, San Francisco’s Alex Smith, the Giants’ Eli Manning (acquired from San Diego), Cincinnati’s Carson Palmer, Houston’s David Carr and Atlanta’s Vick.

Every position except for tight end, defensive back, kicker and punter has had at least one No. 1 pick.

Okoye youngest drafted

Louisville’s Amobi Okoye went No. 10 to the Houston Texans, becoming the youngest player drafted since 1967. Okoye is 19 years, 322 days old.

Before Okoye, Jamir Miller (1994 to Arizona) was the youngest player ever picked at 20 years, 156 days of age.

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