SBD/April 27, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies

NFL Draft Sees "Wheeling And Dealing" Theme As Eight Picks Were Traded In First Hour

Browns trade up to third overall pick in order to draft RB Trent Richardson
The NFL Draft began Thursday night with QBs Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III going first and second overall, as expected, but the "theme of the evening was wheeling and dealing," according to Bryan Burwell of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. Within an hour of the first round, "eight picks among the first 15 selections traded hands" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 4/27). In S.F., Vittorio Tafur writes the night featured a "dizzying sequence of trades," and teams "appeared to be in a rush all night." Even with eight trades and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's "long hugs with players, picks were fired off every six minutes" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 4/27). The draft "started with Andrew Luck and the theme continued," as it "seemed every team was lucky in getting what it wanted ... even if it meant moving up or down to get it" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 4/27). In L.A., Sam Farmer writes it was a “no-huddle draft.” The picks were coming "so fast and furious," at one point Goodell "had a backlog of three picks in his suit pocket." The first round ended in three hours, "a tidy made-for-prime-time span." Farmer: "Amazingly, that was an hour slower than the fastest opening round on record, in 1972, when there were six fewer franchises" (L.A. TIMES, 4/27). CBSSPORTS.com’s Mike Freeman wrote, “If you predicted the craziest draft in NFL history, you should be constructing spaceships, not talking defensive tackles.” The NFL in primetime “is as entertaining as any sitcom” as this year’s draft featured "the most top-10 trades in NFL history." The night "got so insane" that Seahawks Owner Paul Allen "was breaking news on Twitter, directly contradicting the NFL's efforts to keep picks secret until they were made." Before Goodell announced the Eagles' pick of DT Fletcher Cox, Allen tweeted, "#12 pick is Cox," and he also "later predicted the Rams' pick." It was, "in effect, a middle finger to his own league." Freeman noted the overall first round "trading craziness was spurred on by the rookie wage scale” (CBSSPORTS.com, 4/27).

BEST. DRAFT. EVER.: ESPN's Mike Greenberg said, "The rookie wage scale ... is the best thing that ever happened to the history of mankind, ever. Last night's NFL Draft -- I don't care what anybody says about it, 'How can you just sit there and watch the draft? There's no game going on,' -- that is the most entertaining night of television of the entire sports year. Trades are coming fast and furious, the picks are coming faster than Goodell can actually get out onto stage to announce them in the early going. Surprises galore, trades galore. It was a remarkable, fabulous night" ("Mike & Mike in the Morning," ESPN Radio, 4/27). NFL Network’s Mike Mayock, on the NFL Draft: “It’s really a reality show is what it’s become” (“NFL Draft,” NFL Network, 4/26).
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