Nearly everything that could have happened on the first day of the NFL Draft did.
Blockbuster trades, wide receivers and Hurricanes swept through New York’s Madison Square Garden on Saturday as teams made their annual selections of the nation’s best college talent.
The first three rounds ended Saturday, and no Missouri players were taken. The draft concludes today with rounds four through seven.
A flurry of trades highlighted the first round. After Mississippi quarterback Eli Manning declared during the week that he would not play for San Diego if it selected him, the Chargers dealt his rights to the New York Giants for Philip Rivers, the former North Carolina State quarterback. The Chargers also received the Giants’ third-round choice, which they used on Iowa kicker Nate Kaeding and first and fifth-round selections next year.
The Manning trade set off a series of moves that resulted in 10 first-round deals.
Rams pick heir to Marshall Faulk
St. Louis was one of the teams to make a move up the board, grabbing Steven Jackson as the heir to Marshall Faulk’s running back job after trading up two spots to Cincinnati’s choice at No. 24. The Rams also gave up their fourth-round choice.
Jackson, whom many rate the top tailback in the draft, surprisingly fell to St. Louis after running back-needy teams Dallas, Denver and Detroit passed on him.
Coach Mike Martz said on the Rams’ Web site he was shocked a talent such as Jackson was there so late in the first round.
“I’m dumbfounded,” Martz said. “Obviously, he was a guy that we had stacked way at the top of our draft, and we decided that as he started to get closer and closer, we got more and more excited.
“It’s the first time in all my years with the Rams that the whole draft room broke out in applause.”
Jackson finished his career at Oregon State with 3,625 rushing yards and 39 touchdowns. He is the first offensive player the Rams have picked since they took tailback Trung Canidate in 2000.
Jackson said on the Rams’ Web site that he couldn’t think of a better situation to come into.
“I am overwhelmed,” Jackson said. “For me to go and play behind Marshall is going to be great for me and my career.”
St. Louis’ other selection came at No. 28 in the third round (91 overall) when it chose defensive end Tony Hargrove from Georgia Tech.
Chiefs pick up defensive tackle
Kansas City elected to move down. The Chiefs traded their first-round pick (No. 30) to Detroit and moved back to the fourth choice in the second round (No. 36), which Kansas City used on defensive tackle Junior Siavii of Oregon. The Chiefs also got the Lions’ fourth-round pick and a fifth-round selection in 2005.
Siavii, who is 6 feet 4, 333 pounds, is a run-stuffer in the middle, finishing his two-year career with 58 tackles and 2 1/2 sacks.
Chiefs cornerback Eric Warfield said Siavii’s pass rushing ability could help the defensive backs also.
“That’s a good deal for us,” Warfield said. “Hopefully, he can come in and add a little more pressure on the quarterback. That’s kind of what we need.”
With the last of its second round choices, Kansas City took tight end Kris Wilson of Pittsburgh. The Chiefs added Georgia Tech linebacker Keyaron Fox with the 30th pick in the third round (No. 93).
The rest of the first round saw a majority of receivers and Miami players hear their names. Seven wide receivers went in the first round, including three in the top 10. Larry Fitzgerald of Pittsburgh went to Arizona with the third pick and Texas’ Roy Williams went seventh to the Lions.
Six former Hurricanes went in the top 21 choices. Safety Sean Taylor was the first, going to Washington at No. 5. Kellen Winslow II, son of the former MU tight end, went to Cleveland, which obtained the sixth selection from Detroit in a trade.
Missouri’s A.J. Ricker, Michael Harden, Zack Abron and Rob Droege could be late-round selections or find homes as undrafted free agents today. Brandon Barnes, Russ Bell and Darius Outlaw are other Tigers hoping to secure contracts.