NEW YORK - Everyone knew the drama in the NFL draft would begin at pick No. 3.
Ho-boy, did it ever.
Drama? More like craziness. It began early and never let up.
Indeed it was trade-a-palooza at the rowdy Radio City Music Hall during Thursday night's frenetic first round.
Eight trades were made in all.
The first occurred about 45 minutes before the draft's 8 p.m. EDT start time, the original team slated to pick third overall — the Minnesota Vikings — traded its choice to the Cleveland Browns.
The Browns surrendered to the Vikes the next pick in the draft, No. 4 overall, along with their fourth-, fifth- and seventh-round picks this weekend.
That's a heavy cost to move up just one spot and prevent another team from trading for the No. 3 selection. But the Browns were able to pick the player they coveted all along — Alabama running back Trent Richardson.
Cleveland's move-up sure got the trade balls rolling.
The second deal spun out at 8:21 p.m. when the Jacksonville Jaguars swapped their No. 7 pick with the Tampa Bay Bucaneers to get the No. 5 pick, surrendering a fourth-round pick in the process. The Jags selected wide receiver Justin Blackmon of Oklahoma State.
Just nine minutes later, the Dallas Cowboys traded up from No. 14 to No. 6 in a swap with the St. Louis Rams. The Cowboys also gave up their second-round pick in the deal. They drafted top-ranked cornerback Morris Claiborne of LSU, who will fill an urgent need in their defence.
For those trying to keep score at home, St. Louis traded the No. 2 pick to the Redskins last month and fell back to No. 6. After trading with the 'Skins and the Cowboys, the Rams ultimately ended up falling 12 spots in Thursday's first round, where they chose defensive tackle Michael Brockers of LSU. But that descent was surely worth it. For the inconvenience, the Rams banked two future first-round picks (Washington's in 2013 and 2014) and a pair of second-rounders on Friday (one each from Washington and Dallas).
The fourth trade was the Philadelphia Eagles moving up from No. 15 to No. 12 in a trade that saw them send the Seattle Seahawks their fourth- and sixth-round picks Saturday. Philly selected defensive tackle Fletcher Cox.
Seattle took defensive end Bruce Irvin from West Virginia — the only selection surprise of the early going. Few had Irvin rated that high.
The fifth trade saw the New England Patriots moving up (for a change) from No. 27 to No. 21 in a deal with the Cincinnati Bengals. The Pats also gave up Friday's third-round pick. They chose Syracuse defensive end Chandler 21st overall.
Minutes later, the Patriots dealt their other first-round pick, this one No. 31 to the Denver Broncos for the 25th overall pick. The Pats also gave up Saturday's fourth-round pick in the deal.
The seventh trade saw Minnesota get the Baltimore Ravens' 29th pick in exchange for the Vikings' second- and fourth-rounders. Minnesota took Notre Dame safety Harrison Smith.
The eighth and final trade of the night occurred just before 10:50 p.m. when Tampa Bay acquired the No. 31 pick Denver had just acquired from New England. The Bucs took Boise State running back Doug Martin. Tampa also got Denver's fourth-round pick in the deal, in total giving the Broncos their second- and fourth-round selections.
So, yeah, all those mock drafts that reporters, insiders, experts and fans have been slaving over the past three months?
Poof. All garbage. Just like that.
Although the order of teams was screwed up beyond all recognition, there weren't any shocking selections. One of the mild surprises was San Francisco taking Illinois wideout A.J. Jenkins.
The last pick of the night was made by the Super Bowl champion New York Giants, who took Virginia Tech running back David Wilson. Wilson will presumably back up Ahmad Bradshaw, a role previously held by the departed Brandon Jacobs.
Richardson is believed to be the most dynamic running back to come out of the college ranks since Adrian Peterson in 2007. The 5-foot-9, 228-pounder is not only a bruiser, but has the rare dual gift of being able to make tacklers miss.
The Colts kicked off the draft by officially replacing longtime quarterback Peyton Manning by selecting Andrew Luck with the No. 1 overall pick.
Luck, a 6-foot-4, 235 quarterback from Stanford, is the most fawned-over player to come out of the NCAA in years.
The Redskins then did the expected by selecting Robert Griffin III with the No. 2 overall pick.
Fans at Radio City Music Hall went nuts for Griffin III. They chanted his nickname, RG3, even when Luck was being interviewed.
Richardson is believed to be the most dynamic running back to come out of the college ranks since Adrian Peterson in 2007. The 5-foot-9, 228-pounder is not only a bruiser, but has the rare dual gift of being able to make tacklers miss. And he's not exactly slow, either.
Rounds 2 and 3 of the draft go Friday night. Rounds 4-7 go Saturday afternoon through the early evening.
Six unfortunate players invited by the NFL to attend first-night festivities did not hear their names called Thursday night — Stanford tight end Coby Fleener, Georgia offensive lineman Cordy Glenn, Georgia Tech wide receiver Stephen Hill, LSU wide receiver Rueben Randle, Penn State defensive tackle Devon Still and Alabama linebacker Courtney Upshaw.
The two Canadians in the draft, Boise State defensive end Tyrone Crawford of Windsor, Ont., and Baylor centre Philip Blake of Toronto, might be drafted Friday.
One thing is certain. The ups and downs — that is, trades — are likely to continue.