Cowboys move tops tidbits

LSU's Morris Claiborne holds up a jersey as he stands with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after...

LSU's Morris Claiborne holds up a jersey as he stands with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected by the Cowboys as the sixth overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft in New York on April 26, 2012. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

JOHN KRYK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:26 PM ET

NEW YORK - Thirty-two tidbits of news and views after Day 1, and before Day 3, of the NFL draft:

1. Of all the trade-ups and trade-downs during Round 1, the Dallas Cowboys made the boldest, most surprising and probably best move.

America's Team traded up to No. 6 from 14 in a swap with St. Louis to get top-ranked cornerback Morris Claiborne of LSU.

No one saw it coming. Not even Claiborne.

He said the Cowboys had not been in touch with him, according to reports. No meetings. No visits. No e-mails. No reach-outs of any kind.

For weeks, insider reports claimed the Cowboys were hot to trade up to the lower top 10 to nab the top safety, Bama's Mark Barron.

Deliberate misinformation, we're guessing, to keep their true intention secret. That they pulled it off in this day and age of news leaks? Impressive. And damn smart.

2. Claiborne, as it happened, grew up a huge fan of the Cowboys. So did his mom and others in his family.

"Once I got the phone call and I looked back at them, knowing that all of them were Cowboys fans -- and they were like, 'Who is it?' and I was like, 'It's the Cowboys.'

"Just to see the look on their face, it truly melted me."

3. I asked Pats head coach Bill Belichick last month at the NFL annual meeting if he felt an urgency to shore up his leaky defence, with quarterback Tom Brady now in his mid-30s.

No, Belichick said, they'll just do what they always do this off-season and blah-blah-blah.

Right.

The Pats traded up twice in the first round, when they normally trade down.

Who'd they draft? Pass-rushing specialist Chandler Jones from Syracuse, and dynamic linebacker Dont'a Hightower from Bama.

Project Urgency is on in Foxboro.

4. Browns fans were livid the team didn't take a wide receiver with its second first-round pick, at 22. The club was reportedly about to draft Baylor wideout Kendall Wright, but Tennessee grabbed him at 20.

Rather than take another playmaking WR, the Browns took QB Brandon Weeden, who will be 29 in October, is four years older than current maligned Cleveland starter Colt McCoy, and is considered by many to be a first-round reach.

Can't the Browns and their fans ever see eye-to-eye?

5. Speaking of McCoy, he's now toast in the Mistake by the Lake, it appears. Head coach Pat Shurmur gave this less-than-ringing endorsement Friday of his starting quarterback, according to Mary Kay Cabot of the Plain-Dealer: "We haven't made any plans to do anything about Colt. We haven't made any phone calls about Colt."

6. Social-media dinosaurs don't just write about football. They play it. Said RB Trent Richardson after the Browns selected him third overall: "I'm very old school. Twitter and Facebook, I've just never been a big fan of it. There is a lot that comes with that stuff. Will I get on it one day? I don't know, but right now I'm not on it."

7. Many Chicago Bears fans were praying that Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd would fall all the way to their spot, at 19.

No chance.

The Cardinals grabbed him at 13, and if that team can ever find someone to throw the ball, Floyd and Larry Fitzgerald might soon form the league's most dynamic wideout tandem. Reports Friday said Fitz has even offered Floyd a place to stay until he finds his own place.

Floyd has heard of Fitzgerald's incredible year-round work ethic.

"For the most part, (what) I'm going to get from him is just making sure how to stay healthy, stay positive all the time and just be productive when I'm out there on the field," Floyd said.

8. Former star players announced each team's picks in Round 2 Friday night, beginning with WR Isaac Bruce and WR Torry Holt announcing that the Rams had selected -- what else -- a wide receiver: Brian Quick of Appalachian State.

9. Did Ryan Tannehill memorize area codes or something? The third quarterback selected surmised it was the Dolphins on the phone Thursday night telling him he was their No. 8 overall pick when he "saw the Florida area code light up on my phone. That was a great moment. I'll never forget it."

10. Linebacker Courtney Upshaw finally got the call. He was the only one of the group of five University of Alabama stars who wasn't taken as expected in the first round. The Ravens, though, picked Upshaw with the third pick of the second round, 35th overall. The other four owe him a drink. At least.

11. Eight of the first 18 players drafted are from the Southeastern Conference. That league rules college football because it has the best players. Period.

12. Ten college teams had at least two players drafted Thursday: Alabama, Stanford, Baylor, Notre Dame, USC, Oklahoma State, LSU, South Carolina, Illinois and Boise State.

13. Sprite Zero is not a sponsor of the NFL. I was asked to either put that pop bottle under my desk in press row HH, or rip off the label.

14. Here's hoping the NFL never attempts to squelch, remove, reduce or eliminate the fans.

They were rowdy. They were rude. They barely ever shaddup. And they booed commish Roger Goodell mercilessly at almost every opportunity on Thursday, and let him have it even worse at the start of Friday's proceedings.

Yeah, they were great.

The fans in attendance -- wearing caps and colours of every team in the league -- are largely responsible for making the atmosphere as electric as it is inside Radio City Music Hall. Otherwise, it's a business meeting.

You should have seen the looks on some of the fans' faces upon entering the theatre. Last time I saw such "I can't believe I'm here!!!" excitement among fans for such a big event was while standing in line all day at the Pontiac Silverdome in 1981 to catch the Rolling Stones/Santana show.

15. Fifth-best fan chant of the night on Thursday: "RG3! ... RG3! ... RG3!" And this was when QB Andrew Luck was being interviewed.

16. Fourth-best fan chant of the night: "ARF! ARF! ARF! ..." That from the Cleveland Browns "Dog Pound" when the club took RB Trent Richardson No. 3 overall.

17. Third-best fan chant of the night: "OVERRATED! (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap) OVERRATED! ..." From Jets fans, when division-rival Miami picked Tannehill.

18. Second-best fan chant of the night: "J--E--T--S, JETS! JETS! JETS! ... J--E--T--S, JETS! JETS! JETS!" Yeah, that team's fans were pumped beyond belief in anticipation of their team's pick at No. 16. And then ...

19. Best fan chant of the night: "_______." That is, silence -- nothin'. Jets fans deliberately sat on their hands to voice their displeasure when pass-rusher Quinton Coples of North Carolina was introduced as the Jets pick. The book on Coples is he takes plays off, and Jets fans still carry fresh scars from pass-rusher Vernon Gholston, a bust at No. 6 overall in 2008.

That those fans could organize themselves so quickly up there in the far right side of the third and fourth balconies was one of the most impressive things of the night.

20. Buffalo Bills pick Stephon Gilmore, the second-ranked cornerback from South Carolina, is tall, solid as a rock, and has huge, strong hands. Looks like a serious, focused young man.

21. I wrote Thursday night in the fog of replate deadline that there were no shockers among first-round selections. I was wrong. Hardly anybody had Illinois WR A.J. Jenkins going so high, but the Niners grabbed him at No. 30 overall.

22. Speaking of the Niners, what does it say about their confidence in Randy Moss when, after signing him as their supposed deep-threat WR, they proceeded to acquire free agent and former Giant Mario Manningham, and now Jenkins?

23. Best suggested headline I saw on Twitter was in reference to the Lions picking up tackle Riley Reiff: "The great barrier Reiff."

24. Also re: the Lions on Twitter, from @PrideOfDetroit: "Interesting coincidence: Like ('60s D-line star) Alex Karras, Riley Reiff wore No. 77 at Iowa and now No. 71 with the Lions."

25. The draft officially began at 8:03 EDT Thursday and concluded at 11:03 EDT. Three hours flat.

26. Much is being made today of the fact three running backs were taken in the first round. But two of them were the last two picks. So, really, nothing has changed. Only one of the first 30 picks was a running back.

27. A reminder that New Orleans' original second-round pick, No. 59 overall, was forfeited. Right, the bounty scandal. Only 31 picks were made in the round.

28. Teams making their first 2012 draft picks in Round 2: Denver, Baltimore, Oakland, Atlanta and New Orleans.

29. Fifteen first-rounders play on offence, 17 on defence. Pretty balanced. But the first five players taken line up on offence. All but two of the next 14 first-round picks were defenders.

30. Saturday for Rounds 4-7, teams have only five minutes to make a pick. Selections begin at 12 p.m. EDT, and the 253rd and final pick of the 2012 draft should be made by 7:30 p.m.

31. Most hated team among the fans? Easy. The Dallas Cowboys. Giants fans booed loud and long when it was announced the Cowboys had traded up to get Claiborne. Gotta love the passion of a football fan.

32. Here's how fans got tickets to opening night. It wasn't easy.

Literally thousands descended on Radio City Music Hall on Wednesday, the day before. They lined the building, with many waiting all day to score one of about 2,000 free wristbands to gain entry the next night.

The NFL handed out the wristbands Wednesday at 11 p.m.

On top of that, on Thursday afternoon dozens more fans wearing jerseys and/or hats from just about every NFL team -- mostly teens and twentysomething males, it appeared -- waited for hours in the sun, and eventually rain, in hopes of getting stand-by tickets.


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