NEW YORK – The first surprise of the NFL draft Saturday came from the Miami Dolphins. Choosing ninth, Miami seemed all set to take quarterback Brady Quinn of Notre Dame, but instead took wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. of Ohio State.
As the crowd at Radio City Music Hall exploded, the giant screens on either side of the stage showed Quinn shaking his head and smiling in disbelief.
“For sure when Brady Quinn was there, and you know Miami is hurting for a quarterback right now, and Brady Quinn is a great quarterback, to be in competition with him and for me to beat him out was good,” Ginn said. “I guess the coaches saw something in me that they liked.”
Quinn later said he was pretty sure that Miami was as far as he would fall. But once the Dolphins took the former Buckeye, Quinn was staring at a long stretch of teams with no real need for a quarterback.
Thirteen picks later, it was Quinn’s turn to be surprised. He was just finishing a phone call with a prospective employer when he had to click over to the other line. It was the Browns, the team he grew up cheering for and which had passed him over at No. 3 hours ago.
“I was obviously taken aback by it because I had just gotten off a long conversation with the Baltimore Ravens thinking ‘All right, that’s probably where I’m going to end up,'” Quinn said. “I’m just happy that I have the opportunity to be playing for them. Obviously, it was a dream scenario.”
Dolphins fans, however weren’t quite as tickled as Quinn eventually was. Supporters attending a draft party at the team’s practice facility booed and jeered the decision, as well as coach Cam Cameron.
Miami’s first-year coach took a bit of a risk to secure Ginn. Cameron first saw the speedster as a 13-year-old when, as Indiana’s coach, he made a recruiting visit to Glenville High School in Cleveland where Ted Ginn Sr. coaches.
“We drafted the Ginn family,” Cameron said. “Ted Ginn and his family will give us everything they have.”
This maneuver has been tried before by callow NFL coaches. Butch Davis did something similar in his first draft as Browns coach in 2001. Enamored of Florida DT Gerard Warren, whom he hadn’t been able to recruit for Miami, Davis spurned the advice of his front office and took Warren over Richard Seymour — and LaDainian Tomlinson to boot.
That didn’t work out, but Ginn has talent and speed to spare, so Cameron’s reach could work out fine. Especially because Miami took a solid QB prospect in the second round, John Beck of BYU.
Although if it doesn’t, Miami fans will likely remember that had their ‘Fins taken Quinn over Ginn, he would have been Miami’s first QB taken in the first round since some guy named Dan Marino in 1983.
Line of defense
Nine consecutive defensive players were taken in the first round, from picks No. 13 through 21. Overall, 17 defensive players were taken in the first round, though the round’s last six picks were all offensive.
Defensive end Adam Carriker of Nebraska went to St. Louis to start the run, which ended when Cleveland traded up to Dallas’ 22nd spot to take Quinn after Jacksonville took DB Reggie Nelson of Florida.
Five of the nine were defensive backs, including the final four taken. Pitt’s Darrelle Revis was taken 14th by the New York Jets, then Leon Hall of Michigan went 18th to Cincinnati, followed by two Texas Longhorns — safety Michael Griffin to Tennessee and cornerback Aaron Ross to the New York Giants.
All in the family
A.J. Hawk wasn’t expecting to have to wait so long for his brother-in-law to join him in the NFL.
Quinn fell to the late stages of the round before the Browns traded up to take him. The Green Bay linebacker is married to Quinn’s sister, Laura, and joined his family for the trip to New York.
“I felt kind of bad for him,” said Hawk, the Packers’ fifth overall selection last year.
But it worked out well in the end. Quinn grew up a Browns fan in Dublin, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus two hours from the lakefront and gets to play for his favorite team.
Hawk, who said he was more of a Bengals fan when he grew up in southwestern Ohio, was nevertheless impressed: “The Browns I think have a great draft.”
Like a log
After Dallas traded its first round pick to Cleveland so the Browns could take Quinn, the Cowboys wanted to get back into the first round. So they worked the phones until they reached a deal with NFC East rival Philadelphia.
Teams don’t normally like to do that, because a bad decision could come back to haunt them twice a year. But the Cowboys are covered here. Dallas owner Jerry Jones finalized the deal himself on the phone with Eagles owner Jeff Lurie.
“I hope he can sleep tonight,” Jones cracked.
Name that tune
The vast majority of the minutes at the NFL draft tick off the clock while teams are on it. What fills the timeâ¢ Mostly football highlights and music. Lots and lots of music.
While the Lions deliberated their second-round choice, “Detroit Rock City” by Kiss blasted through Radio City Music Hall. During the next pick, while Cleveland prepared to take tackle Joe Thomas, “Cleveland Rocks” filled the art-deco theater.
Other selections were also obvious: “Everything’s Up to Date in Kansas City,” “Good Morning, Baltimore,” and “Buffalo Soldier” were among the selections, along with the themes to “WKRP in Cincinnati” and “Dallas.”
Songs named “New York, New York” were so nice, they played it twice. Frank Sinatra’s quintessential number accompanied the Giants’ selection, while Ryan Adams’ unrelated song played before the Jets picked.
Steals and reaches
When Philadelphia’s selection of QB Kevin Kolb was announced early in the second round, the Eagles fans in attendance booed and many headed immediately for the exits, while fans in Redskins and Giants apparel taunted them. Of course, this is the fanbase that booed the selection of eventual superstar Donovan McNabb. … Between picks, servicemen from the Wounded Warrior Project came on stage and received a sustained standing ovation from the crowd. … When Quinn was finally picked, he came on stage and received a No. 1 Browns jersey, though he was the second Browns player picked after Thomas, who couldn’t accept the jersey because he spent the day fishing on Lake Michigan. … Michigan defensive lineman Alan Branch fell all the way out of the first round. The junior was projected as a top-10 pick earlier, but fell down teams’ charts due to questions about his desire and fitness. Arizona traded up into Oakland’s spot at the front of the second round to select him. … Before he announced the final pick of the first round, Goodell congratulated those left at Radio City and noted that this was the longest first round in draft history, at 6 hours, 8 minutes. This was greeted with cheers, to which Goodell retorted: “This is not a record we want to break.”