HERNDON, Va. -- Steve Emtman broke the bank, Quentin Coryatt settled for being No. 2 and Sean Gilbert wound up being the odd man out in the third slot.
That's how the best three players in the National Football League's 57th annual draft came off the board yesterday, as the rest of the teams jockeyed for position while making a raft of trades.
The Indianapolis Colts, who had the first two picks, wound up selecting and coming to terms with Emtman and Coryatt on four-year deals worth a total of at least $16 million.
Ending what agent Marvin Demoff called a "bizarre" night of negotiations, the Colts agreed to Demoff's bottom-line figure of $2.25 million a year for Emtman in a four-year deal worth $9 million that makes him the highest-paid defensive player in TTC history. He surpassed the $1.833 million average that Lawrence Taylor earns with the New York Giants.
The contract for Emtman, a defensive lineman from the University Washington, was an increase of more than 40 percent over the $1.575 million average that defensive lineman Russell Maryland of the Dallas Cowboys got when he was the first player selected last year.
It's also certain to start a new spiral for rookie salaries and strengthen the owners' attempt to get a rookie wage scale in a new contract.
Maryland's figure also was surpassed by the four-year, $7 million deal that Coryatt signed. Coryatt, a linebacker from Texas A&M, wanted to be the first player taken and had broken off talks with the Colts.
The Colts then turned to Gilbert, the defensive lineman from Pittsburgh, who was willing to make the deal. Fearing that he would drop to the third spot, Coryatt changed his mind and took the deal. The Colts had money to spend because they shipped disgruntled running back Eric Dickerson and his $2.3 million salary to the Los Angeles Raiders.
Once Coryatt came to terms, Gilbert fell into the third slot, where he was taken by the Los Angeles Rams.
The Colts, the first team to have the first two picks since the Chicago Cardinals in 1958, argued that it was worth the big money to avoid long holdouts.
"Knowing that these guys will be at minicamp and in training camp is a tremendous asset," coach Ted Marchibroda said. "It's like we got a three-month head start on the other clubs."
The other team to come to terms with two first-rounders was the Dallas Cowboys, who wrapped up talks with defensive back Kevin Smith of Texas A&M and linebacker Robert Jones of East Carolina. But the Cowboys were offering only 12 percent raises.
After all the wheeling and dealing and false starts, the first three players went the way most draft observers had them slotted for weeks.
The form started to change when the Washington Redskins traded up to the No. 4 slot with the Cincinnati Bengals so they could take Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard of Michigan. The Bengals selected quarterback David Klinger of Houston with the sixth pick they got from the Redskins. The Green Bay Packers selected cornerback Terrell Buckley of Florida State with the fifth pick.
The Bengals have Boomer Esiason at quarterback, but new coach David Shula figured that depth at quarterback is a plus.
"It's been my experience that you win championships when you have the quarterback position established," Shula said.
By the time the first-round dealing was finished, five of the first 17 picks had changed hands. The only unusual thing was that no trades involved 1993 draft picks.
The teams are worried that the draft might be eliminated next year because of the legal fight with the players. They're leery of dealing for 1993 picks in case there's not a draft.
In other developments:
* Quarterbacks continued to be a premium. Even though it wasn't supposed to be a vintage year for quarterbacks, four of them were among the first 46 picks. After Klingler, Tommy Maddox of UCLA, a sophomore who is supposed to need a lot of seasoning, went on the first round to the Cowboys, Matt Blundin of Virginia went on the second round to Kansas City and Tony Sacca of Penn State was picked on the second round by the Phoenix Cardinals.
* The juniors made it a lot better draft, as 11 went on the first round, including four of the first five -- Emtman, Gilbert, Howard and Buckley.
* As expected, it was a defensive draft, as 17 of the 28 first-rounders were defensive players. There were six defensive linemen and backs and five offensive linemen.
* The Cowboys, who got the final installment of the Herschel Walker deal, won the wheeler-dealer award. Owner Jerry Jones and coach Jimmy Johnson never saw a trade they didn't like. They made five trades yesterday, plus one one Saturday. They had 14 picks on Friday, were down to 11 on Saturday and wound up with 15.
* The two New York teams, Giants and Jets, picked back-to-back in the 14th and 15th slots, and both selected tight ends. The Giants took Derek Brown of Notre Dame and the Jets selected Johnny Mitchell of Nebraska.
Top 10 picks
The first 10 selections in the NFL draft:
Team...... ..... Pick..... ....... P..... College
1. Colts........ Steve Emtman..... DL.... Washington
2. Colts........ Quentin Coryatt.. LB.... Texas A&M
3. Rams......... Sean Gilbert..... DL.... Pittsburgh
4. Redskins..... Desmond Howard... WR.... Michigan
5. Packers...... Terrell Buckley.. DB.... Fla. State
6. Bengals...... David Klingler... QB.... Houston
7. Dolphins..... Troy Vincent..... DB.... Wisconsin
8. Falcons...... Bob Whitfield.... OL.... Stanford
9. Browns....... Tommy Vardell.... FB.... Stanford
10. Seahawks.... Ray Roberts...... OL.... Virginia
Complete draft, 7D