Teams on move in Round 1

Eight trades made involving selections in opening round

April 27, 2008|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,Sun reporter

Big men dominated the first round of the NFL draft yesterday, but trades gave it flavor.

Chasing players up and down the draft board was the craze once the first six picks were made. Two teams - the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins - were so under- whelmed by their choices that they traded out of the first round.

Two other teams, the Jacksonville Jaguars and Carolina Panthers, were compelled to take big moves up in the round to fill specific needs.

Jacksonville made the biggest jump of the round when it traded up 18 picks to the Ravens' eighth selection for defensive end Derrick Harvey of Florida.

The Jaguars moved up six picks in the second round to snag another defensive end, Quentin Groves of Auburn, in what amounts to a retooling of their pass rush.

The Ravens moved around the board as much as any team, trading down to Jacksonville's pick and then up to Houston's at 18 to get quarterback Joe Flacco.

Carolina, meanwhile, might have gone too far when it gave up its first-round pick in 2009. The Panthers grabbed running back Jonathan Stewart of Oregon with the 13th pick, then moved back into the round to get Pittsburgh offensive tackle Jeff Otah at 19.

The cost was exorbitant: They gave the Eagles their second- and fourth-round picks this year and the first for next year. It was indicative, perhaps, of the pressure general manager Marty Hurney and coach John Fox are under to win in 2008.

Philadelphia came out of the second round with two college players and one veteran who should help. Trading down, they got defensive tackle Trevor Laws of Notre Dame and DeSean Jackson, an electric 5-foot-9 wide receiver from Oregon, within three picks. They also traded two of their surplus picks to the Miami Dolphins for fullback Lorenzo Booker.

Washington had a productive, if somewhat risky, second round. The Redskins wound up with Devin Thomas of Michigan State and Malcolm Kelly of Oklahoma, two wide receivers who came out early. Both had been considered first-round picks at one point, but the class of receivers was so suspect that not one was drafted in the first round.

New Redskins coach Jim Zorn also picked up Southern California tight end Fred Davis for his West Coast offense.

The draft started with a minor surprise. When the St. Louis Rams took defensive end Chris Long with the second pick, it sent defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey tumbling to the Kansas City Chiefs at 5.

The Chiefs made a trade to move up two spots to take Glen Burnie's Branden Albert, a guard-tackle from Virginia, with the 15th pick. In the second round, Kansas City snagged cornerback Brandon Flowers of Virginia Tech and wide receiver Jordy Nelson of Kansas State with consecutive picks.

Atlanta launched its overhaul of the roster with the selection of quarterback Matt Ryan at 3. Ryan will be expected to play early for the Falcons, who traded back into the first round to get USC tackle Sam Baker.

The Falcons took Oklahoma linebacker Curtis Lofton in the second round.

Altogether, there were eight trades involving first-round picks yesterday. The flurry started when the New England Patriots swapped top-10 picks with the New Orleans Saints to get versatile linebacker Jerod Mayo of Tennessee.

The Saints, who attempted to move up to get Dorsey, settled for USC defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis, who was the Pacific-10 Defensive Player of the Year with 8 1/2 sacks. Ed Orgeron, the Saints' defensive line coach, recruited Ellis to USC.

The rush at the top of the draft was for pass rushers or run stuffers. Five of the first eight picks were spent on defensive ends or tackles.

There were eight offensive tackles taken in the first round, including Albert, who projects as a left tackle because of his size and athleticism. At one point in the middle of the round, tackles were taken on six of 10 picks.

In the second round, 10 wide receivers were taken along with two more quarterbacks. The Green Bay Packers tapped Louisville quarterback Brian Brohm 56th overall. One pick later, the Dolphins took Michigan's Chad Henne.

ken.murray@baltsun.com

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