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A long delay before the first choice, but a welcome return – Deadline

If you were up for a bit of football in Thursday’s National Football League Draft, you had to go through a lot to get it.

Before the picks started, there was Heart’s Ann Wilson hoarse screaming the national anthem, then two songs from the Kings of Leon rockers. There was a lot of talk, speculation, and plans from fans getting excited about the excitement and then joining in the traditional boo from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

There was the introduction of some stars from the old days of Cleveland Browns. There were several assurances that all participants, green room guests and fans present had been vaccinated.

AP

Then, finally, 27 minutes after coverage of the ABC / ESPN draft began, there was a choice, the main reason everyone had tapped into the show, and then another.

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Unfortunately for impatient fans, the two caps – Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence in Jacksonville and BYU quarterback Zach Wilson at the New York Jets – had been known for weeks, if not more. At that point, the Kings of Leon looked pretty good.

It wasn’t until the third pick in the draft that a little drama emerges. Earlier today, Green Bay Packers quarterback and former Jeopardy! It was rumored that host Aaron Rodgers wanted to leave Wisconsin. Would the San Francisco 49ers strike a deal for the No.3 pick? The answer, at least for now: No. But they took the third straight quarter, selecting North Dakota State’s Trey Lance, a slight upset in that they picked someone who has played all 17 college games.

Overall, the NFL Draft was somewhat back to normal after a year of being led via Zoom, thanks to the pandemic. Held this year in Cleveland, fans brought the energy that last year’s remote show lacked. The selected teams were still distant, with the local Los Angeles Rams hiding in a Malibu beach house as a war room for the weekend.

Commissioner Goodell said the league was grateful for the return to semi-par.

“We all agree that over the last season the one thing we all missed was you the fans.” Goodell said at the start of the project. “We look forward to seeing you all back at First Energy Stadium (home of the Cleveland Browns) and all stages of the league this season.”

To honor fan loyalty, the NFL had one fan for each team sit in a chair on stage when choosing their team. The chair was the one that Goodell used in his basement during last year’s remote draw.

Two first-round exchanges enhanced the first part of the draft. The Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys traded their picks so the Eagles could grab Alabama wide receiver and Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith.

Right after that, the New York Giants and Chicago Bears reversed the picks, allowing the Bears to take on Justin Fields, the Ohio State quarterback.

The draft continues tomorrow with rounds 2-3 on Friday at 7 p.m. ET, followed by rounds 4-7 on Saturday starting at noon ET. There will be 259 picks in the draft.

Top 10 draft picks

  1. Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson (Jacksonville)
  2. Zach Wilson, QB, BYU (New York Jets)
  3. Trey Lance, QB, State of North Dakota (SF 49ers)
  4. Kyle Pitts, TE, Fla (Atlanta Falcons)
  5. Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU (Cincinnati Bengals)
  6. Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama (Miami Dolphins)
  7. Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon (Detroit Lions)
  8. Jaycee Horne, CB, South Carolina (Carolina Panthers)
  9. Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama (Denver Broncos)
  10. DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama (Philadelphia Eagles)

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