NEW YORK – The big crowd at Radio City Music Hall for the second night of the NFL draft had to wait for the big names to go. They got a star-studded show while they hung around Friday.
Until Notre Dame’s Jimmy Clausen, Stanford’s Toby Gerhart, Texas’ Colt McCoy and Alabama’s Terrence Cody were selected, the audience was treated to the likes of Jim Brown, Dan Marino and Ray Lewis.
They were announcing, not being picked.
Eventually, the high-profile names were called, beginning with Fighting Irish QB Clausen at 48th overall by Carolina – more than 40 picks lower than some had projected.
The Panthers’ choice drew scattered boos, but with Jake Delhomme gone and Matt Moore the incumbent, Carolina seems a good landing spot.
Clausen, the first Notre Damer chosen this year, kicked off a spurt of more recognizable selections – and three All-Americans. The first Southern Cal player, safety Taylor Mays, went to San Francisco, followed by Alabama cornerback-kick returner Javier Arenas to Kansas City, and Gerhart, the Heisman runner-up, to the Vikings.
Minnesota, which did not pick Thursday, traded up 11 spots in the second round for Gerhart, also a top baseball prospect.
McCoy finally was drafted, 85th overall, by Cleveland. That was one slot after his favorite target with the Longhorns, Jordan Shipley, went to Cincinnati.
Wideout Golden Tate, Clausen’s college teammate, went 60th overall to Seattle. Perhaps new Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was swayed by Tate’s outstanding performance against his USC Trojans last year.
Early on, instead of Heisman Trophy winners and All-Americans, the choices were Indiana tackle Rodger Saffold, Virginia cornerback Chris Cook, and UCLA defensive tackle Brian Price. Yes, quality players, but hardly headline makers.
Needing a blocker for quarterback Sam Bradford, the first overall pick the previous night, the Rams ignored several trade offers to stay put. They went for Saffold, an experienced player who started for four seasons with the Hoosiers.
Minnesota, which traded out of the first round, has had injury issues at cornerback, so Cook should be helpful. And Tampa Bay’s defensive line has been a sieve, which it addressed with the selections of Oklahoma’s Gerald McCoy at No. 3 overall and then Price.
Other notables on Day 2: Kansas City got a prime kick returner and receiving threat in 5-foot-8, 165-pound Dexter McCluster of Mississippi; Alabama’s 350-pound All-America defensive tackle, Cody, went to Baltimore; and Cincinnati selected Florida linebacker Carlos Dunlap, who was arrested for DUI in December.
South Florida safety Nate Allen was taken by Philadelphia with the second-rounder the Eagles got from Washington for Donovan McNabb, and Oregon safety T.J. Ward went to Cleveland.