Even as Ryan Williams was bear-hugging Roger Goodell at the draft Friday, the NFL was getting ready to shut down all other business.
The Virginia Tech running back waited in a side room at New York’s Radio City Music Hall for 37 picks. Arizona finally called his name at the sixth spot in the second round – moments before the league was granted a temporary stay against an injunction that blocked its lockout of players.
Hours later, the NFL sent a memo to the 32 clubs that “the prior lockout rules are reinstated effective immediately.”
Williams left school with two years of eligibility remaining. He rushed for 1,655 yards and 21 touchdowns, averaging 5.6 yards per carry, as a redshirt freshman in 2009, but was limited by a hamstring injury last season.
Two high-profile quarterbacks preceded Williams and his entourage to the stage.
Cincinnati selected TCU quarterback Andy Dalton. The Bengals’ incumbent, Carson Palmer, has demanded a trade.
San Francisco immediately traded up with Denver to get the next spot and select the next QB: Colin Kaepernick of Nevada.
Clemson sack master Da’Quan Bowers, at one point considered a top-five pick before undergoing right knee surgery, fell to 51st overall. Tampa Bay grabbed Bowers 10 spots after Jarvis Jenkins, a less-regarded defensive end from Clemson, went to Washington.
Kyle Rudolph of Notre Dame was the first tight end chosen, by Minnesota at No. 43. Two picks later went the first safety, UCLA’s Rahim Moore to Denver.
Still waiting to be chosen were All-American linebacker Greg Jones of Michigan State, and Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich, who is making a comeback from cancer.
Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett, projected by some to go in the opening round, instead was chosen 10th in the third round by New England, where he can serve an apprenticeship under Tom Brady. Off-field issues clouded Mallett’s career after he transferred from Michigan.
Another OL for Hawks
No question, new Seattle assistant head coach Tom Cable is having an impact on the Seahawks’ draft approach.
It’s all about the offensive line so far.
After trading out of the second round to acquire more picks, the Seahawks grabbed Wisconsin guard John Moffitt with the 75th overall pick in the third round.
The selection of Moffitt came on the heels of Seattle grabbing Alabama offensive tackle James Carpenter and after Seattle took Russell Okung in last year’s draft with the sixth overall pick.
Throw in the return of Max Unger after he missed all but one game last season following toe surgery, and Seattle could be looking at an offensive line in 2011 with four starters who are either rookies or have just one season of NFL experience.
“The intentions were clear what we wanted to get done these first couple of days and we’re very happy with how it turned out,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said.
The revamp of Seattle’s offensive line is needed after the Seahawks ranked 31st in the NFL in rushing offense and the line was a constant juggle due to injuries and ineffectiveness.
Enter Cable, who was hired shortly after his firing as head coach in Oakland, with the intent of committing to a zone-blocking run offense based around brutish linemen.
Cable told general manager John Schneider a week ago his preference on linemen – based on Seattle’s spots in the draft – were Carpenter and Moffitt.
“The Seattle Seahawks, as we all know if you look back just a few years ago, had a tremendous offensive line, was a real strength, backbone of this football team,” Cable said. “It was the reason they went to all those playoff games and ultimately the Super Bowl. If you’re going to be that kind of team, you have to get back to that.”
Moffitt was a first-team Associated Press all-America selection in 2010 following his senior season at Wisconsin. The 6-foot-4, 319-pound guard made 42 career starts for the Badgers, spending most of his time at left guard, but he also played center.
UW’s Foster picked
A day after Washington quarterback Jake Locker went to the Tennessee Titans with the eighth overall pick, Huskies linebacker Mason Foster was chosen by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Round 3. It marks the second year in a row that UW has had multiple draft choices after the Huskies went three consecutive years without a pick.
The Buccaneers took Foster with the 84th overall pick.