Jake Long, Chris Long, Matt Ryan selected 1-2-3 in NFL draft
Things were going so normally, so predictably at Saturday's NFL draft. All six players the league invited to the festivities hit the stage in the first half-dozen selections. Yawn. Then came the wake-up call: trade after trade after trade, affecting 14 of the 31 first-round picks.
At one point, five of seven selections had been bartered. A little while later, it was another five of six.
Jake Long just sat back and smiled — right from the outset.
The Michigan tackle already had signed with the Miami Dolphins as the top overall choice. He inked a five-year contract worth $57.75 million, $30 million of it guaranteed.
"I was a little more relaxed just knowing where I was going and just being here to make it official," Long said. "That solidified it all. It was just breathtaking to walk out there and shake the commissioner's hand and hold up that jersey. It was a dream come true."
Chris Long of Virginia, Matt Ryan of Boston College, Darren McFadden of Arkansas, Glenn Dorsey of national champion LSU and Vernon Gholston of Ohio State didn't have to wait long to walk under the floodlights, either. It was the first time since the NFL began inviting multiple prospects in 1993 and they all went at the very beginning of the proceedings.
So unlike last year, when Notre Dame's Brady Quinn had to wait hours to be chosen.
"It's great to see the green room empty," said defensive end Long, who went second to St. Louis.
"It's a blessing to be here, they only ask six guys to come," DE/LB Gholston added. "Funny how it worked out, teams made good selections."
After St. Louis took the son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Howie Long, Ryan, who could solve the quarterback problems in Atlanta, went to the Falcons.