Turns out the most exciting action of the NFL Draft’s first round on Thursday night happened in the war rooms, before commissioner Roger Goodell called the names everybody expected.
As reported by FOXSports.com’s Jay Glazer, the Minnesota Vikings traded down one spot before the draft began, sending the No. 3 pick to Cleveland in exchange for the Browns’ No. 4 pick and picks in the fourth (118th overall), fifth (139th) and seventh (211th) rounds to give the Vikings a total of 13 selections overall.
The Browns used the pick to select Alabama running back Trent Richardson, while the Vikings still found their man in USC left tackle Matt Kalil.
Then, the Jacksonville Jaguars traded up from No. 7 with Tampa Bay to select Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon with the fifth pick. The Jaguars gave up a fourth-round selection to swap spots with the Buccaneers.
That’s a reasonable trade for a player Jacksonville hopes will provide an immediate boost for the NFL’s worst offense. The 6-foot-1, 207-pound Blackmon caught 122 passes for 1,522 yards and 18 touchdowns last season. He had 111 receptions for 1,782 yards and 20 touchdowns in 2010.
Jacksonville struggled mightily at receiver last season. Eight wideouts caught 121 passes for 1,359 yards and seven scores.
Tampa Bay chose Alabama safety Mark Barron, whom first-year coach Greg Schiano is now counting on to help him turn around the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ porous defense.
It’s the third straight year the Bucs, who allowed a franchise-record 30.9 points per game while going 4-12 in 2011, have used their top pick in the draft on a defensive player.
At No. 6, the St. Louis Rams, who fell to No. 6 after trading away the No. 2 pick to Washington earlier in the offseason, traded with the Dallas Cowboys, moving to No. 14 and collecting an extra second-round pick. The Cowboys used the sixth pick on LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne, while the Rams selected fellow Tiger Michael Brockers, a defensive tackle.