WRITTEN BY JUSTIN WORSLEY
The New York Jets came to the NFL Draft looking to fix their pass-rushing unit that was only able to muster 35 sacks in 2011.
New York wasted no time, taking North Carolina defensive end Quinton Coples in a first round riddled with trades.
Coples, the first defensive end selected in the draft, posted 7.5 sacks for the Tar Heels last season, and he is looking to get to the quarterback even more often in the NFL, in particular Tom Brady.
“I’m definitely going to sack Tom Brady,” Coples said of the current New England Patriots quarterback.
Coples is the second defensive lineman drafted by the Jets in as many years. Last year, New York selected defensive tackle Muhammad Wilkerson.
Last month, Coples almost saw his stock plummet when he admitted to Charley Casserly on “Path to the Draft” that in his senior season at North Carolina he only gave a “C” effort and routinely took plays off. Once regarded as a top-10 selection, Coples slipped to 16th overall where the Jets selected him.
“I think God put it in his hands. I think he delivered for me and he wanted me to be a New York Jet,” said Coples.
While some of the draft selections, such as Andrew Luck going to the Indianapolis Colts with the first overall pick and Robert Griffin III being selected by Washington one pick later, were no surprise, the rest of the draft was highlighted by the high number of trades and the fast selection by the teams. The first round finished in just over three hours, an hour less than the average time.
A half-hour before the draft, the Cleveland Browns traded the fourth overall selection along with the picks in rounds four, five and seven with the Minnesota Vikings third overall pick in order to prevent any team from moving up and taking Alabama running back Trent Richardson before them.
Minnesota took USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil with the fourth overall pick.
The Jacksonville Jaguars were the next team to move up in the draft, going from the seventh overall pick to the fifth after trading with Tampa Bay in order to draft Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon.
Dallas then became the first team not in the top-10 to move up, trading the 15th overall pick as well as their second-round pick to the St. Louis Rams to select LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne sixth overall. Claiborne is the second LSU cornerback in as many years to be taken in the top-10.
“I’m very excited, I can’t wait to get there and get started,” said Claiborne.
After Dallas’ selection Tampa Bay went on to select Alabama safety Mark Barron.
In another selected that was expected by many draft experts, the Miami Dolphins selected Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill with the eighth overall pick. Tannehill is the first quarterback selected by Miami in the first round since Hall of Famer Dan Marino was picked 27th overall in 1983.
“I’m just excited to go to Miami,” said Tannehill. “I don’t think there’s any pressure for that connection. I for sure want to learn from him as much as I can.”
Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly was selected by Carolina and Buffalo picked South Carolina cornerback Stephon Gilmore to round out the top-10 picks.
Defensive linemen dominated the middle of the draft, with six of the 10 players selected between spots 11 and 20 coming from the defensive line. Overall, 10 defensive linemen were drafted in the first round.
Alabama also finished the night with four players selected in the opening round, matching their school record which was set last season.
While most players picked tonight were expected to be drafted in the opening round, there was one shocking pick.
The Cleveland Browns used their second first round pick, which was acquired last year from the Atlanta Falcons, on Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden. The selection of the 28-year-old gunslinger puts in question the job security of incumbent Colt McCoy.
While NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is normally in charge of announcing the selections of each pick in the draft, he did make one exception.
Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson, who was voted by fans earlier this week to grace the cover of NFL video game “Madden 13,” made a guest appearance in the draft, announcing the Detroit Lions 23rd overall selection, which was Iowa tackle Riley Reiff.
Reigning Super Bowl champions the New York Giants closed out the draft by selecting Virginia Tech running back David Wilson.
The NFL Draft will continue Friday at 7 p.m. when the second and third rounds begin.