After NFL Draft, Party Time In NYC

Cipriani Wall Street was the social hot spot Saturday evening following the conclusion of the 2011 NFL Draft. The legacy of the past, present and future NFL stars was the theme as the NFLPA hosted the gala event, "One Team" Celebration Party.



Among the recent draftees walking the Red Carpet was Alabama's Julio Jones. Others included A.J. Green (Georgia WR), Randall Cobb (Kentucky RB), Patrick Peterson (LSU DB), Blaine Gabbert (Missouri QB), Aldon Smith (Missouri) Von Miller (Texas A&M LB), Robert Quinn (UNC), Marvin Austin (UNC), Cameron Jordan (Cal), Rahim Moore (UCLA), Corey Liguet (Illinois), Adrian Clayborn (Iowa), Ryan Kerrigan (Purdue) and J.J. Watt (Wisconsin).

Former Alabama fullback Johnny Davis, a Manhattan resident, was there. Other former NFL players welcoming the latest NFL rookie prospects were Marshall Faulk, Brian Mitchell, Steve Jordan, Kevin Carter, Willie McGinest and Willie Roaf. Current veterans Dwayne Bowe (Kansas City Chiefs), Ahmad Bradshaw (New York Giants), Jarvis Green (Houston Texans), Tuff Harris (Pittsburgh Steelers), Felix Jones (Dallas Cowboys), Chester Pitts (Seattle Seahawks) and Tony Richardson (New York Jets) appeared.

Miss USA, Rima Fakih, was escorted by her boyfriend Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Ricky Romero. Other celebrities included Joumana Kidd, MC Lyte and Liris Crosse.

DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the National Football League Players' Association, enthusiastically addressed the more than 500 guests promoting solidarity during the labor negotiations. Rappers entertained the guests at the luxurious venue. Priming the captivated audience was Doug E. Fresh before the main event was introduced. West Coast artist Snoop Dogg raised the decibel level with each successive song. Soundtrack was provided by DJ D-Nice.

'BAMA Magazine/Bamamag.com was present at the Red Carpet rope line to conduct interviews.

Julio Jones was ecstatic to be chosen by the Atlanta Falcons remaining within close proximity to Alabama. He acknowledged the life-long support of his family, hometown and Baldwin County faithful too. Popularizing number 8 at Alabama and 82 for the Foley High School Lions, 11 will be emblazoned on his professional jersey. "It's just a number," he replied devoid of sentimentality for acquiring either prior number.

The reason a school record setting contingent of four University of Alabama players were selected in the first round is apparent to Jones. "It's a great program that we have at The University of Alabama. Coach Saban runs a great program. He gets you ready for the league. All the coaches see that and they know you've learned discipline and been coached well by Coach Saban."

Donning the crimson and white evoked cherish memories. "I just love wearing it because I'm from Alabama. Just being there and putting it on for the city and for the state of Alabama as well wearing the crimson and white. It wasn't about the Jones on the back it was about the Alabama across the front."

Marshall Faulk, Pro Football Hall of Fame elect running back and NFL Network Analyst assessing Alabama and now New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram - "Mark is a very astute runner. He has great vision, great balance. Not the breakaway speed you would see in a Chris Johnson but I watched him run the forty and his ten was better than guys that ran a 4.3 that day. When you think about a running back the ten is about everything. You get that jump. You get to the next level and whether you run a 4.5 or 4.6 it's all based on what's inside your heart and whether you're going to take it the distance. We all know Mark has a big heart. I look forward to watching him play in the NFL."

Brian Mitchell, former NFL running back/return specialist commenting on Mark Ingram, Julio Jones and Marcell Dareus.

"I look at Mark and compare him a lot to Emmett Smith, a guy who no one really gave credit to as having speed but had 70-yard touchdowns. Mark has great vision and played in the SEC. If you can have the production he had in college playing in the SEC which I think is a semi-pro league because they have some of the best players out there in football I think he's going to be great. He couldn't have gone to a better place than the (New Orleans) Saints. Sean Peyton and that offense spread it out. They open it up. He is accustomed to running inside the tackles. Now he will run inside the tackles where there are not a lot of people. With his vision, his strength and his power, I think he will have a very long and productive career. He's a guy with a lot of character."

"Julio Jones is a receiver with size that you normally don't see and he has unbelievable speed. I think he is going to be a great one. He had a broken foot and still ran a 4.39 at the combine. He never tried to get out of a game. When you get to the NFL, it's not about how good you can be in one game. It's the amount of production you can have game after game and also guys that can play with pain. I'm impressed. I had a chance to sit down and talk with him today. Great kid."

"Any time you have versatile guys like Marcell Dareus with that type of speed and tenacity and that big and quick, you expect great things from them. When you get to the NFL level it's just not about matching up one-on-one. You have to beat two people sometimes. He has a knack for beating double-teams."

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