8:50 a.m.: Starting a little bit early, because a few things struck me as running subplots throughout the first round.
1. How nervous is Roger Goodell? Since he became commissioner, he's had a lot of face time, been on a number of TV shows, has been interviewed all over the place, so he should be used to the camera and the pressure at this point. But... this is his show. The draft - Round 1 especially - revolves around him. He's a lawyer by trade and not the most energetic or charismatic fellow on the planet. Can he pull it off? I'm not saying that Tags was Sir Anthony Hopkins or anything, but he eventually got comfortable with the role and got good at it. How good is Goodell going to be? Is he in his dressing room right now saying "unique New York" and "the Human Torch was denied a bank loan"? Or is he okay. These are things I would like to know.
2. How tall is Goodell? One of the funnier aspects of previous drafts for me was looking at the prospects that were invited to New York standing next to Tags. I'd see them towering over him and say, "Look at how much taller Vince Young is! Tags played basketball in college!" Adrian Peterson is the shortest guy there at about 6'2". We'll see what happens.
3. Is there a camera crew at Lake Cheese, or wherever Joe Thomas is? Camera crews have been more and more ubiquitous through the last few years. Is there a crew staked out at the local fishing hole, hoping to get a glimpse of Thomas on his cell phone when the lucky team that drafts him calls him up? Will he get service?
Rod Graves: Hi... Graves... Cardinals... like... season?
Joe Thomas: Hello? Hello? Wait. Let me pull out the antenna. Hello? Yes. Whoever this is, I'd like... Hello? Dad, get the oars.
8:57 a.m.: I really wish I could predict what Al Davis is going to do. I really wish anyone could. I don't think Davis even knows what he's going to do. We could see the Raiders go a full 15 minutes, just to mess with everyone.
9:03 a.m.: Am I just getting used to Mel Kiper's hair, or has he tamed it a little the last couple of years?
9:06 a.m.: I just noticed that everyone at Oakland's table seems to be waiting for the draft to start. One old bald guy even had a phone in his hand, like he was waiting to dial. I think I speak for everyone when I say that we need to get this kicked off.
9:10 a.m.: Yep. Goodell looks nervous.
9:13 a.m.: Ja Marcus Russell looks surprisingly calm. I think he knows something we don't know. I think the Calvin Johnson rumors are bunk. Then again, the Raiders haven't submitted their pick yet.
9:20 a.m.: Here comes Goodell... It's Russell. I guess the CJ rumors were bunk, like I said.
9:22 a.m.: Goodell's pretty short, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. The Lions are now on the clock. I think they take Johnson, unless someone throws a bunch of picks at them.
9:27 a.m.: Calvin Johnson is going #2 overall. It's just a question of who takes him. And Tampa doesn't seem to be interested in a tackle, since they seem to be in love with Gaines Adams. I guess it's down to Adrian Peterson and the Browns. Do they take him? I think so.
9:30 a.m.: Goodell seems to be getting more comfortable. He's on his way up. Calvin Johnson! It's up to the Browns now.
9:33 a.m.: I'm going to defend the Johnson pick. Just because the Lions took a bunch of receivers in the first round the last few years, it's not as though those guys have panned out. CJ seems like a "can't miss" guy and you have to take the best athlete available. CJ's the number one guy on everyone's board. Take him, take the chance. It's not as though things could get much worse in Detroit.
9:38 a.m.: They just showed the boat that Joe Thomas is fishing on. I thought it was going to be a simple row boat, but it's a big charter fishing boat. That doesn't seem very "down home" to me.
9:40 a.m.: The card has been turned in. I would not want to be the Browns right about now. I'm not sure that they can escape getting shredded here. Then again, they're going to get a great player, whoever they take. And... it's Joe Thomas. Maybe they were trying to reach him on the Foxy Lady (the boat he chartered to go fishing).
9:43 a.m.: Well, Cleveland went safe. Nothing to do now but trade down. Everyone else in the top five isn't a good fit or isn't worth it. Perhaps the Bucs will save the Cardinals from themselves by taking Gaines Adams. We can certainly hope.
9:45 a.m.: I'm just going to throw this out there. Even though I said the Cardinals should trade down, they definitely could do a lot worse than taking Adrian Peterson. Edge isn't getting any younger, Whisenhunt's system almost requires that you have two talented backs to share the load.