Live from the NFL Draft

The biggest off-season event in professional sports takes place today in New York City at the Javits Center.

Aspiring college football players who hope to take their game to the next level sit patiently hoping to hear their names called by potential future employers in front of a large crowd—this is the NFL Draft.

Officially known as the NFL Annual Selection Meeting, this year's crop of talent can be characterized as very ordinary at the top of the draft. As a result, speculation is running rampant and even in the final few hours before commissioner Paul Tagliabue steps to the podium announcing the first pick, questions abound.

The San Francisco 49ers hold the top selection and covet Utah signal caller Alex Smith. Yet the junior passer and his agent Tom Condon seem to be playing hardball and as a result, the team is keeping all of their options open. In fact, they plan to take all or most of their allotted 15 minutes to make their pick.

The Miami Dolphins and their new head coach Nick Saban in similar fashion are keeping all options open until the last minute. Hoping to trade down, Miami is asking for a king's ransom for the draft's second selection.

With the third selection in the draft, the Cleveland Browns and their new decision maker Phil Savage hope to acquire Michigan Wolverine wide receiver Braylon Edwards. However, some wheeling and dealing may be required just to make sure the former college star will be wearing the brown and white of Cleveland this fall.

As is the case every year, some players are charging up draft boards while others are falling in the opposite direction. LSU defensive lineman Marcus Spears, Oklahoma wide receiver Mark Clayton, and small school star Demarcus Ware of Troy State could all end up as top-15 selections, much earlier than originally thought weeks ago.

Conversely, Clemson cornerback Justin Miller, defensive end Dan Cody of Oklahoma, and tight end Heath Miller of Virginia are watching their draft stock go in the opposite direction.

Like almost every year, the 2005 NFL Draft will include intriguing stories, none more so then that of Arkansas quarterback Matt   Jones. The former collegiate signal caller, who projects to wide receiver or tight end at the next level, has made millions of dollars the past three months. After proving to NFL scouts he could effectively catch the ball during Senior Bowl week, Jones then had a splendid workout during the combine, swiftly moving his 242-pound frame across the turf of the RCA Dome in under 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash. Speak to 20 different NFL personnel people about Jones and you're likely to get 20 different opinions and predications where he'll end up in the draft.

Expect many surprises over the course of the next two days as the seven rounds of the NFL Draft play out. In fact, this year's draft is filled with so much uncertainty there could be plenty of Monday morning quarterbacking going on after completion of the weekends event Sunday evening.

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