9:50 A.M. MST: We’ve been at the facility for just under an hour now.
9:52 A.M. MST: To the paramecia at Radio City Music Hall who are booing as Michael Vick and DeAngelo Hall are introduced — there can sometimes be a time and a place to boo players; it’s part of pro sports. But during a tribute to the victims of the massacre on the Virginia Tech campus is neither. Shame on you.
9:57 A.M. MST: Stunning development — ESPN’s Ed Werder is NOT in Dallas! He just doesn’t look the same without a galaxy of blue stars behind him.
9:58 A.M. MST: Sal Paolantonio checks in from Tampa wearing a tie that bears a shade of orange eerily familiar to the one on the Bucs’ uniforms from 1976-1996. Ah, Florida orange … the color of the Sundays from my youth.
9:59 A.M. MST: There’s not a Super Bowl ring out there pricier than the watch that Adrian Peterson is brandishing. As site contributor Kyle Sonneman said, “That’s rented, not bought.”
10:01 A.M. MST: Am I watching the draft or an episode of 24?
10:08 A.M. MST: Are we going to put a team on the clock today?
10:09 A.M. MST: Oh, hosanna! “The 2007 NFL Draft is now open,” declares Goodell. I guess he’s no Mike Shanahan, who showed up for his press conference yesterday precisely at noon.
10:17 A.M. MST: The Raiders have had nearly four months to make their decision … and now they’ve gobbled up seven and a half minutes of their allotment. Cripes, how long does it take?
10:20 A.M. MST: All that for a pick that surprises few who observe the draft … as the Raiders select JaMarcus Russell. Somewhere, a certain All-Pro cornerback who devours young passers as afternoon snacks is smiling.
10:21 A.M. MST: Whoa — Elway comparisons for a rookie who hasn’t taken an NFL snap? Settle down, Chris Berman … Russell needs to throw at least a couple of pro passes first.
10:28 A.M. MST: “Brian Kelly is not happy in Tampa,” says Keyshawn Johnson, a man who knows all about malcontentment on Florida’s west coast.
10:30 A.M. MST: Make that four wide receivers in five first rounds, as the Lions take Georgia Tech wide receiver Calvin Johnson. The fans at Ford Field erupt. Can you blame them? This is a fellow who shredded the top-ranked defense in college football last year, sprinting through Virginia Tech for a pair of touchdowns en route to an early-season win that ended up swinging the ACC’s Coastal Division race to the Ramblin’ Wreck.
10:42 A.M. MST: We’re averaging about 10 minutes, 20 seconds per pick now that the Browns have selected Wisconsin’s Joe Thomas, a selection met with 15 seconds of silence from ESPN’s otherwise talkative armada of correspondents.
10:45 A.M. MST: How giddy must Charlie Frye be right now? And what do the Bucs do here? Jeff Garcia, whom they signed in March probably has no more than two or three years, max, in him, and they already have young quarterbacks with starting experience in Chris Simms and Bruce Gradkowski.
10:54 A.M. MST: Gaines Adams looks good in orange. Too bad for him the Bucs wear red now.
11:03 A.M. MST: Brady Quinn has a bemused smile on his face. We are averaging 10 minutes, 36 seconds per pick, so if the pace continues, we will see the Broncos go on the clock at 1:22 p.m. MST.
11:07 A.M. MST: Speaking of average times, Rachel Nichols blinks, on average, once every eight seconds.
11:14 A.M. MST: Well, it would seem LaRon Landry is the pick here, although the Redskins seem determined to milk their moment until the final seconds. Tick, tick, tick …
11:16 A.M. MST: Well, at least the Landry brothers will be close to each other; elder brother Dawan starts at safety for Baltimore.
11:25 A.M. MST: Are those purple and yellow M&Ms on the Vikings draft table? Did someone have to manually expunge the brown M&Ms from the jar? Did you ever think you’d hear Steve Spurrier saying, “Click! Clack!” Are they actually running this T.J. Houshmanzadeh fantasy-football commercial for a second consecutive year? Are the mispronunciations of his surname actually still funny on some planet? Perhaps this one?
11:30 A.M. MST: Steve Young: “That pick gets the Minnesota Vikings out of the top 10 next year.” We shall see about that.
11:38 A.M. MST: Of all the draft mouthpieces on air, none is having a better day than ESPN’s Michael Smith, who successfully called the Arizona pick of Levi Brown and Atlanta’s selection of defensive end Jamaal Anderson, meaning that new Falcons head coach Bobby Petrino opted not to reunite with his standout defensive tackle at Louisville, Amobi Okoye.
11:47 A.M. MST: Might the Disney suits be a tad angry at Steve Young referencing a reality program that is not aired on the ABC/Disney family of networks?
11:50 A.M. MST: Mel Kiper’s face looks like Jon Gruden’s. My jaw hasn’t yet returned to its normal position. Our first true draft stunner has arrived, and Brady Quinn has officially become the face of this year’s draft.
11:58 A.M. MST: This is SportsCenter just had its best spot in years with the David Ortiz/Wally the Green Monster commercial.
12 P.M. MST: With Quinn dropping, ESPN just showed the montage of quarterback campouts in the green room. That’s just twisting the knife in the poor lad’s back.
12:01 P.M. MST: How many Facebook and MySpace searches for Quinn’s girlfriend, Lindy Slinger, have been made in the past 35 minutes? The over-under is 18,000.
12:05 P.M. MST: There are seven of us based here in the conference room, and each of us has placed a name by our initials denoting who each of us believes will be the Broncos’ first-round pick. With the Texans’ selection of Amobi Okoye, video maven Chris Hall and publications majordomo J. Michael Moore have dropped out of the running. (And for the record, nothing more valuable than bragging rights are at stake.)
12:14 P.M. MST: Nobody’s touched that ham sandwich on the table where Brady Quinn once sat. If Quinn or any draft picks want to kill some time, do what I did while I was waiting for some of the draft-prospect video to encode over the last few weeks — conduct random You Tube searches. I recommend looking up Mr. Belvedere and the theme to One Day at a Time.
12:20 P.M. MST: San Francisco takes Patrick Willis. For the last time ever, I will say, “What you talkin’ bout, Willis?” in reference to the Ole Miss linebacker, but will add, “What you talkin’ bout, everyone!”
12:44 P.M. MST: Finally, the magic word: “Trade!” And with that, the first appearance of Gene Washington, patron saint of the second round, who announces a deal between the Jets and Panthers. Leon Hall or Darrelle Revis, perhaps?
1 P.M. MST: Revis goes to the Jets, and Lawrence Timmons goes to the Steelers. Another member of the communications concern here in Denver drops out of the draft-pick-prediction scrum, leaving myself, Kyle Sonneman and media relations staffer Dave Gaylinn.
1:05 P.M. MST: Keyshawn Johnson just suggested the Packers pick Dwayne Bowe to help “move it (the team) into the next millennium.” The franchise’s not even a century old and Johnson’s talking about them hitting Futurama territory!
1:17 P.M. MST: Regarding ESPN’s 24-style draft promos: I don’t think I’d want to be a fan of a team who puts the name of a player’s college on a Post-It note beside his name on the wall. Sounds like the purported draft preprations of the New York Titans, which supposedly involved Harry Wismer 2007 Draft