NFL draft: QBs Jared Goff, Carson Wentz go 1-2
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The NFL waited the obligatory 10 minutes, presumably to hype their newest city.
When the selection card was finally turned in at Auditorium Theatre on Thursday night —after a chorus of boos for commissioner Roger Goodell, who strutted to the podium like the WWE’s Vince McMahon— it was no surprise at all.
Cal quarterback Jared Goff was selected first by the Los Angeles Rams, followed by North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz, the big-armed, Div. I-AA prospect, heading to the Philadelphia Eagles at No. 2. Fans clad in the Bison’s green and yellow stood and cheered inside the theater.
Both fates were sealed with trades weeks ago.
Desperate for a quarterback — ironically, a year after trading Sam Bradford to the Eagles — the Rams two weeks ago dealt six picks for the No. 1 overall selection and two later picks. A week ago, the Browns gave up five to move up to No. 2.
Winning in the modern NFL necessitates an above-average quarterback.
If recent history is any indication, one of Thursday’s top two picks will prosper — and the other will bust.
“Our careers will probably be linked for a long time,” Goff said.
The top two picks have an extra layer of pressure that last year’s quarterbacks didn’t — both had teams trade for them.
“Absolutely, yeah, there’s going to be pressures” Goff said.
Wentz said he didn’t know until the Rams’ selection that he wasn’t going to be the No. 1 pick.
“Hearing how excited (the Eagles) were, and knowing I’m pretty darn excited myself, it just makes it feel that much better and more special,” Wentz said. “Knowing what they had to do to trade up and knowing how much they must believe in me, that’s pretty exciting.”
History won’t remember Thursday as yet another draft with two quarterbacks at the top. The image of running back Ezekiel Elliott attending walking a red carpet in a crop-top dress shirt — an homage to the shortened jersey he couldn’t wear at Ohio State — made the Internet rounds long before the Cowboys selected him fourth.
And Ole Miss tackle Laremy Tunsil had an uglier crisis: social media posts of drug use and accepting pay in college — He said he was hacked — that might have contributed to his drop to the Dolphins at No. 13.
With an expanded “Draft Town” outdoors, the Auditorium Theatre appeared the way it did last year, when the draft stepped outside New York City for the first time
The draft figures to end its two-year stay in Chicago after Saturday, moving around the country. The city hopes to be part of the regular rotation, and Goodell said the NFL should return at some point.