Twilight of the running back

Fun fact: Shaw is not the Stanford football coach, he is the Bradford M. Freeman Director of Football.

New Orleans Saints: One thing you can count on the Saints to do in the first round: not draft a quarterback. New Orleans has not chosen a quarterback in the first round since Archie Manning in 1971, the league's longest streak without a high-drafted signal-caller.

Oakland Raiders: Clowney, the first defensive player taken, received dozens of college recruiting offers. Khalil Mack, the second defensive player taken, received just one scholarship offer, from the University at Buffalo (which perhaps should style itself as UATB). Clowney has been an athletic celebrity since high school; Mack was an athletic nobody till last fall. Celebrities tend to want to lie on the beach sipping mai tais, while nobodies tend to be driven. Don't be surprised if over the next five years, Mack significantly outworks Clowney.

Last fall, Mack played a home game before only 2,622 people. UATB's average gate was just 22,276, and that was enough to lead the MAC.

Three years of three cheers for Michigan: Reader John Senger of Doha, Qatar, notes the University of Michigan has graduated all senior football players for three consecutive years. Paul Johnson's first recruiting class at Georgia Tech just achieved a perfect graduation rate for those players who stayed in school. If this kind of thing could be said for most football-factory programs, college football would cease to be controversial.

Philadelphia Eagles: First selection Marcus Smith, a defensive end, was a quarterback in high school. He's likely to be used only on passing downs, as was the Dolphins' Dion Jordan, whom Chip Kelly had in college

The Nesharim gave a fifth-round choice for Darren Sproles, who was expected to get the carries that last season went to Bryce Brown. Then Philadelphia got at least a fourth-round pick from Buffalo for Brown. Since Sproles is a better player than Brown, the series of transactions raises the question, Why didn't Buffalo just trade for Sproles? The Bills may have wanted Brown's rookie contract, which is a league-minimum agreement with two years remaining. Regardless, the deals show Kelly and his staff are catching on to how to get the best of other teams in trades.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Another year, another Steelers highly drafted linebacker. Pittsburgh has used five first- or second-round picks on linebackers in the past eight drafts.

In praise of Who-Dats: As draft hoopla fades, bear in mind about a third of NFL players were undrafted. A few years from now, many players drafted last week will be forgotten, while hardworking who-dats will become well-known names.

San Diego Chargers: The Bolts used their first selection on TCU's Verrett, who becomes the latest NFL cornerback to sport very long dreadlocks. Speed is so essential to corners -- aren't long dreadlocks bad for your coefficient of drag?

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