Cowboys get aggressive, Claiborne
NEW YORK —The Eagles rivals are getting aggressive early. Dallas traded up from the 14th pick overall to grab the best cornerback in the draft tonight, landing LSU's Morris Claiborne with the sixth pick in the draft.
The Cowboys sent their first round pick and second (45th overall) to the Rams in the deal.
In grabbing Claiborne, Dallas got a player who will be expected to improve a Cowboys pass defense that ranked 23rd in the league a year ago.
The Dallas trade marked the second aggressive move of the draft by the Eagles' rivals, following the Redskins trade weeks ago to land the second overall pick and quarterback Robert Griffin, III.
Following the Claiborne pick, we may have witnessed a rare moment in Radio City Music Hall: agreement between New York and Philadelphia. Fans chanted loudly, "Dallas sucks!"
Griffin, Luck set stage for long-term rivalry
There was no drama at the top of the NFL's marquee offseason event Thursday night. Everyone knew that quarterback Andrew Luck would be the first pick, by the Colts, and that Robert Griffin, III would go next, to the Redskins.
The draft, though, sets the stage for a fascinating drama that could play out for years. If Luck and Griffin each live up to their immense expectations and potentials, the two quarterbacks could battle for supremacy for years to come. Already Griffin won the Heisman Trophy that many believed was sure to go to Luck. But Luck, a Stanford product, got the honor of being the NFL's first overall pick.
Griffin, from Baylor, would seem to be walking into a more promising situation. The Redskins won five games last year and have more pieces in place, particularly on defense, than the Colts, who finished 2-14 and purged many veterans this offseason. Luck, though, is seen as a once-in-a-generation quarterbacking prospect who will be expected to lift the Colts in much the same way that his predecessor, Peyton Manning, once did. He has enormous shoulder pads to fill.
Griffin, meanwhile, faces a daunting task of his own. He'll be counted on to revive the Redskins once proud but now flagging franchise that hasn't reached the playoffs since 2007 and hasn't won a postseason game since 2005.
He got an early taste of what he'll be facing in rival NFC East cities. Introduced before the draft, the future Redskin was lustily booed by a crowd heavy with Giants and Eagles fans. (Others later chanted his name while Luck was on stage posing for pictures, moments after being drafted).
The trades have begun even before the picks started falling. The Vikings and Browns have swapped spots (Cleveland moving one spot up, to three, Minnesota one spot down, to four). The Browns gave up their first pick, along with picks in the fourth, fifth and seventh rounds.
Reports around the league is that they made the move to make sure they could grab Alabama running back Trent Richardson.
On the surface, I don't see a huge impact on the Eagles just yet. If the Vikings continue to try to move back, or grab, say, Morris Claiborne, things could get interesting, because then Tampa Bay — long thought to be targeting Claiborne — might be left to go for a top-rated defensive linemen, perhaps setting off a run that could affect any Eagles plans to upgrade there.
Meanwhile, the New York crowd is in fine form, giving lusty boos to both Robert Griffin, III and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
It's gray and damp in New York, and inside Radio City Music Hall the NFL's big stage is mostly empty for now, the league's logo playing across giant video screens that will serve as a backdrop for the draft evening.
League commissioner Roger Goodell was just on the stage, scouting out the scene along with NFL head PR man Greg Aiello. Chris Berman is on a platform behind me and over my right shoulder, his voice unmistakable and unmissable. The NFL Network is stationed up to the left.
Fans were already lining up outside a tight police cordon that would have you think international dignitaries were inside. Lots of Jets jerseys -- as you might expect. (The worst part of covering this live here in New York will be missing the moment when the networks cue up the highlight reel of booing Jets fans over the years). Some Dolphins fans, a couple blue Cowboys jerseys, I only saw one Eagles fan in my brief walk before entering the building.
Players are arriving on the red carpet outside, stepping out of SUVs and pulling on jackets as an MC tries -- vainly it seems -- to stir up excitement. Except for Andrew Luck and RGIII, I can understand why fans might be slow to react. After all, there's a chance each of these guys will soon be one of their new favorites ... or a key piece of a hated rival. We'll find out soon enough.
For complete coverage of the 2012 Eagles draft, click here.