50 Cent and English rock band The Heavy welcomed viewers to ESPN's coverage of the first round of the NFL Draft with a take on The Heavy's "How You Like Me Now?," while some of the draft's top prospects interacted with props and screamed into microphones that may or may not have been plugged in. It was no Hank Williams Jr. introducing a Monday Night Football game, but it created a sense of excitement nonetheless. At least it did for me, I've missed 50 Cent since his random energy supplement drink commercials. Street King? Good to have you back, Curtis.
Moving on and down the draft order, it is also apparent that the type of person who attends the NFL Draft as a fan is the type of person who will boo at anything. As Roger Goodell began the countdown for Kansas City's No. 1 overall pick, fans were booing before a selection had even been made. That can only mean there will be at least a few times during the first 32 picks that Goodell, or whomever is at the podium at the time, is going to get booed aggressively when announcing a team's draft selection. So goes the atmoshpere inside Radio City Music Hall where the new NFL season unofficially starts for a number of passionate fans.
The Chiefs selected tackle Eric Fisher from Central Michigan with the No. 1 overall pick and it is expected Fisher will compete for immediate playing time on the Chiefs' line. Kansas City needs a lot of help and this is a great place to start. Even with little help last season Jamaal Charles ran for over 1,500 yards, and if Fisher can protect Alex Smith in the pocket the Chiefs will have an easier time moving the ball.
Jacksonville picked up Texas A&M's tackle Luke Joeckel with the No. 2 pick, bolstering their offensive line as well. One commonality of nearly every unsuccesful NFL team is an inept offensive line. If an offense isn't getting consistent protection and running lanes from its line, there are going to be issues scoring points and keeping opposing offenses off the field. Joeckel could have easily gone a pick higher at No. 1, but he gives the Jaguars a capable run blocker that can move his feet to keep the backfield clear. The Jaguars also have a long year ahead of them, but Joeckel will get a lot of snaps and continue to grow as a player as the team rebuilds.
The draft's first trade comes by way of Oakland and falls in the lap of the Dolphins. The 'Fins have a newly-minted logo and uniform and now they have a defensive end from Oregon in Dion Jordan. Jordan projects as an outside linebacker at the professional level, and although the Dolphins could have used an offensive lineman after Jake Long left through free agency for St. Louis, Jordan gives Miami a solid pass rusher.
Lane Johnson, another big tackle out of Oklahoma, didn't fall past No. 4 as the Eagles scooped him up with their first pick. Johnson had his way with defensive lineman at Kilgore College before mauling defenders in Oklahoma's no-huddle offense. New Eagles head coach Chip Kelly made a living out of running his versatile offensive schemes behind guys like Johnson while coaching at Oregon, and Johnson projects to makes an immediate impact.
Biggest surprise so far? Barry Sanders! I know him! The newest man to grace the Madden videogame cover presented the No. 5 pick for the Detriot Lions. The Lions picked defensive end Ezekiel Ansah from BYU, another big and fast pass rusher with a lot of tools to help the Lions. Ansah has a lot to learn as he has only been playing football competitively for five years, but he will be among some of the league's nastiest defenders in Nick Fairley and Ndamukong Suh.
Another defensive end comes off the board as Cleveland takes LSU's Barkevious Mingo with the No. 6 pick. What a great name, I hope we are able to hear it every Sunday for years to come. Good luck in Cleveland, Bark. The winter up there is colder than Kanye West's latest diss.
North Carolina guard Jonathan Cooper goes No. 7 to Arizona. Again, it's tough to be competitive without a solid offensive line, so this is a good choice. It's generally pretty tough to bungle a Top-10 pick in the draft, but just see exhibit A-Z, the Oakland Raiders in years past.
Buffalo traded the No. 8 pick to St. Louis and the Rams chose the electrice Tavon Austin from West Virginia. Austin brings speed, speed and did I mention this guy is fast? Oh, and he once rushed for over 300 yards in a game at West Virginia. Yeah, I think Jeff Fisher can find somewhere to utilizee Austin's shiftiness on the field.
The No. 9 pick belonged to the New York Jets, who went with Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner. Milliner isn't the biggest or fastest corner, but he covers extremely well, something the Jets will miss about the newly departed Darrelle Revis.
The Titans rounded out the Top-10 by selecting Alabama guard Chance Warmack. Jake Locker was in need of some protection and Warmack fills that need. Lots of lineman off the board early as Warmack became the fifth lineman taken in this year's first 10 picks.
Pass rush and pass protection have been two prominent themes so far in the first round. Teams have to get better immediately by shoring up their schemes down in the trenches. That's where games are won, and winning in the draft means realizing this and capitalizing on the the available talent.
Dallas swapped picks with San Francisco at No. 18 and the 49ers promptly selected safety Eric Reid out of LSU. Another solid piece added to the already potent Niners defense.
The Texans took wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins at No. 27, giving Andre Johnson a potential partner in crime at wideout in Houston. Hopkins draws comparisons to Anquan Boldin due to his sticky hands and ability to grab the ball at its highest point. If Hopkins is to be effective in the Houston offense, he will need to draw attention away from Johnson occasionally and make some big plays. Not every rookie can do that, but Hopkins certainly has a chance to be that guy in Houston. The Texans' next pick comes in the second round at No. 57.
At No. 29, Minnesota traded multiple picks in later rounds to New England in order to draft Tennessee wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson. The Vikings cleaned up in the first round after selecting Florida defensive tackle Shariff Floyd at No. 23 and Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes at No. 25.
Dallas took Wisconsin center Travis Frederick with its No. 31 pick. The Cowboys' next pick is No. 47 in the second round.
No running backs and only one quarterback, Florida State's E.J. Manuel at No. 16 to Buffalo were taken in the first round.