NEW YORK — Things were going so normally, so predictably at Saturday's NFL draft. All six players the league invited to the festivities hit the stage in the first half-dozen selections.
Then came the wake-up call: trade after trade after trade, affecting 14 of the 31 first-round picks.
At one point, five of seven selections had been bartered. A little while later, it was another five of six.
Jake Long just sat back and smiled — right from the outset.
The Michigan tackle already had signed with the Miami Dolphins as the top overall choice. He inked a five-year contract worth $57.75 million, $30 million of it guaranteed.
"I was a little more relaxed just knowing where I was going and just being here to make it official," Long said. "That solidified it all. It was just breathtaking to walk out there and shake the commissioner's hand and hold up that jersey. It was a dream come true."
Chris Long of Virginia, Matt Ryan of Boston College, Darren McFadden of Arkansas, Glenn Dorsey of national champion LSU and Vernon Gholston of Ohio State didn't have to wait long to walk under the floodlights, either. It was the first time since the NFL began inviting multiple prospects in 1993 and they all went at the very beginning of the proceedings.
So unlike last year, when Notre Dame's Brady Quinn had to wait hours to be chosen.
"It's great to see the green room empty," said defensive end Long, who went second to St. Louis.
"It's a blessing to be here, they only ask six guys to come," DE/LB Gholston added. "Funny how it worked out, teams made good selections."
After St. Louis took the son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Howie Long, Ryan, who could solve the quarterback problems in Atlanta, went to the Falcons.
Following a long-standing tradition, Oakland went for the gamebreaker in running back McFadden, prompting the fans to boo loudly. Many wanted the two-time Heisman Trophy runner-up to fall to the New York Jets at No. 6.
All-American defensive tackle Dorsey was taken fifth overall by the Chiefs. Dorsey patted his heart as he held up a No. 1 Chiefs red jersey that was so small he, frankly, could never fit into it.
"There was a lot of emotion," he said. "I told myself I was not going to cry, but you get the tears start coming and you can't control that."
The Jets wound up with Gholston of Ohio State, who must now learn to play in the 3-4 alignment the team prefers.
"I'm looking forward to going up against Jake Long twice a year," he said of what will be a revival of their Big Ten rivalry.
At the seventh overall spot, the bartering began, and never really stopped. Eight of the next 15 picks were involved in trades.
New Orleans moved up to No. 7 to get defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis of Southern California, who was recruited to the school by the Saints' new defensive line coach, Ed Orgeron. New Orleans gave up the No. 10 overall spot to New England, and its third-round slot, and got a fifth-rounder along with the chance to take Ellis.
Then Jacksonville moved up from 26th overall to eighth, where it grabbed Florida DE Derrick Harvey. The Jaguars gave the Ravens four picks to get to that spot.
Everything moved at a good pace after the NFL cut the first round from 15 minutes per pick to 10. The first round took 3 hours, 30 minutes, a significant improvement over the five-hour marathons of previous years.