NFL Draft Live Commentary

There’s a lot going on in the NFL at this very minute. The league is hours away from swinging open the doors and lifting the lockout (at least temporarily) and free agency isn’t far off. Plus, there’s the draft. Having a tough time keeping up with it all? Don’t fret. Brad Gagnon and Sean Tomlinson from theScore.com’s Goal-Line Stand NFL blog are here to hold your hand throughout this evening’s NFL draft at Radio City Music Hall in New York. Keep hitting the refresh button on your browser and enjoy this running commentary designed to complement what’s going down in NYC.

(All times Eastern)

7:15: The Carolina Panthers will officially be on the clock in 45 minutes

Welcome to our live commentary. Tomlinson and I are set up here at the GLS headquarters (my 540 sq. ft. Toronto condo) and I’ve already had to tell Sean twice that he can’t watch the draft in his boxer-briefs. I’ll be here to relay all 32 picks and some instant analysis after each selection is made. Tomlinson will chip in with funny pictures, video and fluff. Once in a while, I might even let him talk about the actual draft.

FYI No. 1: I think the Panthers should select LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson first overall. Sean thinks they should take Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert. That despite the fact that we both realize they’re going to inevitably pick bust-in-the-waiting Cam Newton. Here’s my mock draft and here’s Sean’s.

And here’s a look at all the draft content Sean and I have produced over the last two or three months.

FYI No. 2: We’ll be watching the draft on NFL Network, simply because I can’t handle Chris Berman tipping every pick before it’s delivered. But we’ll keep tabs on what’s happening over at ESPN, too.

FYI No. 3: We’ve already begun drinking alcoholic beverages. You’ve been warned.

– Brad Gagnon

7:23: Here’s a compelling live shot of the Denver Broncos war room…

Ohhhh two guys are in there now! Link here.

– Brad Gagnon

7:33: Football fans want football

Oh, hello there. I wasn’t expecting you. Well now that you’re here, and I’m here, slide on down the virtual GLS couch, grab a bubbly beverage and a slice of pizza, and enjoy a night of NFL celebration free of lockout talk. They won’t talk about the lockout, right?

We’re not sure if any of the talking heads will talk about the labor legalese. Alright, we’re pretty sure, but we know the fans in New York don’t mind giving Roger Goodell a piece of their mind. The NFL commissioner was booed immediately when he stepped to the stage during player introductions, saying “I hear you” before hiding behind a natural disaster.

Somewhere, Donovan McNabb is smiling…

Sean Tomlinson

7:58: 300 some odd pages says the Eagles are ready

Andy Reid wrote every word in that book. (Editor’s note: Isn’t it fitting that his is so much wider than his cohorts’?)

Sean Tomlinson

8:07: 1. CAROLINA PANTHERS: AUBURN QB CAM NEWTON

No surprises. But Newton is a massive gamble for the Panthers, especially with so many gifted defensive players available. New head coach Ron Rivera’s coaching career is now linked forever to Newton. I hate this pick, but wish Newton the best. That’s assuming he doesn’t take an offer from the Tigers…

– Brad Gagnon

8:12: Still images of Panthers’ draft party show jubilation, possibly Waldo

Watching John Elway search for a pen that works is far more entertaining.

Sean Tomlinson

8:15: 2. DENVER BRONCOS: TEXAS A&M OLB VON MILLER

He’s the best edge rusher in the draft, but Denver already has Elvis Dumervil. Miller is undersized and Marcell Dareus would have beefed up a horrible front seven. Denver’s biggest issue is run defense, and they didn’t address that with this pick.

– Brad Gagnon

8:18: Cam Newton just got drafted…and now he’s going on vacation

I have no idea what Cam Newton was thinking by claiming he was going to “go on a much needed vacation” now that the draft was out of the way. Rookies usually report to their new teams almost immediately. I know Newton was trying to be light-hearted in saying that the whole process has been mentally exhausting, but that was not the smartest thing to say considering the questions already surrounding the guy’s work ethic and mentality.

Stupid. Very stupid.

– Brad Gagnon

8:23: 3. BUFFALO BILLS: ALABAMA DT MARCELL DAREUS

Safe pick from the Bills, but Patrick Peterson was the best player on the board and they already have a capable nose tackle in Kyle Williams. It could have been worse based on their draft history, but this is still a “meh” pick.

– Brad Gagnon

8:26: 4. CINCINNATI BENGALS: GEORGIA WR A.J. GREEN

And the Chad Ochocinco era is over. This was one of the most mock drafted picks in the last month. I knew Mike Brown wouldn’t want to give in to Carson Palmer that easily. And for the first time this entire draft, Tomlinson and I have been right with our mock drafts. Now, Patrick Peterson is on the board for the Cardinals. This might be a very popular trade spot.

– Brad Gagnon

8:28: Marcell Dareus was really drafted for his pass coverage

Sure, he had 11 sacks over his last two seasons at Alabama, but Dareus was really coveted because of his hands. All of our mocks are now ruined because of this oversight.

Sean Tomlinson

8:33: 5. ARIZONA CARDINALS: LSU CB PATRICK PETERSON

Cornerback wasn’t a big need, but Peterson is too good to pass up. The Cardinals will pair him up with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and have one of the best young corner duos in the league. Now they have to get a quarterback in Round 2 or sign a free-agent signal caller. Meanwhile, the Falcons have traded up to the six spot, presumably to draft Julio Jones. Interesting.

– Brad Gagnon

8: 35: Peterson’s coming, protect your loved ones

No one is safe when Peterson is in the defensive backfield. He’ll take your football, your wife, and your kids.

Sean Tomlinson

8:38: 6. ATLANTA FALCONS: ALABAMA WR JULIO JONES

The first big surprise of the draft isn’t the pick, but the team. The Falcons swap first round picks with the Browns and give them a second-rounder, a fourth-rounder, a 2012 first-rounder and a 2012 fourth-rounder (wow) for the right to draft the electric Alabama receiver. This is the Falcons making a statement and getting more help for their franchise quarterback, but they’d better hope they can improve the pass rush later in the draft or in free agency.

From a fantasy perspective, this changes everything in Atlanta.

– Brad Gagnon

8:44: 7. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS: DE ALDON SMITH, MISSOURI

The first Missouri player off the board is not Blaine Gabbert, and the slide begins? This pick is shocking. The Niners must have fallen in love with Smith, who many figured would have gone at least four or five picks later. I had going 30th in my last mock draft. Still, I don’t mind the pick. He’ll immediately help a rather pedestrian pass rush as a rush linebacker in San Fran.

Brad Gagnon

8:46: 8. TENNESSEE TITANS: WASHINGTON QB JAKE LOCKER

And so the Gabbert slide is officially underway as the Titans skip the Missouri quarterback for Locker. Hey, only a year ago this guy was considered to be the best player in the 2010 draft class before opting to stay in school. He’s athletic as hell, but he makes bad decisions. Locker will have to be coached up in Tennessee, but I think the Titans are tired of generic defensive ends in the first round. This is an intriguing choice.

– Brad Gagnon

8:50: Aaron Rodgers knows how you feel, Blaine

Yes, this may be a little premature, but the early images of a red-faced Blaine Gabbert in the green room shaking his head already remind us of a certain Super Bowl winning quarterback who went through a free fall of his own five years ago. Aaron Rodgers feel all the way to the 25th overall in the 2005 draft, and was taken just one spot ahead of Jason Campbell.

Campbell is now struggling to keep his career alive in Oakland, while Rodgers finished with 3,922 passing yards last year and 28 touchdowns. Gabbert was a consensus top 10 pick, and Washington should throw him a lifeline.

Sean Tomlinson

9:00: 9. DALLAS COWBOYS: USC OT TYRON SMITH

Adding protection for Tony Romo never hurts. The Cowboys were reportedly split between Smith and Anthony Castonzo. I’m a bit surprised by this because I kept hearing that Castonzo was more NFL-ready, but this is a good, safe pick. It was clear that the Cowboys wanted to trade down, as Jerry Jones and Co. sat there waiting for something to happen in the war room. In the end, I guess they had to settle for Smith in the No. 9 spot, rather than Smith or Castonzo five or 10 picks later. Now it’s time for the Redskins to put Blaine Gabbert out of his misery and end the Donovan McNabb era.

– Brad Gagnon

9:04: 10. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS: MISSOURI QB BLAINE GABBERT

That’s right, the Jaguars. David Garrard is officially on notice after the Jags traded up six spots to select the select the sliding Gabbert. They must have really loved Gabbert, because they could have had a guy like Andy Dalton in half an hour.

– Brad Gagnon

9:09: 11. HOUSTON TEXANS: WISCONSIN DE J.J. WATT

The Texans keep building the front seven of that new 3-4 defense. Watt should be a nice complement to Mario Williams, which in turn will help the poor Houston secondary. Prince Amukamara was an option, but the Texans can address their defensive back problem later.

– Brad Gagnon

9:12: Anyone else think Gabbert looks like Sunshine from Remember The Titans?

Now we just need to see if Gabbert sings, dances, insults mothers, and accepts dap…

Sean Tomlinson

9:21: 12. MINNESOTA VIKINGS: FLORIDA STATE QB CHRISTIAN PONDER

I’m feeling great about taking six quarterbacks with the top 16 picks of the last mock draft. Four quarterbacks are now off the board, which means teams will soon be desperately jumping into Round 1 to get a signal caller. I think. Ponder will likely compete with Tarvaris Jackson for the starting job. I prefer Dalton, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if Ponder panned out nicely.

– Brad Gagnon

9:25: 13. DETROIT LIONS: AUBURN DT NICK FAIRLEY

Whaaaaaaat? The Lions don’t have more important needs than defensive tackle? This pick is baffling to me. I understand that Fairley was probably the best player available, but this is just too much. Yes, the Lions will now have their very own version of the Williams Wall with Ndamukong Suh and Fairly up front. I also understand the philosophy of building from both lines out, but this is a team that could have used more protection for Matt Stafford here. How about Anthony Castonzo, who wouldn’t have been a reach at all at 13? I don’t get it. But at the same time, I’m excited to see Suh and Fairley together with Kyle Vanden Bosch.

– Brad Gagnon

9:28: Vikings draft Kacie McDonnell’s boyfriend

If I’ve learned anything from generic, cookie-cutter football movies with scripts that took seven minutes to write, it’s that the quarterback always gets the best hottest girl in school. It’s science.

Let’s meet McDonnell, the arm prize of Christian Ponder. The Vikings really did their research…

Sean Tomlinson

9:35: 14. ST. LOUIS RAMS: NORTH CAROLINA DE ROBERT QUINN

A benign brain tumor and missing the 2010 season might have hurt Quinn’s draft stock. But as Mike Mayock keeps pointing out, he was 19 years old the last time we saw him play a live game. He’s an incredible athlete with a ton of upside, and he didn’t miss the 2010 season because of drugs or something to worry about long term. I think this could end up being a steal for the Rams at 14. They now have two great bookend pass rushers in Chris Long and Quinn. At this early stage, I’d put Quinn right behind Von Miller in a rookie-of-the-year pool.

– Brad Gagnon

9:38: 15. MIAMI DOLPHINS: FLORIDA C MIKE POUNCEY

Mike wanted to be drafted higher than his brother, but it only probably happened because of his brother. There’s a belief that Mike isn’t as good as Maurkice, but this is a pretty crappy draft pool so I guess Mike being selected three spots ahead of his brother isn’t a massive surprise.

– Brad Gagnon

9:30: Those Pouncey brothers are really close

There are certain moments in life that require close contact between males, but we’re not being drafted into a league filled with macho, brutish men is one of them.

Sean Tomlinson

9:47: 16. WASHINGTON REDSKINS: PURDUE OLB RYAN KERRIGAN

The Purdue defensive end will have to stand up in Washington’s 3-4 defense, but I think that Brian Orakpo/Kerrigan combo should be pretty stellar. Now that the pass rush is taken care of, the ‘Skins have to use a second-round pick on a quarterback to compete for the starting job.

– Brad Gagnon

9:50: 17. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: COLORADO OT NATE SOLDER

The Pats need help at offensive tackle. Solder happens to be one. That is all.

– Brad Gagnon

9:53: Nate Solder is a very strong man

Thanks for that in-depth analysis Brad. Please stop drinking that $2 wine that’s inexplicably sitting beside a bottle of vinegar on your kitchen counter.

Anyways, this Solder character is one of the strongest men in the human race. So strong that he can knock another man down, penetrating with ease through his opponent’s padded tackling shield apparatus.

Sean Tomlinson

10:04: 19. NEW YORK GIANTS: NEBRASKA CB PRINCE AMUKAMARA

Now here’s a potential steal. I love Prince. He’s big and athletic and fast and looks nice in that suit (it’s been a long night). The Giants upgrade a solid secondary with a guy who, not long ago, was a top-10 pick in mock drafts worldwide.

The Giants will now have to spend a good chunk of the rest of the draft upgrading the offensive line.

– Brad Gagnon

10:14: 20. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS: IOWA DE ADRIAN CLAYBORN

Considering the problems the Bucs are having with Aqib Talib, this is a big pick. The Bucs keep building a front seven that struggled during Gerald McCoy’s rookie season. They recorded only 26 sacks last year and didn’t do much to stop the run. There were several big-name pass rushers available here, and I’m a bit surprised the Bucs didn’t go with Cameron Jordan or Muhammad Wilkerson.

– Brad Gagnon

10:18: C’mon Adrian! This is unacceptable!

That’s the bio currently showing on Adrian Clayborn’s twitter account, and it’s been at least five minutes since he became an NFL employee. Did the Bucs know that he’s this lazy? Very poor draft homework here by Tampa Bay GM Mark Dominik.

Sean Tomlinson

10:24: 21. CLEVELAND BROWNS: BAYLOR NT PHIL TAYLOR

I figured Taylor would go in this spot, but to the Chiefs. KC and Cleveland swap picks and the Browns add a mountain of a man inside to replace Shaun Rogers. Nice pick.

– Brad Gagnon

10:26: 22. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: BOSTON COLLEGE OT ANTHONY CASTONZO

Lucky Colts. A lot of prognosticators had Castonzo going in the top 10, so Indy has finally addressed that need at tackle while drafting the best player left on the board (depending, obviously, on who you ask). Another nice pick.

– Brad Gagnon

10:31: 23. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: BAYLOR OL DANNY WATKINS

Don’t tell Watkins about Tony Mandarich. The last time a Canadian was drafted this high, it was The Incredible Bust. The British Columbia boy is extremely versatile, so he should help give a shaky Eagles line some depth right away. Long term, he might be a quality starting tackle. He can play inside, too.

– Brad Gagnon

10:42: Danny Watkins can now afford to upgrade his vehicle

Or maybe he won’t bother. Hey, Tom Brady rides a scooter too.

Sean Tomlinson

10:48: 24. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS: CAL DE CAMERON JORDAN

Talk about a perfect fit for the Saints. Jordan will immediately boost a so-so pass rush while pairing with Will Smith. Great value at 24, too.

And so now the Seahawks are on the clock. A lot of peeps have them taking a quarterback, and Andy Dalton is still on the board. If it’s not him, though, there are some great players on the board. Jimmy Smith immediately comes to mind. Lots of defensive ends, too. Oh, and Mark Ingram. In other words, I haven’t got a clue.

– Brad Gagnon

10:53: 25. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS: ALABAMA OT JAMES CARPENTER

Bit of a reach, but the premier tackles were already gone. He’ll play opposite Russell Okung, who I don’t think the Seahawks feel great about at this point in time. The way things are going for Andy Dalton and Co., there’s a chance the ‘Hawks will even have a chance to land one of the quarterbacks in Round 2.

— Brad Gagnon

11:04: 26. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: PITTSBURGH WR JONATHAN BALDWIN

The Ravens passed on their pick, the Chiefs reached for Baldwin, George is dead. Call me back.

– Brad Gagnon

11:08: 27. BALTIMORE RAVENS: COLORADO CB JIMMY SMITH

I’m still not sure why the Ravens passed, but they wouldn’t have picked Baldwin anyway. And they saved a few bucks by selecting Smith one spot later. He has a horrible track record but Baltimore might be perfect for him. A veteran team with guys like Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Terrell Suggs will take care of him and keep him under control. Love this pick.

– Brad Gagnon

11:13: 28. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS: ALABAMA RB MARK INGRAM

This is the worst pick of the entire first round. Reggie Bush, Pierre Thomas and Chris Ivory are all still on the roster. Thomas just signed an extension, Bush is owed a ton of money and Ivory might be the most talented of the bunch. I don’t care how goof Ingram supposedly is, this is a bad draft pick. The Saints could have continued to build a weak front seven (Cam Jordan doesn’t solve the problem all on his own). I don’t get this.

– Brad Gagnon

11:20: 29. CHICAGO BEARS: WISCONSIN OT GABE CARIMI

With Danny Watkins gone this was going to be Carimi, Derek Sherrod or a defensive tackle like Marvin Austin. Carimi makes sense, and that’s probably it for tackles in Round 1. There’s a chance Carimi supplants Chris Williams as the team’s starting left tackle in no time.

– Brad Gagnon

11:22: If this whole football thing doesn’t work out for Mark Ingram…

There’s a future in golf shot trickery.

Maybe not.

Sean Tomlinson

11:27: 30. NEW YORK JETS: TEMPLE DE MUHHAMAD WILKERSON

I understand that they could have used an edge rusher, but Wilkerson is a five technique who will line up at defensive end. That’s a good thing, because the Jets are hurting badly at defensive end. And Wilkerson is the kind of guy who can get to the quarterback as well as stop the run. I’m surprised he fell this far.

– Brad Gagnon

11:30: 31. PITTSBURGH STEELERS: OHIO STATE DE CAMERON HEYWARD

They add depth to an already stellar front seven rather than add a potential starter at cornerback. This probably means they’ll make an aggressive effort to re-sign Ike Taylor.

– Brad Gagnon

11:40: 32. GREEN BAY PACKERS: MISSISSIPPI STATE OT DEREK SHERROD

This is an offensive line that sucked badly two years ago. They made improvements in 2010, but they’re up there in age. Sherrod will join Bryan Bulaga as the Aaron Rodgers protection duo of the future.

Two players to watch early tomorrow: Andy Dalton and Da’Quan Bowers.

Thanks for following along. We’ll recap the first round tomorrow and look ahead to the remainder of the draft.

– Brad Gagnon