NEW YORK -- David Carr was the most newsworthy quarterback of the NFL draft's opening round. Drew Bledsoe stole the headlines in the final round.
Carr, the Fresno State star, joined the Houston Texans to begin the proceedings on Saturday. As the first player ever drafted by the expansion team, Carr got right into the mood of things, declaring:
"They do it big in Texas," Carr said. "I can't say enough how I feel about the Texan organization. I'm proud to be a Texan and I want to beat up on the Cowboys more than anyone else."
He'll get a chance in the season opener Sept 8. That same day, Bledsoe will make his regular-season debut with the Buffalo Bills against the New York Jets.
Bledsoe was acquired from New England during Sunday's seventh and last round of the draft. The Patriots received Buffalo's first-round choice next year for the nine-year veteran who lost his job to Tom Brady during the Patriots' march to the NFL title last season.
"Everybody talks about the need for quarterbacks," Bills general manager Tom Donahoe said. "All we know is, we're happy to know that we were in that position and had a chance to do this."
Among the teams helping themselves at the position were Detroit, which took Oregon's Joey Harrington third overall, and Washington. The Redskins traded down twice in the first round, gathering extra picks, and still got its quarterback of the future in Tulane's Patrick Ramsey to conclude the first round.
Even Harrington was stunned when the Lions chose him right after North Carolina defensive end Julius Peppers went to Carolina.
"I was just about to sit down with my mom and dad and watch the Lions pick someone else, and I got a phone call. I was shocked. I was caught off guard, but I'm thrilled to be there," Harrington said.
Ramsey will be tutored by Steve Spurrier, who worked with many top-notch QBs at Florida. But few of those Gators passers made an impact in the pros, and now that Spurrier has been hired by the Redskins, he's decided to build his first NFL attack with Ramsey.
"It's a quarterback's dream to play for him," Ramsey said. "I get the best of both worlds. I get to go the NFL, and I get to play for Coach Spurrier."
In all, 15 quarterback were taken, many in the later rounds -- perhaps inspired by New England's success with Brady, a sixth-rounder in 2000. Such college QBs as Antwaan Randle El of Indiana (second round to Pittsburgh), Heisman Trophy winner Eric Crouch (third round to St. Louis) and Steve Belissari of Ohio State (sixth round to the Rams) will be tried at other positions.
The most popular position in the draft was defensive back: 52 cornerbacks or safeties were chosen, including CBs Quentin Jammer of Texas (fifth overall to San Diego), Phillip Buchanon of Miami (17th to Oakland), Lito Sheppard of Florida (26th to Philadelphia) and Mike Rumph of Miami (27th to San Francisco) in the first round. Safeties Roy Williams, the eighth overall choice by Dallas, and Ed Reed, 24th to Baltimore, also were first-rounders.
The national champion Hurricanes had 11 players taken -- five in the first round -- with the Tennessee Volunteers getting 10 chosen.
"That just tells you the type of talent they had on that team and why they ended up winning the national championship," said Rick Spielman, Miami Dolphins vice president of player personnel.
The five first-rounders from the Hurricanes were DBs Buchanon, Reed and Rumph, TE Jeremy Shockey and tackle Bryant McKinnie
While the Hurricanes and Vols were dominating the draft, such bigtime programs as Penn State (2), Syracuse (2), Georgia Tech (2) and Illinois (1) didn't have nearly the presence. And Arizona didn't have anyone selected.
One position often ignored in recent years, tight end, was in demand. Three went in the first round: Shockey to the Giants, Daniel Graham of Colorado to New England, and Jerramy Stevens of Washington to Seattle. In all, 24 tight ends were selected; previously, the most tight ends taken in a seven-round draft were 16.
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