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NFL Draft Focuses on Depth After Headliners

Clearly, this was not the first round of the NFL draft, even if Radio City Music Hall was practically full.

Instead of Heisman Trophy winners and All-Americans, the opening picks of Friday night's second round were Indiana tackle Rodger Saffold, Virginia cornerback Chris Cook, and UCLA defensive tackle Brian Price. Yes, quality players, but hardly headline makers.

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In fact, none of the first six choices in the round drew much response from the surprisingly large audience. Then again, with the way the NFL has turned the first prime-time draft into an event, seeing the venerable theater packed makes sense.

So did the opening choices.

Needing a blocker for quarterback Sam Bradford, the first overall pick the previous night, the Rams ignored several trade offers to stay put. They went for an experienced player who started for four seasons with the Hoosiers.

Minnesota, which traded out of the first round, has had injury issues at cornerback, so Cook should be helpful. And Tampa Bay's defensive line has been a sieve, which it addressed with the selections of Oklahoma's Gerald McCoy at No. 3 overall and then Price.

Kansas City got a prime kick returner and receiving threat in 5-foot-8, 165-pound Dexter McCluster of Mississippi, and Philadelphia, in need of safety help, took South Florida's Nate Allen. Oregon safety T.J. Ward went to Cleveland, a selection announced by the Browns' greatest player, Jim Brown. The Hall of Famer got the most cheers of the early proceedings - in great part because few if any of the draftees had recognizable names.

College stars such as Colt McCoy, Jimmy Clausen, Taylor Mays and Toby Gerhart were nowhere to be found yet.