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2006 Draft Day notes

The first round of the 2006 NFL Draft will get most of the attention, but the teams in Super Bowl XL prove the value of all seven rounds over the two days of drafting.

NEW YORK (April 29, 2006) -- The first round of the 2006 NFL Draft will get most of the attention, but the teams in Super Bowl XL prove the value of all seven rounds over the two days of drafting.

Of the 44 starters for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks on offense and defense in SB XL, more than half (25) were third-round selections or below, or college free agents. The MVP of the game, Steelers WR Hines Ward, was a third-round choice (No. 92 overall in 1998).

"Not that you can't acquire players in free agency and do other things," winning Steelers head coach Bill Cowher said, "but the foundation of your club is the draft."


The selection of North Carolina State defensive end Mario Williams with the No. 1 overall choice by the Houston Texans breaks a streak of five consecutive quarterbacks taken with the top selection in the draft, and a string of seven QBs taken No. 1 in the past eight drafts. The lone exception in that span was a defensive end -- Courtney Brown by Cleveland in 2000.

It was the first time North Carolina State has had a player selected No. 1 overall in an NFL Draft. In 1962, N.C. State quarterback Roman Gabriel was taken No. 1 in the AFL Draft by Oakland. He was picked second overall by the Los Angeles Rams in the NFL draft that year.

Williams becomes the seventh defensive end in history to be selected No. 1 in the draft. Three DEs in a row were taken No. 1 from 1972-74, and four in five years from 1972-76. The all-time NFL DE breakdown:

1972 Walt Patulski Notre Dame Buffalo
1973 John Matuszak Tampa Houston
1974 Ed "Too Tall" Jones Tennessee State Dallas
1976 Lee Roy Selmon Oklahoma Tampa Bay
1985 Bruce Smith Virginia Tech Buffalo
2000 Courtney Brown Penn State Cleveland
2006 Mario Williams North Carolina State Houston
With the selection of Williams, the Texans continue their trend of choosing defensive players with their first-round picks. The club has gone for defense with their past four first-round selections:

2004 Dunta Robinson CB South Carolina 10
Jason Babin LB Western Michigan 27
2005 Travis Johnson DE Florida State 16
2006 Mario Williams DE NC State 1
Williams has a unique perspective on his position. It's a do-it-yourself job, he says. "The running backs, you'll have two or three come out every year that are phenomenal players," he told the New York Times this week. "They need their offensive line, they need somebody who can block. Pass rushing, I do that myself."

It was a stellar Round 1 for N.C. State. For the first time in its history, the school had more than one player chosen in the first round. It had, in fact, three players taken in the round -- all from the defensive line:

  • Mario Williams (DE), No. 1, Houston
  • Manny Lawson (DE), No. 22, San Francisco
  • John McCargo (DT), No. 26, Buffalo
    The selection of Mario Williams with the first pick in the draft upped the all-time total of defensive linemen chosen first to 13, third most for a position in history. The breakdown of No. 1 overall selections by position:
  • Quarterbacks (26)
  • Running Backs (23)
  • Defensive Linemen (13)
  • Wide Receivers (6)
  • Offensive Linemen (5)
  • Linebackers (3)
  • Defensive Backs (1)

TOTAL (77)
* Includes six AFL choices
USC's Reggie Bush, chosen second overall by New Orleans, became the 10th Trojans running back to be taken in the first round. Southern California first-round RBs:

1952 Frank Gifford N.Y. Giants 11
1953 Al Carmichael Green Bay 7
1957 Jon Arnett Los Angeles 2
1968 Mike Hull Chicago 16
1969 O.J. Simpson Buffalo 1
1973 Sam Cunningham New England 11
1977 Ricky Bell Tampa Bay 1
1980 Charles White Cleveland 27
1982 Marcus Allen Oakland 10
2006 Reggie Bush New Orleans 2

For the second time in its history, Ohio State had two linebackers -- A.J. Hawk and Bobby Carpenter -- taken in the first round, matching 1974. Buckeyes first-round linebackers:

1960 Jim Houston Cleveland 8
1974 Rick Middleton New Orleans 13
Randy Gradishar Denver 14
1977 Bob Brudzinski LA Rams 23
1979 Tom Cousineau Buffalo 1
1995 Craig Powell Cleveland 30
1999 Andy Katzenmoyer New England 28
2006 A.J. Hawk Green Bay 5
Bobby Carpenter Dallas 18

VINCE IN RARE LONGHORN TERRITORYTexas quarterback Vince Young tied a Longhorns Pro Football of Famer when he was picked No. 3 overall by Tennessee.

Former Texas great Bobby Layne was selected at that spot by the Chicago Bears in 1948, the highest-picked Longhorns QB until Young matched that. Young became only the fifth Texas quarterback to be chosen in the NFL draft:

1948 Bobby Layne 3 Chicago Bears
Paul Campbell 22 Philadelphia
1984 Rich McIvor 80 St. Louis
2003 Chris Simms 97 Tampa Bay
2006 Vince Young 3 Tennessee
The selection of Vanderbilt quarterback Jay Cutler by Denver with the 11th choice in the first round marked several Commodores milestones. Cutler became ...

  • The first Vanderbilt player taken in the first round since T Will Wilford by Buffalo in 1986 (No. 20 overall).
  • The highest Vanderbilt player taken since DB Leonard Coleman was chosen with the eighth pick in 1984 by Indianapolis.
  • The highest-selected Vandy quarterback since Bill Wade was picked with the No. 1 overall choice in 1952 by Los Angeles.
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