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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:

1972Walt PatulskiNotre DameBuffalo
1973John MatuszakTampaHouston
1974Ed "Too Tall" JonesTennessee StateDallas
1976Lee Roy SelmonOklahomaTampa Bay
1985Bruce SmithVirginia TechBuffalo
2000Courtney BrownPenn StateCleveland
2006Mario WilliamsNorth Carolina StateHouston
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:

2004Dunta RobinsonCBSouth Carolina10
Jason BabinLBWestern Michigan27
2005Travis JohnsonDEFlorida State16
2006Mario WilliamsDENC State1
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:

1952Frank GiffordN.Y. Giants11
1953Al CarmichaelGreen Bay7
1957Jon ArnettLos Angeles2
1968Mike HullChicago16
1969O.J. SimpsonBuffalo1
1973Sam CunninghamNew England11
1977Ricky BellTampa Bay1
1980Charles WhiteCleveland27
1982Marcus AllenOakland10
2006Reggie BushNew Orleans2

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:

1960Jim HoustonCleveland8
1974Rick MiddletonNew Orleans13
Randy GradisharDenver14
1977Bob BrudzinskiLA Rams23
1979Tom CousineauBuffalo1
1995Craig PowellCleveland30
1999Andy KatzenmoyerNew England28
2006A.J. HawkGreen Bay5
Bobby CarpenterDallas18

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:

1948Bobby Layne3Chicago Bears
Paul Campbell22Philadelphia
1984Rich McIvor80St. Louis
2003Chris Simms97Tampa Bay
2006Vince Young3Tennessee
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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