NEW YORK (April 30, 2006) -- The second day of the NFL draft was "slash" day.
As in Michael Robinson, QB/RB; Brad Smith, QB/WR; Marques Hagans, QB/WR/kick returner; Reggie McNeal, QB/WR, and ...
Jeremy Bloom, skier/kick returner/WR.
Such is the way on most Sundays at the draft when teams look for bargains in skill players who are either too small, too slow, or deemed not fit for the NFL at the position at which they starred in college.
Thus it was with Robinson, who was the Big Ten offensive MVP as he quarterbacked Penn State to the league title. He was chosen by San Francisco with the third pick of the fourth round and designated as a running back, one of the positions he played (along with wide receiver) before becoming a full-time QB in his final year in Happy Valley.
Three picks later, the New York Jets took Smith, a quarterback at Missouri who was projected as a wide receiver. Then in the fifth round, Hagans, Virginia's QB, was taken by St. Louis two picks before Bloom, the Olympic moguls skier, went to Philadelphia. Bloom was chosen by the Eagles despite missing two years at Colorado after being ruled ineligible by the NCAA for accepting endorsements for his skiing career.
McNeal went in the sixth round to Cincinnati.
Before the draft, Robinson called it "a misconception" that he wanted to be a QB in the NFL. But Smith made no secret of his desire to stay there.
Who can blame him after his performance in leading Missouri to a 38-31 comeback win over South Carolina in the Independence Bowl? In that game, he passed for 282 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 150 yards and three scores.
He said the right things after the Jets chose him, although he acknowledged: "I'm a quarterback at heart.
"I'm coming as a team player and athlete," he added. "Hopefully I get to play running back or quarterback as well as other positions. ... The Jets have honored me with the selection by picking me and saying I can help the team out."
Smith almost was a Ram. But coach Scott Linehan said he got the impression after talking to Smith that he still wanted to be a QB. So Linehan used a fifth-round pick on Hagans and will have him return kicks.
Bloom also will begin his career returning kicks.
"I went into this thing thinking I would not get drafted and do it through free agency," Bloom said. "I tried to lower the expectation when things were out of my control like they were today. All I can do now is show up in Philadelphia and bring my work ethic and work as hard as I can."
McNeal, the Texas A&M quarterback, was identified as a wide receiver by the Bengals.
As usual, the second day of the draft was also for leftovers -- players who dropped for one reason or another after being expected to go much higher.
Guard Max Jean-Gilles of Georgia and defensive tackle Gabe Watson of Michigan, both once thought of as possible late first-rounders, dropped because of fluctuating weight. Both are listed at around 340 pounds, but have been much higher. Jean-Gilles went to the Eagles with the second pick of the fourth round and Watson went to Arizona eight picks later.
Elvis Dumervil of Louisville, who led the nation in sacks with 20, lasted until the fourth round for the opposite reason. At 5-foot-11 and 258 pounds, he was considered small for a defensive end. He was chosen by Denver with the 29th choice in the fourth round, about a round lower than expected.
"A lot of teams had questions about my height and I didn't work out well at the combine," Dumervil acknowledged. "I'm just happy I dropped to Denver."
Oakland used the fourth pick of the fourth round on Darnell Bing, the Southern Cal safety who also had been projected as a potential first- or second-round pick.
Another fourth-round choice of note was the first kicker to be taken, Stephen Gostkowski, a kicker from Memphis. He went to New England, which lost Adam Vinatieri to Indianapolis in free agency.
Bill Belichick better hope Gostkowski can kick in the snow.