Georgia's Stafford goes first overall

Updated: April 26, 2009, 10:17 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

NEW YORK -- Matthew Stafford's mission is daunting: Lead the Detroit Lions back from the only 0-16 season in NFL history. Mark Sanchez has nearly as big a challenge: He'll compete to replace Brett Favre.

The Lions found the centerpiece for one of the biggest rebuilding jobs in league history by taking Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford with the top overall selection Saturday. Detroit already had signed the 21-year-old Stafford to a six-year deal with $41.7 million in guarantees and a maximum value of $78 million.

Stafford, who left school a year early, is not expected to start immediately as a rookie.

"I'm a competitive guy," Stafford said. "I'm going to try to get ready as quick as I can.

"I put a lot of pressure on myself to be great anyway."

Then the New York Jets rocked Radio City Music Hall by trading with Cleveland -- and of all people, Eric Mangini, whom they fired as coach in January -- for the fifth overall spot. The Jets took the other premier quarterback in the draft, Sanchez of Southern California.

"I learned how to compete and deal with pressure at 'SC and in a large media market in Los Angeles," Sanchez said of stepping in for the retired Favre, "and things are only going to get bigger and better. It's a very exciting time, a special time in my life, so I'm excited to get things going."

Oddly, both drew plenty of boos and chants of "OVERRATED" to go with the many cheers.

The Lions, whose poor draft history this decade under Matt Millen eventually led to the winless season, have veteran Daunte Culpepper as the projected starter this year under new coach Jim Schwartz. That should give the 21-year-old Stafford a chance to watch and learn.

Introducing Stafford

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Coach Jim Schwartz introduces the Lions first day draft picks, and Matthew Stafford talks about competing.

"Now, it's up to us to develop him and get good players around him," Detroit general manager Martin Mayhew said.

The Lions drafted tight end Brandon Pettigrew of Oklahoma State with the 20th pick overall, which they acquired from Dallas in the trade that sent wide receiver Roy Williams to the Cowboys.

Nine of the last 12 top overall picks have been quarterbacks.

The massive trade saw Cleveland send its pick to New York, prompting wild cheering in the arena. When the Jets chose Sanchez, the fans had equally vociferous positive and negative reactions.

Sanchez started for just one season at USC, leading the Trojans to a 12-1 record and a Rose Bowl victory. He had six career starts in college, and will now compete for the job of replacing Brett Favre as the Jets' QB.

"With Mark, I think he's a special guy," Jets coach Rex Ryan said.

New York sent the No. 17 and No. 52 overall choices, plus defensive end Kenyon Coleman, safety Abram Elam and quarterback Brett Ratliff, to Cleveland.

The Browns pulled off two more trades to keep moving down in the opening round and adding later-round picks. At No. 21, the Browns finally stopped dealing and took center Alex Mack of California. Mack could immediately replace starter Hank Fraley, a nine-year veteran who struggled last season on Cleveland's 31st-ranked offense, a unit which didn't score a touchdown in its final six games.

Before that, Baylor offensive tackle Jason Smith was the second pick, by the St. Louis Rams. The 6-foot-4, 306-pound former tight end should be used to playing for a weak team: Baylor was 18-31 in his four years there.

Kansas City, like St. Louis, used nearly all 10 of its minutes seeking a trade before selecting LSU defensive end Tyson Jackson. He will join college teammate Glenn Dorsey on the Chiefs' defensive line.

Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry, who had spoken with Detroit about being the top overall pick, landed in Seattle at No. 4. Curry is considered capable of playing inside or outside in the pros.

Cincinnati went for Alabama tackle Andre Smith, the first AP All-American selected, at No. 6. Smith had some issues that included leaving the NFL combine early without notifying anyone, but the Bengals were unswayed.

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The Jets make an aggressive trade with the Browns to draft USC QB Mark Sanchez.

Another tackle, Virginia's Eugene Monroe, went eighth overall to Jacksonville, one spot after Oakland -- no surprise here -- was seduced by the speed of Maryland's Darrius Heyward-Bey. The Raiders grabbed the player who had the fast 40-yard time in workouts, even though many projected him to go far later.

Boston College defensive tackle B.J. Raji to Green Bay and Texas Tech's Michael Crabtree, the highest-rated receiver before the draft, to San Francisco, rounded out the top 10.

Crabtree said he still felt he was the top receiver. He was asked about chasing the 49ers' receiving records held by one Jerry Rice. He smiled and said: "I got some big shoes to fill when I go to the 49ers, you know, with Jerry Rice. I am looking forward to that. I love challenges."

Not even Stafford nor Sanchez face that big a challenge.

With their first selection in the first round at No. 11, the Buffalo Bills selected Aaron Maybin, a first-team All-Big Ten defensive end out of Penn State. Buffalo took Louisville center Eric Wood with the No. 28 overall pick. Wood had 49 consecutive starts while with the Cardinals.

2009 Draft: 49ers No. 10 Pick

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San Francisco draft the talented WR Michael Crabtree out of Texas Tech.

At No. 12, the Denver Broncos selected Knowshon Moreno from Georgia, a second-team All-America player who rushed for 1,400 yards last season to lead the SEC. Denver returned with another pick at No. 18, scooping up defensive end Robert Ayers out of Tennessee. He had 15½ tackles for loss in 2008, third-best in the SEC.

The Washington Redskins selected Brian Orakpo, a defensive end from Texas, with the 13th pick. Orakpo was the 2008 Big 12 defensive player of the year.

Malcolm Jenkins of Ohio State, the 2008 Jim Thorpe Award winner as the top defensive back in the country, was selected at No. 14 by the New Orleans Saints.

At No. 15, the Houston Texans selected Brian Cushing, an outside linebacker from USC. He was a second-team All-America pick in 2008.

2009 Draft: Texans No. 15 pick

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The Texans select Brian Cushing with the No. 15 pick in the 2009 Draft.

The San Diego Chargers selected Larry English, an outside linebacker from Northern Illinois with the No. 16 pick. He was the 2008 MAC defensive player of the year.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers traded the No. 19 pick and their sixth-round pick to Cleveland to move up to No. 17 and snag quarterback Josh Freeman out of Kansas State. He had 20 touchdown passes last year, fourth most in school history.

The Browns made another trade, this time sending the No. 19 overall pick to Philadelphia, letting the Eagles choose Missouri receiver Jeremy Maclin. Maclin had 1,260 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns in 2008. In exchange, the Browns moved down to No. 21 and also picked up another sixth-round pick.

Later in the evening, the Eagles kept Pittsburgh running back LeSean McCoy in-state, picking him up with the 21st pick of the second round (No. 53 overall).

2009 Draft: Eagles No. 19 pick

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The Philadelphia Eagles drafted WR Jeremy Maclin with the 19th pick in the 2009 draft.

At No. 22, the Minnesota Vikings snagged receiver Percy Harvin out of Florida. Harvin was a two-time All-SEC selection (first team in 2008) and had 1,929 career receiving yards.

The Baltimore Ravens traded with New England to move up to No. 23 and selected Michael Oher, an offensive tackle out of Mississippi. Oher was a three-time All-SEC selection, and he made the first team his last two years in school.

Atlanta grabbed Mississippi defensive tackle Peria Jerry with the 24th overall selection.

At No. 25, Miami selected Vontae Davis, a defensive back out of Illinois. He was a third-team All-America pick last season and was a two-time first-team All-Big Ten selection (2007, '08).

The Green Bay Packers traded with New England to move up to No. 26 overall. They used that pick to draft USC linebacker Clay Matthews, a second-team All-Pac-10 selection last season. The Patriots also gave up their fifth-round pick to Green Bay, which traded a second-round pick and two third-round picks.

2009 Draft: Colts No. 27 pick

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The Colts select Connecticut RB Donald Brown with the No. 27 pick in the 2009 draft.

Donald Brown, the 2008 Big East offensive player of the year at Connecticut, was drafted at No. 27 by the Indianapolis Colts. He led the NCAA with 2,083 rushing yards last year and finished with 3,800 rushing yards for his career. He's the first UConn player drafted in the first round.

The New York Giants selected North Carolina receiver Hakeem Nicks with the No. 29 pick, taking a player who broke 14 school records over three seasons.

At No. 30, the Tennessee Titans selected receiver Kenny Britt out of Rutgers. Britt is the first Rutgers player to be drafted in the first round.

Arizona selected Chris "Beanie" Wells out of Ohio State at No. 31, giving the Cardinals more flexibility at running back. The Cards are expected to release Edgerrin James early next week.

The defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers wrapped up the first round by selecting Evander "Ziggy" Hood, a defensive tackle out of Missouri. Hood had a 33" vertical jump at the combine.

In the first round, 19 offensive players and 13 on defense went, and 15 underclassmen were chosen. Eight players from the Southeastern Conference were selected. Southern California had three Trojans picked, the most of any school.

NFL Draft Vignette: Brian Robiske

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The Browns select Ohio State WR Brian Robiskie in the 2nd round.

It didn't take long for some big names to show up in the second round, with Ohio State teammates James Laurinaitis (ILB, No. 35 overall to St. Louis) and Brian Robiskie (WR, No. 36 overall to Cleveland) drafted with the third and fourth picks.

The third of USC's linebackers, Rey Maualuga, was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals with the sixth pick of the second round, No. 38 overall. Maualuga had been projected by ESPN's Mel Kiper, Jr. and Todd McShay to be drafted in the mid-to-late first round.

West Virginia's highly productive quarterback, Pat White, who some teams look at as a wide receiver in the pros, was chosen by Miami, where he could fit nicely in its Wildcat formation. He is the only starting QB in NCAA history to win four bowl games.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.