The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

April 25, 2013

Three 'Bama players selected in NFL Draft first round

No. 9 pick Milliner headed to Jets

NEW YORK — Short on glam, slim on glitter and no sign of Manti Te'o, the NFL draft was still a solid B-plus.

As in Big, as in Brawn, as in Bulk, as in Beefy.

We're talking a scale-busting 600 pounds at the outset Thursday night with offensive tackles Eric Fisher of Central Michigan and Luke Joeckel of Texas A&M.

The first seven picks were all linemen: four on offense, three on defense.

"That's a lot of love for the big boys up front, which we usually don't get," Fisher said.

None of the teams making the first 32 selections went for Te'o, not even Minnesota, which had three first-round picks. The All-America linebacker's poor performance in Notre Dame's loss to Alabama in the national championship game certainly was a factor. Still to be determined is how much the fake girlfriend hoax cost him.

Unlike the last few years when bumper crops of quarterbacks reigned, this was pure muscle, and lots of it.

Actually, not a single QB was selected until Florida State's EJ Manuel went to Buffalo at No. 16 — the lowest since 2000, when Chad Pennington went 18th to the Jets.

Fisher became the first Mid-American Conference player selected at the top when Kansas City's new regime led by coach Andy Reid chose the 6-foot-7, 306-pound offensive tackle.

"This is so surreal," Fisher said. "I'm ready to get to work right now. I'm ready to start playing some football. I can't process what's going on right now."

Fisher was followed by All-American Joeckel going to Jacksonville, defensive end Dion Jordan of Oregon to Miami, which traded up with Oakland, and Oklahoma tackle Lane Johnson to Philadelphia. Not a skill position player yet in sight — a stark change from the last four drafts, when quarterbacks went first.

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