NEW YORK - The first round of the 2013 NFL Draft was a sporting event, but only in the strictest sense of the word.
What unfolded at Radio City Music Hall on Thursday night was mostly pure drama. The first round provided a series of scenes more fit for the movie screen. And on a night during which Kevin Costner and company were filming scenes for their upcoming movie Draft Day, what could have been more fitting?
The movie crews blended in with the hoards of media, and 4,600 fans crammed into the three levels of the historic theater. From the moment Eric Fisher stepped on stage as the No. 1 pick, the intrigue turned into hysteria. While those watching at home began tearing up mock drafts, those in the audience could only look on in disbelief and fill the building with cheers and jeers.
Three offensive tackles, three pass rushers and two guards found their way into the top 10 picks. Despite the lack of skill players, each pick had the crowd hanging on every word. And reacting accordingly.
The Jaguars fans were well represented, cramming roughly 50 people in the upper deck, drowning out every "Let's go Dolphins" chant with a chorus of boos. But the energy quickly left the Jaguars fans, as they directed their jeers at the stage and Luke Joeckel, Jacksonville's first round pick.
Instead, the Dolphins' faithful got the last cheer. Miami made the sexiest and riskiest move of the night, trading up from No. 12 to No. 3 overall, not to draft an offensive lineman, but to bring Oregon linebacker DIon Jordan into the fold. Dolphins fans scattered about the venue and reunited near the doors, hoping to get a glimpse of the newest draft pick.
The media room became the landing spot for a parade of offensive tackles, and the rest of the first round unfolded in organized chaos.
For those players in attendance, getting drafted was a dream come true, but it was also the start of the busiest next few hours many of them will ever experience.
Answer phone, hug family, step on stage and shake the commissioner's hand.
That's where the easy part ends and the media gauntlet begins. First the television interviews, then radio, and even more television. Finally, the prospect can escape backstage, only to be met by the local media. Only when done with all of that does the prospect make his way to the basement of Radio City Music Hall to face a crowded room full of national media.
In total, 19 players in attendance realized their dreams on Thursday night. Others, like Geno Smith, lived a nightmare. But throughout the jubilation of the players and emotional roller coaster that swept the crowd, one prediction came true. We had no idea what the hell was going to happen in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
That was fun.