The best moment of the draft last night was not the tension, not knowing which quarterback Cleveland would take with the first selection (Spoiler: It was Baker Mayfield). It was neither the Bills nor the Cardinals who designed a quarterback, and it was not the endless boos Commissioner Roger Goodell received, though he was on stage accompanied by three cowboys legends. The best moment came just before the 28th draft of the draft.
"We are honored to have an extraordinary man with us who continues to amaze us with his unwavering determination and unwavering spirit," Goodell announced while Pittsburgh was on the clock.
Ryan Shazier held the hand of his fiancé firmly in the hand of the commissioner and slowly but purposefully walked to the podium. He slightly wrinkled with the struggle of each step, but stared straight ahead with unmistakable determination. Shazier's glittering silver blazer shifted focus away from his unstable legs, and as he neared the podium, he allowed himself a small smile as he shook hands with Goodell. Just four months after a severe spinal injury that required spinal stabilization surgery and landed him in a wheelchair, Shazier stood proud on the podium and announced the Steelers pick: Safety Terrell Edmunds.
The crowd in Dallas cheered loudly for this inspirational and emotional moment. For anyone who saw Shazier's hit on Monday Night Football where he had contact with a Bengals player and then fell to the ground with his deep frozen and lifeless body, the idea that he would ever leave again seemed unlikely. Although he was insecure and needed support to cross the stage in Dallas, he really did, he left. Since his injury, Shazier has insisted he play football again. Without knowing the exact details of his injury, it seemed ambitious that one day he could return to the field. But Shazier's appearance on the draft showed that he has made significant progress in a short space of time so that a return to the NFL may be possible. In Edmunds & # 39; media talk, number 28 said, "I felt it was the moment of the design, honest."
Shazier is an incredible result for a tragic injury that could have been so much worse. But what was this moment for Pittsburgh's design? As Edmunds watched as Shazier hobbled onto the podium and announced him as the Steelers first year, he wondered if that could be his future? That he could face a similar injury?
After Shazier gave his name, Edmunds was given his new Steelers jersey to pose for a photo with the Goodell and the Steelers veteran. Goodell grabbed Shazier's hand to keep him in the picture, but the 25-year-old Steelers linebacker had other plans. He shook off the commissioner's support and confidently grabbed the other side of Edmund's shirt and smiled with his latest teammate for the cameras.
And now for some random train of thought:
• Flanked by Roger Staubach, Troy Aikman and Jason Witten, Goodell was still heavily boasted for the length of his introductory remarks. The boos were so loud that Goodell could barely be heard screaming. The positive image protection of two Hall-of-Famers and a future Hall-of-Famer was not enough to protect Goodell from the wrath of cowboys and NFL fans.
• Suzy Kolber of ESPN had a clever idea Red Carpet interview with QB Josh Allen, straight into the topic of Allen's racially insensitive tweets that surfaced on the eve of the draft. Allen's tweets had no major impact on his design, but Kolber asked the question about the lasting effect of the n-word in a tweet. How does he intend to address the racially insensitive tweets with his future team members, many of whom will be black?
• When Cleveland stood on the clock, ESPN showed a fun graphic that showed all 28 quarterbacks in Cleveland since 1
• It has been a long time since we did not know who would be the first choice in the design. Normally, the first choice is well known, but last night Cleveland GM John Dorsey held all the cards and we had some real tension. The first choice every year should be a closely guarded secret.
• The official draft could not be worse. What happened to the simple hat, with nothing other than the team logo on it? This year, the hats that attracted players to their draft were ruined by really lame team mottos, some just before a sentence with the letters squeezed together to fit. The cardinal's hat said: "RACE ON RED SEA". The bills read: "BILLIEVE", and of course the patriot hat "DO YOUR JOB".
• I would like to spend draft night with Mike Glennon. The Cardinals quarterback was now unpleasantly surprised when his team designed a rookie quarterback for two consecutive years. Last year, Glennon was the alleged starter Chicago when the Bears shocked everyone by honoring Mitchell Trubisky with the No. 2. And this year he is a supporter behind Sam Bradford in Arizona, but is likely to land lower in the depth chart now. And by the way, the same Glennon happened in 2015, when Tampa designed Jameis Winston, but at least he saw that one came.
NOW IN MMQB: Jenny Vrentas points to evidence that Baker Mayfield was Cleveland's preferred QB. Now he just has to turn around the NFL's saddest franchise … Andy Benoit issues grades for each team's first draft election …
WHAT YOU MIGHT MISS: A victim of Jerry Richardson's workplace misconduct Turns to those who blame her and gives SI some handwritten notes that she thinks of Richardson … Albert Breer Details The purchase of the Jaguar-owned wagon from Shaghid Khan. Is he setting the stage for the move to London?
1. The night before the draft, Buffalo's new quarterback Josh Allen became the newest athlete to be outed for a series of racist and offensive tweets from his past. Yahoo Sports collected the – since deleted – tweets that tweeted Allen in high school. Allen called ESPN's Stephen A. Smith at 2am on a draft morning to apologize for the tweets and said he was "young and stupid".
2. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported on a sinister theory about the date of publication of Allen's tweets. Could it have been a strategic move by a team in the hope that Allen would drop them in the draft of the order?
3 . Prospectus Zack Golditch survived the Aurora shooting. USA TODAY Lindsay Jones on how Golditch relied on football to get through adversity. He hopes to be a late choice.
4. Our Andy Benoit drew attention to the strange self-righteous ritual of the team personnel standing and applauding, who had just made them all in the war room. This shot is always so embarrassing. Much forced smile and nervous gum chewing.
5. What we did not miss in yesterday's ESPN Draft broadcast was Jon Gruden's really bad draft. Kirk Herbstreit replaced Gruden on the ESPN transmission, now that Gruden is training the Raiders again. SB Nation completed some of Gruden's best footage
6 . Ken Belson and Mark Leibovich of The New York Times received a sound recording of the meeting between players, owners, and league leaders to discuss the protests of the national anthem last October. "The unvarnished conversation shows how the leaders of the country's most dominant sports league and some of their most outspoken players faced an unprecedented moment – mostly by talking past each other." Do you have a story Do you think we should include in tomorrow's press coverage? Let us know here.
Peter King has released one of 32 pickaxes (the Giants No. 2 select Saquon Barkley) in his mockery draft on Monday. Albert Breer has hit three picks in his latest mock-draft (Giants-Barkley, Jets-Darnold and Chargers-Derwin James). It is impossible to predict all trades, but that makes the design so funny.