Patriots, Raiders selects quarterbacks; Panthers take two
The only two quarterbacks chosen on the second day of the NFL draft Friday have a lot to emulate.
Derek Carr's guiding light has been older brother David, the top overall pick in the 2002 draft. Jimmy Garoppolo's favorite player has been Tom Brady, the 199th selection in 2000.
The problem for Carr, taken fourth in the second round by Oakland, is that David was only mediocre as a pro. The issue for Garoppolo, chosen 62nd overall by New England, is, well, can anyone really live up to Brady's career?
"I learned everything that he did right and everything that he did wrong," Derek Carr said of David, 11 years his elder. "He told me that if he could do anything, he hopes he made the path smoother for me as I transition into the NFL."
The two were among dozens of picks made Friday as the NFL draft wrapped up Rounds 2 and 3 at Radio City Music Hall. The first day shattered all-time television viewership records and fed a roaring crowd, but the second day was more subdued.
Carr's older brother, David, was the first player ever taken by the Houston Texans. Derek, who also went to Fresno State and, like his elder brother enters the league with a wife and child, went 36th overall.
In other picks Friday:
— The Texans selected UCLA guard Xavier Su'a-Filo, who joins the first overall pick, defensive disrupter Jadeveon Clowney of South Carolina, in Houston. The two of them can have fun colliding against each other in minicamps and training camp. The 6-foot-4, 307-pound Su'a-Filo, who went on a Mormon mission while in college, also has played tackle.
— The Cowboys took Boise State defensive end Demarcus Lawrence, who they hope will emulate their departed sacks leader with the same first name, DeMarcus Ware, now with Denver. "I'm my own Demarcus," Lawrence said. "I don't like to try to be nobody else. I'm going to be me, and I'm going to do it well."
— Cleveland, more active than any team in the first round, added a protector for Johnny Manziel by grabbing guard Joel Bitonio of Nevada, who also can play tackle or center. The Browns caused the biggest stir on opening night when they traded up to No. 22 to get Johnny Football. Cleveland did not choose any receivers even though Josh Gordon is reportedly facing suspension by the NFL for violating the league's drug policy again. Gordon was suspended for the first two games of 2013, but still led the league with 1,646 yards receiving in 14 games.
— After Washington selected Virginia tackle Morgan Moses, who was on hand at the draft, with the 66th pick, Moses joked: "I thought my phone was broken." Several mock drafts had Moses going in the first round.
— It took 54 selections, a draft record, for a running back to go. Bishop Sankey of Washington was chosen by the Titans, who cut Chris Johnson this spring. Two more went in the next three selections: Jeremy Hill of LSU to Cincinnati, and Carlos Hyde of Ohio State to San Francisco. Heisman Trophy finalist Tre Mason went 75th overall to St. Louis.
— A total of 39 early entrants have been selected so far, 25 on Friday. Altogether, there were a record 102 early entrants this year. College powerhouses Oklahoma, Texas and Georgia did not have anyone chosen in the first three rounds.
Panthers take Ealy, Turner on Day 2
CHARLOTTE (AP) — The Carolina Panthers went for the best player available rather than need on the second day of the NFL draft.
The Panthers ignored more pressing needs at wide receiver and offensive tackle, instead selecting defensive end Kony Ealy from Missouri in the second round and guard Trai Turner in the third round.
The 6-foot-4, 273-pound Ealy started 25 games and had 14 sacks during his three seasons at Missouri. As a senior he had 43 tackles and 9.5 sacks.
The Panthers led the NFL with 60 sacks last season and have two established starting defensive ends in Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy, the team's designated franchise player.
That didn't matter to general manager Dave Gettleman.
Gettleman said before the draft if there was a "blue goose pass rusher" on the board he wouldn't hesitate to draft him.
The move is a bit of a surprise considering the Panthers had bigger needs at offensive tackle and cornerback in the second round.
Ealy is considered a multi-talented defensive end with a reputation for being an effective pass rusher and playing stout against the run at the point of attack.
He also has enough speed to drop into coverage if needed.
A teammate of Michael Sam, Ealy became a full-time starter in 2012 and went on to earn All-Southeastern Conference first-team honors this past season. Ealy finished 2013 strong, registering six tackles, two sacks and one pass deflection against Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl.
The Panthers have some young depth on the roster in Wes Horton and Mario Addison. However, another backup Frank Alexander was suspended by the NFL for the first four games of this season for violating the substance abuse policy.
Ealy said he wasn't disappointed that he's coming to a team with two established defensive ends. In fact, quite the opposite, saying it will give him a chance to learn the tricks of the trade.
"I'm not disappointed at all, because if they feel like they need me to play in the middle or come in and back somebody up that's fine," Ealy said.
Ealy played defensive end in Missouri's base defense, but moved inside on third down situations. He expects to do the same in Carolina.
Ealy said he's been working with former Atlanta Falcons and Panthers defensive end Chuck Smith this offseason to improve his footwork and his explosiveness off the line of scrimmage.
"I try to utilize my speed, my strength and my power," Ealy said.
At some point Ealy could be a potential long-term replacement for Johnson or Hardy, two high-priced players who'll count more than $29 million under this year's salary cap.
Hardy is only under contract for this season at the franchise tag rate of $13.116 million.
Johnson signed a six-year $72 million contract in 2011 — the richest ever handed out to a Carolina player — and is due to cost $17.42 million under the salary cap next season. If the Panthers were to release Johnson next year the team would save about half of that money under the cap.
The 6-3, 310-pound Turner started 20 games for LSU, including 13 last season. He had 115 career knockdowns before deciding to leave school a year early.
An NFL.com analysis said Turner plays with good overall body mass and walls off defenders and generates movement in the run game.
"I'm physical and able to overpower defensive tackles and also able to finesse and get up to the second level of the defense," Turner said.
The Panthers are hoping Turner provides some stability at guard.
Carolina lost four guards to season-ending injuries last season — Amini Silatolu, Garry Williams, Jeff Byers and 2013 fourth-round draft pick Edmund Kugbila. Complicating matters, veterans Geoff Hangartner and Byers retired this offseason and free agent Travelle Wharton isn't expected to re-sign.