Sunday, April 30, 2006

The ACC's Dirty Dozen

Saturday afternoon, the Atlantic Coast Conference made history by having 12 of its players among the 32 first round selections in the NFL draft. Interestingly, none of the 12 were from Virginia Tech, the league’s only top 10 team last season. However, four ACC players shook hands with commissioner Paul Tagliabue before Matt Leinart or anyone from the SEC did so. While Ohio State claimed top honors for one program with five first rounders, the ACC averaged one first round pick for each of its members. Below are some notes on the chosen 12.

1. Houston Texans: Mario Williams, DE, North Carolina State. Williams has been billed by many as the next version of Julius Peppers. Texans fans preferred this version of Vince Young. Nationally, Williams is known as “Not Reggie Bush.”

4. New York Jets: D’Brickashaw Ferguson, OT, Virginia. His name was based on that of the priest played by Richard Chamberlain in The Thorn Birds. So while Charlie Ward greatly impacted ACC football, so did Rachel Ward.

6. San Francisco 49ers: Vernon Davis, TE, Maryland. Fellow tight end Kellen Winslow was also the sixth overall selection two years ago. 49ers officials will zap Davis with a stun gun if he gets within 30 yards of a motorcycle.

9. Detroit Lions: Ernie Sims, OLB, Florida State. Afterward, Lions president Matt Millen sheepishly admitted that he thought Sims played wide receiver.

13. Cleveland Browns: Kamerion Wimbley, DE, Florida State. Coach Romeo Crennel’s defense will continue to improve. However, the offense couldn’t score on Paris Hilton.

14. Philadelphia Eagles: Brodrick Bunkley, DT, Florida State. Three of the top 14 picks were Seminoles, but FSU was only 8-5 last season. Fortunately, Bunkley’s new teammates don’t want to hear anything about 2005.

15. St. Louis Rams: Tye Hill, CB, Clemson. Hill won the ACC championship in the 60 meter (indoor) and 100 meter (outdoors) sprints. Unfortunately for the Rams, he only runs fast in metric.

19. San Diego Chargers: Antonio Cromartie, CB, Florida State. Due to a knee injury, Cromartie didn’t even play last year. However, San Diego got caught up in the FSU trend and had to have a Seminole of their own.

22. San Francisco 49ers: Manny Lawson, OLB, North Carolina State. Still hoping to keep Lawson on campus, NCSU athletic director Lee Fowler has offered him the basketball coaching job.

26. Buffalo Bills: John McCargo, DT, North Carolina State. For those keeping score on the first round: NC State 3, Texas & USC 2 apiece.

31. Seattle Seahawks: Kelly Jennings, CB, Miami. The Seahawks wanted to take someone else, but it’s now a league rule that a Cane must be chosen in the first round.

32. New York Giants: Mathias Kiwanuka, DE, Boston College. Mathias is proud to be the grandson of the late Benedicto Kiwanuka, a Ugandan prime minister and human rights advocate who hated to see people suffer. Except for quarterbacks.

Surely ACC commissioner John Swofford is swelling with pride over his league’s representation. In contrast, no ACC men’s basketball team advanced to the Elite Eight last month. Reportedly, Swofford shrugged off that disappointment, noting, “What do you expect? We’re a football conference!”