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Moss trade upstages Day 2; Ravens pick up Heisman winner

April 29th, 2007 11:39 pm by BARRY WILNER



NEW YORK - Troy Smith is taking his Heisman Trophy to Baltimore. Randy Moss is bringing his sinking reputation to New England.


The second day of the NFL draft hardly was without big names and drama. No, Sunday couldn't match the slide of Brady Quinn and the dealing of three 2008 first-round picks. But it had some juicy angles, including Smith, the Ohio State quarterback, going to the Ravens on the final pick of the fifth round. That's 174 picks overall, the ninth quarterback and seventh Buckeye chosen.


"The wait, that's not a concern for me," Smith said. "The concern was the chance to be a part of an organization which is the ideal fit, playing for a winning team and a winning organization and getting a chance to learn from guys like Steve McNair, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, coach (Brian) Billick and Ozzie Newsome."


Baltimore's seasoned roster of winners is a major reason Newsome grabbed Smith. "I said, ‘Here you are, coming off a big-time career at Ohio State, playing in the national championship game, the Heisman Trophy winner, and you're probably going to be a nobody because we've got some Hall of Famers that are in that locker room.' And you know what? He really relished that opportunity." Meanwhile, the Oakland Raiders dealt Moss to the Patriots on Sunday for a fourth-round pick, No. 110 overall.


"Just really last night me and coach (Bill) Belichick really talked for the first time about what's been going on," Moss said. "He asked me how excited I (would be) if the opportunity would present itself for me to become a Patriot and, really, I was overwhelmed because I didn't expect to hear from Coach Belichick."


It took him two years to become a pariah with the woeful Raiders. Less, actually, because the former All-Pro receiver in Minnesota even admitted he didn't always go all-out as Oakland plummeted to 2-14, the worst record in the league.


Moss, who made five Pro Bowls in seven seasons with Minnesota, had 102 catches for 1,558 yards and 11 touchdowns with the Raiders. But he had career lows last season with 42 catches for 553 yards and three touchdowns.


"We felt this was the best scenario for both the Raiders and Randy," Oakland coach Lane Kiffin said.


So did Moss, who refuted the impression he has a bad reputation in the NFL.


"I have a microscope (on me) and my microscope is very big," he said. "The people that talk about me, as far as my work ethic and my competitive nature and me going out there and playing football, the best thing I can say to you, male or female, all you have to do is line up against me and see what happens."


The Raiders pumped up their offense by taking quarterback JaMarcus Russell of LSU at the top of the draft; tight end Zach Miller of Arizona State in the second round; wide receiver Johnny Lee Higgins of UTEP and tackle Mario Henderson of Florida State in the third; and Louisville running back Michael Bush.


Oakland selected defensive back John Bowie of Cincinnati with the pick for Moss.


New England never has shied from taking on other teams' problem players - perhaps most notably running back Corey Dillon - and has succeeded with them. Now the Patriots have Moss to bolster their receiving corps, and they chose safety Brandon Meriweather of the Miami Hurricanes in the first round. Meriweather played a prominent role in Miami's brawl with Florida International last season and served a one-game suspension.


"He ran over there and made a bad decision. I don't think that's who he is," Belichick said of Meriweather. "I spent time with him (and) a lot of people in that program and I think football's important to him."


Then there was Bush, a likely first-rounder before breaking his leg in Louisville's opener last season. The big, fast running back was the opening pick of the second day after the Raiders had nearly 12 hours to contemplate the selection.


"I was just stunned," Bush said of not going in the first three rounds, probably because he needed a second surgery in March, when a new rod was inserted into his leg after the bone didn't heal quickly enough. "I didn't know what to expect, what to think. My agent and I didn't have anything to go by. I just felt like maybe it wasn't right for me to go on the first day. It was a little disappointing, but everything worked out fine."


There even were some players with character issues who went in the middle rounds, including Florida defensive tackle Marcus Thomas - for whom the Denver Broncos traded their two remaining picks Sunday and a third-rounder in 2008.


"You talk about taking an educated gamble," coach Mike Shanahan. "If they do make a mistake, then you have to release a player and let them go. No one's bigger than the team. We've had players before that have been in this situation, and it's been the best thing that's ever happened. They come into the NFL without a second chance. "Time will tell. I can't tell you 100 percent. If I didn't have a very good gut feeling about the guy he wouldn't be with our organization." Denver also chose Gators defensive end Jarvis Moss in the first round. Moss tested positive for marijuana in the middle of the 2006 season and was suspended for one game.


Other notable selections Sunday were Ohio State RB Antonio Pittman, fourth round to New Orleans; Michigan WR Steve Breaston, fifth round to Arizona; Pittsburgh linebacker H.B. Blades, sixth round to Washington; UTEP quarterback Jordan Palmer, the brother of the Bengals' Carson Palmer, sixth round to Washington; and WR Jordan Kent, who played three sports at Oregon and is the son of Ducks basketball coach Ernie Kent. Jordan Kent went at the end of the sixth round to Seattle.


The final pick of the longest draft ever - 18 hours, 5 minutes - was Alabama defensive back Ramzee Robinson by Detroit.


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