in Creve Coeur was abuzz with draft fever Thursday night, as fans, former NFL players and the media gathered for a Watch Party as the NFL Draft started to unfold. was also broadcasting live on location, just a few blocks from the station's home in Creve Coeur.
It was a welcome return to actual football discussion, as the league copes with a labor dispute which could end up in a St. Louis federal courtroom. For Eric Yoder, a Cleveland Browns fan from Hazelwood who was there wearing a team jersey, and was hoping his team would select LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson, the dispute is hard to fathom. "The average fan never dreams of making that kind of money," Yoder said of NFL players, who are locked in a multi-billion dollar battle with owners over how to divvy up what many see as the golden goose of pro sports.
But at least on this night, the talk was how everyone's team could improve, who they would take. Suspense built early, as Missouri fans wondered where Blaine Gabbert and Aldon Smith might end up. In a mild surprise, Smith went before Gabbert, 7th overall to San Francisco, while Jacksonville grabbed Gabbert at number 10. The closest thing to sadness came when Atlanta moved up to snag Julio Jones, the Alabama wide receiver once seen as a possible Rams target.
As St. Louis went on the clock to make the selection at number 14, many of the assembled fans were grasping at straws, with no idea whose name might yet be called. When North Carolina Defensive End Robert Quinn was announced, there was sustained applause, if not ouright giddiness over the pick. Quinn, suspended over NCAA violations, did not play last season, and was treated for a brain tumor in high school.
Still, armchair analysts and one who gets paid to do it called it a good pick.
"I have no problem with Robert Quinn. Like everyone else here I wanted Julio Jones, but I always said before the draft, if they took a linebacker or a defensive end, I would be happy," said Donn Johnson, from Wildwood.
D'Marco Farr, a Super Bowl lineman for the Rams and now part of the radio broadcasts for the team, agreed. "The one thing you like is his pass rush ability. That's what the Rams covet. That's what Steve Spagnuolo covets. You can never have enough edge rushers. He's got another one which will free up James Hall to roam." Farr says the move to take Quinn sets up another important decision in round two on Friday. The team still needs impact help at linebacker or wide receiver, and may have to be address one of them through free agency based on Friday's decision.
Speaking of coveting players, Eric Yoder's Browns didn't pick up the player he wanted--Patrick Peterson ended up going to the Arizona Cardinals--but Yoder's night was far from a total loss. He picked up a Rams helmet autographed by Isaac Bruce in a raffle. The admitted Browns fan will have to make room for his first piece of Rams gear.