The National Football League's draft is the day where every fan can be excited about the future of their favorite team, as they watch with anticipation for who will be selected to be anything from the franchise's savior to the final piece in a championship puzzle. The annual event has become such a huge happening that it has even inspired its own hit movie, Draft Day, starring Kevin Costner and Jennifer Garner.
The Dallas Cowboys hosted their annual draft day extravaganza Thursday during the first round at AT&T Stadium. In past years, the party has been held outside on one of the stadium's plazas, but this year's party was on the field. With the heavy rain that hit DFW on Thursday, the thousands of fans on hand were inside the stadium and out of the elements.
Since the Cowboys were in the NFC playoff race until the final minutes of last season, by virtue of their record, they had the 16th selection in the first round. Doors opened at 4 p.m. and the draft was set to get under way with the Houston Texans' first pick at 7 p.m. There was a plethora of entertainment options ranging from live music and the Kid's Zone to the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and the final auditions of the Dallas Cowboys Rhythm & Blue Dancers.
Legendary Cowboys broadcaster Brad Sham took the stage a few times and went live to Valley Ranch to speak with team executives and head coach Jason Garrett, and there were also a few live look-ins on the Cowboys "War Room."
Former and current Cowboys players were also at the stadium to sign autographs and speak to the crowd. The players I saw included Dez Bryant, Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, Terrance Williams, Dan Bailey, Sean Lee, Brandon Weeden, Drew Pearson, Daryl "Moose" Johnston, Jay Novacek and Charles Haley.
When the Texans chose Jadeveon Clowney with the first pick of the draft, talk began about the Cowboys selecting Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. The 2012 Heisman Trophy winner known as Johnny Football continued to slide in the first round as pick-by-pick, he was passed over and re-branded Johnny Free-Fall. When the Cowboys were finally on the clock, the electricity inside the stadium felt like that of a game. Plenty of fans were hoping Manziel would become a Cowboy, while others were dreading his imminent arrival with talk of impending doom.
As the NFL Network simulcast on the huge video board above the field showed NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell arrive at the podium, the mood in the stadium was near a fever pitch. With the 16th pick, he announced, "the Dallas Cowboys select Zack Martin." While many of the fans disagreed on whether Manziel should be a Cowboy, they were all surprised Dallas did the safe thing by not selecting Johnny Football.
Martin, the OT from Notre Dame, joins a young offensive line that includes first-round picks Smith and Frederick as the men in charge of protecting quarterback Tony Romo, and opening holes for running back DeMarco Murray.
The draft continued through the weekend with the Cowboys also selecting DE DeMarcus Lawrence (Rd 2, 34), LB Anthony Hitchens (Rd 4, 119) and WR Devin Street (Rd. 5, 146). For full coverage of the Cowboys draft visit here.
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