Locker, Smith, Jordan All Selected In First Round Of NFL Draft
By Brian Price
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Tyron Smith, out of USC, was selected by the Dallas Cowboys with the ninth overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft. Smith, considered the best offensive lineman available, becomes the first OT that Jerry Jones has ever selected in the first round.
"It's all a dream come true," said the six-foot-five, 307-pound former Trojan. "Whether it's at right tackle or left tackle, I'm ready to step in. I'm honored to be a Cowboy and help protect Tony Romo."
Smith, playing behind the great Charles Smith for much of his time at USC, played at right tackle, although his natural position is on the left, protecting the blindside.
On either side, scouts have noted Smith's ability to move his man over to the center of the line and then pick up an additional blitzing defender. His combination of size and speed essentially enables him to account for two defensive players in the same rush.
Whatever position he ends up playing, Smith is eager to contribute immediately.
"I want to start, and by doing so, confirm that Mr. Jones made the right decision by putting his faith in me," said the Moreno Valley native.
At USC, Smith was a two-year starter, and as a junior, was awarded the Pac-10 Conference's Morris Trophy as the league's top offensive lineman. He was also the only Pac-10 lineman to log 100 knockdowns in 2010.
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Cameron Jordan, the son of former NFL great Steve Jordan, appreciates following in the family business and coming full circle being selected by the New Orleans Saints with the 24th overall pick.
"I remember as a four-year-old going with my father to the stadium, running around, and knocking into [tackling dummies]," he said. "It was like a playground for me and now it's my profession and it's all been such a blessing."
Jordan's father had a tremendously successful career with the Vikings in which he was selected to six Pro-bowls.
"My father has such a tremendous knowledge of the game," said Cameron. "From always making sure I was on track at Cal to giving me advice during the NFL lockout, he's always been there for me."
Jordan also thrived within his Golden Bear family. In his four years at Cal, Jordan compiled 16.5 sacks, 34 tackles for loss, and 11 QB pressures and started 33 of 50 games as both a right and left defensive end.
In what many experts considered a defensive-end dominated NFL Draft, Jordan was honored to be among the top selections.
"It's a testament to how much talent that there was available," he said. "I'm thrilled New Orleans has put their faith in me, and now I'm ready to join some amazing athletes up front as part of a 3-4 defense in the Big Easy."
Jake Locker became the highest Washington quarterback to ever be selected in the NFL draft. Taken by the Tennessee Titans with the 8th overall pick, Locker caps off a notable career in the Pac-10 where, as a senior, he was an All-Pac-10 honorable mention selection, started all 12 games and ranked 65th nationally averaging over 188 passing yards per game.
In his junior season, Locker established himself as a lethal combination QB, an accurate passer and a mobile runner. His 2009 numbers ranked 11th in school history with 112 carries by a QB and 8th with a passer rating of 129.75.
Locker's selection rounded out a record first round in which four quarterbacks were selected within the first 12 picks of the NFL draft. The others were Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton to the Panthers at No. 1, Blaine Gabbert to the Jaguars at No. 10 and Christian Ponder to the Vikings at No. 12.
Locker chose to watch the Draft with his family back in Ferndale, Wash., rather than making the trip to New York City.
The second and third rounds of the NFL draft continue tonight at Radio City Music Hall in New York City starting at 3:00 p.m. PT.
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