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Georgia's Matthew Stafford Top Pick of NFL Draft, Signs $78 Million Deal With Detroit Lions

The Detroit Lions removed much of the drama from the first round of the NFL draft. The New York Jets restored it right away.

The Lions found the centerpiece for one of the biggest rebuilding jobs in league history by taking Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford with the top overall selection Saturday. Detroit already had signed the 21-year-old Stafford to a six-year deal with $41.7 million in guarantees and a maximum value of $78 million.

Then the Jets rocked Radio City Music Hall by trading with Cleveland — and coach Eric Mangini, whom they fired in January — for the fifth overall spot. The Jets took the other premier quarterback in the draft, Mark Sanchez of Southern California.

Oddly, both drew plenty of boos and chants of "OVERRATED" to go with the many cheers.

Stafford, who left school a year early, goes to the only team to ever go 0-16 in a season. He is not expected to start immediately as a rookie.

"I put a lot of pressure on myself to be great anyway," Stafford said.

The Lions, whose poor draft history this decade under Matt Millen eventually led to the winless season, have veteran Daunte Culpepper as the projected starter this year under new coach Jim Schwartz. That should give the 21-year-old Stafford a chance to watch and learn.

"We feel we have a young guy that can lead us," Detroit general manager Martin Mayhew said. "Now, it's up to us to develop him and get good players around him."

Nine of the last 12 top overall picks have been quarterbacks. They have included the likes of Peyton and Eli Manning. And Tim Couch, David Carr and Alex Smith.

The massive trade saw Cleveland send its pick to New York, prompting wild cheering in the arena. When the Jets chose Sanchez, the fans had equally vociferous positive and negative reactions.

Sanchez started for just one season at USC, leading the Trojans to a 12-1 record and a Rose Bowl victory. He had six career starts in college.

New York sent the No. 17 and No. 52 overall choices, plus defensive end Kenyon Coleman, safety Abram Elam and quarterback Brett Ratliff, to Cleveland.

Before that, Baylor offensive tackle Jason Smith was the second pick, by the St. Louis Rams. The 6-foot-4, 306-pound former tight end should be used to playing for a weak team: Baylor was 18-31 in his four years there.

Kansas City, like St. Louis, used nearly all 10 of its minutes seeking a trade before selecting LSU defensive end Tyson Jackson. He will join college teammate Glenn Dorsey on the Chiefs' defensive line.

Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry, who had spoken with Detroit about being the top overall pick, landed in Seattle at No. 4. Curry is considered capable of playing inside or outside in the pros.

Cincinnati went for Alabama tackle Andre Smith, the first AP All-American selected, at No. 6. Smith had some issues that included leaving the NFL combine early without notifying anyone, but the Bengals were unswayed.

Another tackle, Virginia's Eugene Monroe, went eighth overall to Jacksonville, one spot after Oakland — no surprise here — was seduced by the speed of Maryland's Darrius Heyward-Bey. The Raiders grabbed the player who had the fast 40-yard time in workouts, even though many projected him to go far later.

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