New York:JaMarcus Russell, the big-play quarterback from Louisiana State University, was the first pick in the NFL draft as the Oakland Raiders pulled no surprises on Saturday.
The 1.98-meter (6-foot-6) Russell comes off an impressive season and a superb Sugar Bowl that helped catapult him to the top spot. And with the Raiders coming off a 2-14 season in which they had the league's worst offense, he easily could be the starter on opening day.
"I kind of had faith in it. Everybody had been talking about it for a while," Russell said of being chosen first. "It's a dream come true. Growing up as a kid playing every sport in life and always seeing the guys on the professional level, and here I am today."
LSU players had plenty of draft-day luster. Five spots after Russell, safety LaRon Landry went to Washington, and two more college teammates were chosen later in the opening round.
Detroit declined several trade options for the No. 2 overall pick and chose wide receiver Calvin Johnson of Georgia Tech, considered the best athlete in this year's crop.
Cleveland took University of Wisconsin offensive tackle Joe Thomas No. 3 and Tampa Bay picked the first defensive player, Clemson University end Gaines Adams, who at 1.96 meters (6-foot-5) is an inch (2 centimeters) short and three pounds (1.4 kilograms) lighter than Russell.
Arizona also went for offensive line help at No 5, taking Penn State tackle Levi Brown, who should replace Leonard Davis, now with Dallas after leaving as a free agent.
Oakland will count on Russell to invigorate the Raiders, who scored only 168 points last season.
When Roger Goodell, conducting his first draft as commissioner, announced Russell's name, Raiders fans in the crowd cheered loudly. But there was a mixture of cheers and boos when Russell, who is bigger than some NFL linemen, came on stage to don a Raiders hat and hold up a No. 1 black jersey.
"I can't wait to get in the black and silver and get to work," Russell said.
Quarterback Brady Quinn, once considered the best prospect in this year's crop, watched 21 players chosen before he went to Cleveland, the team for which he grew up cheering.