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NFL Puts Draft on Prime-Time Clock

And now, live from New York, it's that new hit show, "Thursday Night With Roger."

Some oldtimers still call it the NFL Draft.

With remote in hand, let's see if it was really ready for prime time.

7:33 p.m. Ben Roethlisberger's new pen pal - NFL commissioner Roger Goodell - welcomes the audience and informs them the St. Louis Rams are on the clock. The crowd at Radio City Music Hall roars. Probably the loudest applause the Rams have heard in ages.

7:36 p.m. Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford is on the phone and looks riveted. Assuming this is not a 900 call, it must be the Rams.

7:38 p.m. St. Louis chooses Bradford, who puts on a Rams cap and poses with the commissioner. A scene of great promise. But remember, Tim Couch and JaMarcus Russell one stood in this spot.

7:40 p.m. Lions are on the clock. Meanwhile, SpongeBob SquarePants is cleaning up his city.

7:44 p.m. The Lions take Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. Look for him Thanksgiving Day.

7:53 p.m. Homer Simpson is on a reality show.

7:54 p.m. Speaking of reality, Oklahoma defensive tackle Gerald McCoy sheds tears when selected by the Bucs, then hugs Goodell as if he is a long lost grandfather.

7:56 p.m. All three contestants miss the question on Final Jeopardy.

7:58 p.m. The Redskins select Oklahoma offense tackle Trent Williams, meaning three of the first four draft choices are Sooners.

7:59 p.m. Why didn't Oklahoma win the national championship?

8 p.m. Who will be voted out tonight on "Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains"?

8:05 p.m. Jon Gruden is saying what a perfect marriage the Chiefs and Tennessee safety Eric Berry would be.

8:06 p.m. Speaking of marriages, Jennifer Lopez is tending to an upset father of the bride on "The Wedding Planner."

8:09 p.m. With the Seahawks picking next, all eyes are on Seattle coach Pete Carroll.

8:11 p.m. Except on the channel showing the MSL game, where all eyes are on Seattle Sounders coach Sigi Schmid.

8:15 p.m. Seahawks select Oklahoma State tackle Russell Okung. Must be trouble in the offensive line.

8:16 p.m. You want trouble. The president is dealing with aliens on "Independence Day."

8:26 p.m. On "This Old House," they're redoing a kitchen.

8:29 p.m. On "This Old Owner," Al Davis goes for Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain. Mel Kiper Jr. gets to use his first what-are-they-doing? tone of voice for the night.

8:37 p.m. Tom Jackson is the first to mention how none of the other quarterbacks are being taken. Florida's Tim Tebow, of course. But most notably, Jimmy Clausen from Notre Dame.

8:40 p.m. First trade, the 49ers dealing with the Broncos to move up. Needing a lot of topics to fill the hours, ESPN loves draft night trades the way kids love Oreos.

8:42 p.m. It is snowing on "The Day After Tomorrow." Speaking of which, if this were 2000, you'd have to wait until the day after tomorrow to see Tom Brady picked in the sixth round.

9:11 p.m. It's never good news when the ESPN crew starts talking about how far someone will drop. Clausen is the unlucky guy,

9:15 p.m. The Giants take South Florida defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. The assembled New York draftniks seem happy.

9:18 p.m. Here's another guy that the New Yorkers want to see next year: LeBron James. His dunk cuts the Bulls' lead to 92-88.

9:20 p.m. Celebrating the fifth anniversary of drafting Pacman Jones, the Titans take Georgia Tech defensive end Derrick Morgan.

9:24 p.m. The 49ers take Idaho guard Mike Iupati. Where are the quarterbacks? Might they be appearing over on Larry King? No. he's interviewing the creator of "The Family Guy."

9:28 p.m. The Steelers take Florida center Maurkice Pouncey, no doubt hoping he doesn't like visiting college bars.

10:05 p.m. Is that Tebow putting on a Denver Broncos cap?

10:06 p.m. The crew is debating Tebow in the first round - Gruden pro, Kiper con.

10:08 p.m. Goodell makes the announcement. Tebow to Denver, but then, we knew that already. The NFL will certainly love the new exposure of moving this event to night time, since millions will spend an entire evening watching one round of future maybes. But if this is going to be a prime-time show, they have to work on their surprise endings.

11:03 p.m. Drew Brees gets to announce the New Orleans pick; Florida State cornerback Patrick Robinson. "Thursday Night With Roger" is over, with Bradford and Tebow the only quarterbacks taken. It has been a long evening. Especially for Jimmy Clausen.


Contact Mike Lopresti at mlopresti(AT)gannett.com

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