As the first round of the NFL draft drew to a close with only the Super Bowl champion Giants left to select Thursday night, Stanford tight end Coby Fleener sat in the green room at Radio City Music Hall staring at his phone and wondering if reports of the Giants' interest in him were accurate.
"You sit there and imagine the phone ringing, but it didn't ring," Fleener said Friday night after returning for the second and third rounds. The Giants instead chose Virginia Tech running back David Wilson even though tight ends coach Mike Pope had spent time working out Fleener at Stanford.
Fleener spent Friday night getting over missing out on the first round and secretly hoping to join Cardinal quarterback Andrew Luck in Indianapolis. That dream came true when the Colts used the second pick of the second round to take Fleener, who went from gloom to over the moon.
"I just sent Andrew a text message that had a lot of exclamation points," Fleener exulted in the interview room. "I can't even begin to describe how excited I am to be a Colt. I have timing with Andrew, and we'll be able to go through this together. I can't wait to get started."
Fleener wasn't the only green-room straggler left over from Thursday night. Right after the Colts made their pick, defense-oriented Baltimore immediately grabbed outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw from Alabama. Upshaw was one of five players from the national champion Crimson Tide to make the trip to New York but the only one left out of the first round. It stung.
"I was a little disappointed," Upshaw said. "I had dreams and set a goal of being a first-round pick. I let myself down. But we prayed about it this morning and I felt it would go this route . It's Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs. It's going to be a great experience to play with those guys."
Upshaw was especially pleased to know he'll be joining two former Tide teammates, starting nose tackle Terrence Cody and rookie linebacker and special- teamer Chavis Williams, whom Upshaw considers a mentor. Although he missed the first round, Upshaw was the fourth player from Bama's vaunted defense taken in the first 35 picks. He saw that as a tribute to coach Nick Saban.
"If you're associated with coach Saban," Upshaw said, "it goes a long ways."
Notes & quotes: There were six trades in the second round, including one that bought St. Louis a fourth pick in the round . . . Two high-profile players who fell to the second were Oklahoma WR Ryan Broyles, who ran a 4.57 40 five months after ACL surgery and was taken 54th overall by Detroit, and Oregon RB LaMichael James at 64th overall by San Francisco.