Have you ever had dinner in a hospital cafeteria? And there was nothing you wanted? But you had to choose anyway?
That's a little how NFL general managers must've felt Thursday night for Round 1 of the 2013 draft, which featured a talent pool so shallow, you could hardly wet your ankle bone.
Still, it made for a wildly unpredictable evening, if you like that sort of thing. These were the highlights, written on the fly, I swear:
8 p.m. ET -- The big question tonight: Can the New York Jets get two first-round draft picks and still manage to suck?
8:03 -- The NFL has 23 players in the green room. Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o isn't one of them. He's in Hawaii and wants no cameras around. Maybe he'll have dinner somewhere. Perhaps he'll order the catfish?
8:06 -- Still no pick from the Kansas City Chiefs, who've been on the clock for THREE MONTHS.
8:16 -- The Chiefs finally take offensive tackle Eric Fisher (Central Michigan). Turns out Fisher's cell phone was on the fritz. Of course, he was sitting 100 feet away from Chiefs officials at Radio City Music Hall. Whatever.
8:17 -- Weird note about Fisher: He gained 68 pounds in one year at Central Michigan, breaking a record set by JaMarcus Russell.
8:21 -- The Jacksonville Jaguars, beginning their 13th rebuilding season in nine years, take offensive tackle Luke Joeckel (Texas A&M). It's the first time in NFL history a draft has started tackle-tackle.
Is this a sexy draft? No, this is not a sexy draft. It is John Madden in a lime-green peek-a-boo teddy.
8:31 -- With the third pick in the draft, the Oakland Raiders take deceased QB Sid Luckman.
No, actually, they trade their pick to Miami, which takes another player you've never heard of, outside linebacker Dion Jordan (Oregon), who mentions to ESPN's Suzy Kolber that this is his "first time" being drafted. He also adds, "Overall, I'm a great person."
Good to know both.
8:50 -- Detroit's pick, defensive end Ziggy Ansah (BYU), had never even seen a game of American football until he arrived in the United States from Ghana five years ago.
"I think we'll be back here [in New York] next year for the Super Bowl," he tells Suzy.
He would definitely know.
8:55 -- Best name in the draft goes to Cleveland -- defensive end Barkevious Mingo (LSU). He is perfect for the Browns. Who else would the Dog Pound want to howl for than Barkevious?
8:56 -- Just a side note: Roger Goodell is going much shorter on hugs this year than last. His hugs are about 4 seconds shorter, on average, than in 2012. He's hugging like he's got pinkeye.
9:01 -- There are some serious slabs of meat strutting the the stage tonight. Arizona takes guard Jonathan Cooper (North Carolina), the fourth player over 300 pounds in the first seven picks. Even his head is big. New Era Cap tweets that his hat is size 8 1/8, the largest so far. We are here to inform.
9:02 -- Not one pick has come close to handling the football. But the Buffalo Bills have the eighth pick and they need a quarterback and a receiver. Please?
9:03 -- Naturally, the Bills trade their pick because they have cable TV and realize there are nothing but clipboard holders in this draft. ESPN, meanwhile, keeps showing Mel Kiper's "Top 5 Available QBs." But ranking the best five QBs in this draft is like ranking the top five ski areas in Fiji.
Anyway, the Bills send the pick to St. Louis, which takes -- yes! -- a receiver, Tavon Austin (West Virginia). True, Austin supposedly got a 7 out of 50 on his Wonderlic test, but the Rams are not asking him to perform cold fusion experiments here. They are asking him to run fast and catch footballs. Good pick.
9:04 -- By the way, Austin's West Virginia teammate, QB Geno Smith, is in the green room, starting to look a little stressed. The experts said he was supposed to be selected by now. Maybe his cell phone is on the fritz?
9:17 -- The Jets take possibly injured cornerback Dee Milliner (Alabama). We're fairly certain it's his first time being drafted.
9:25 -- Alabama gets two in a row when the Tennessee Titans take yet another lineman, guard Chance Warmack. Possible headlines tomorrow in The (Nashville) Tennessean:
Titans Take a Chance
Titans Go To War-mack
Wow, That Was a Really Dull Draft
9:31 -- Three straight for Alabama! This time it's D.J. Fluker, going to San Diego. It's our
sixth 300-pound pick in the first 11 choices. Feels like an episode of "The Biggest Loser."
Most clever athlete tweet of the night follows immediately, from Greg McElroy, former Alabama QB, now with the Jets:
"3 in a row for Bama? I could get used to saying that."
The way Nick Saban can sign talent? We all probably should get used to it.
9:36 -- The Raiders get defensive back D.J. Hayden (Houston), who's lucky to be alive after getting hit so hard in practice last year that a vein in his heart ripped open. Most people die from that.
More importantly, it's the first time in NFL history we've had back-to-back D.J.'s selected.
9:46 -- The Jets take defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson (Missouri), which means they didn't take poor Geno Smith, and which also means Mark Sanchez, who's had two terrible seasons in a row, still only has to beat out Tim Tebow, David Garrard and Mr. McElroy. Maybe he has footsie photos?
10:03 -- We're up to the 16th pick and nobody's even mentioned Manti Te'o. Then again, if a general manager called him on his cell, how could he trust it was really him?
10:04 -- First quarterback is taken, but it's not poor, forlorn Geno Smith. It's EJ Manuel (Florida State), who goes to the Bills.
Possible headline in the Buffalo News:
Bills Shifting to Manuel
Meanwhile, Smith irons his shirt for the fifth time.
10:10 -- Random thought: You know what you don't see much at the NFL draft? Dads.
ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper's criticism of Pugh? "He's got short arms." So don't expect him to pick up any dinner checks.
10:29 -- The Chicago Bears, who need a middle linebacker to replace the departed Brian Urlacher, take another of Howie Long's offspring instead, guard Kyle Long (Oregon). Long doesn't say it, but we assume that overall, he's a great person.
10:39 -- Geno Smith returns from watching "Book of Mormon." Missed nothing.
10:40 -- Here's what I don't get. Why isn't anybody taking the Honey Badger, the fabulous playmaking defensive back/punt returner Tyrann Mathieu (LSU)? This kid is going to be a monster in this league. Yeah, he's small, but so was Darrell Green, and he's in the Hall of Fame. Yeah, they say he's trouble, but they said that about Dan Marino, too. Plus, he's got something else none of the players taken so far have.
People have actually heard of him.
10:45 -- Still no running backs taken. There hasn't been a draft without a running back taken in the first round since 1963.
10:54 -- For the ninth time tonight, ESPN cuts to poor, depressed Geno Smith. Each camera cut must feel like a literal cut to him at this point. The red light bleeds for him. The unblinking camera eye mocks him.
11:15 -- With the 28th pick, Denver takes defensive tackle Sylvester Williams (North Carolina).
11:17 -- Cancel that Sylvester Williams pick for Denver. Fax didn't go through.
11:33 -- Rumor is the Vikings will trade three picks to the Patriots to get the 29th pick. The Vikings need a linebacker. Rumor is they've been talking to you know who.
Te'o? Te'o? Te'o?
Nay-o, nay-o, nay-o.
They pick wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson (Tennessee).
11:36 -- Geno Smith has left the building. Walked out. Should've gone to Hawaii.
11:44 -- The Ravens, who lost middle linebacker Ray Lewis, and need a middle linebacker (did we mention Manti Te'o is a middle linebacker?) use the final pick of the first round to take safety Matt Elam (Florida).
11:45 -- Overall in this first round, we went through a paltry five skill players, a massive 18 linemen of one kind or another, and six Advil.
Midnight -- Somewhere, Manti Te'o weeps into his pupu platter.