CHICAGO (AP) — It was a long wait and a soft landing for Myles Jack and Jaylon Smith.
Now about those knees.
The pair of athletic linebackers with health questions went early in the second round of the NFL draft on Friday, with Jacksonville trading up to grab Jack two spots after Dallas selected Smith with the No. 34 overall pick.
Jack and Smith were two of the biggest names still on the board at the beginning of the day, and Alabama running back Derrick Henry went to Tennessee at No. 45. Henry powered the Crimson Tide to the national championship last season and won the Heisman Trophy.
Jack was considered a potential top-five pick at one point, but concerns about his right knee sent him tumbling down the board. He played both ways as a freshman at UCLA and was the Pac-12 offensive and defensive newcomer of the year. But a knee injury limited him to three games last season.
Smith also was expected to be a first-round pick before he tore two ligaments in his left knee during Notre Dame’s loss to Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl.
Jack and Smith might not be able to play much this season, but the Jaguars and Cowboys clearly figured the value was too good to pass on at this point in the draft.
Mississippi State defensive tackle Chris Jones, one of the last players left in the green room, went to Kansas City at No. 37 and got a big ovation when he walked onstage. He gave Commissioner Roger Goodell a big hug as the crowd roared.
Jones said he has never been to Kansas City.
“I heard they got the best steak, the best barbecue … I can’t wait to get there and eat,” Jones said.
Linebacker Reggie Ragland went No. 41 to Buffalo, defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson was drafted by Detroit with the 46th overall selection, and No. 49 was DT Jarran Reed to Seattle, giving Alabama four players in the second round after center Ryan Kelly was the only one from the Crimson Tide to go on the first day.
Reed was the last player in the green room at the draft.
Also worth noting: defensive end Noah Spence from Eastern Kentucky to Tampa Bay at No. 39, and wide receiver Michael Thomas of Ohio State to New Orleans at No. 47. Spence began his collegiate career with the Buckeyes, but was banned from the Big Ten after two failed drug tests. Thomas is the nephew for former NFL receiver Keyshawn Johnson.
Ohio State had five players go in the top 20 of the first round on Thursday.
The Browns kicked off the second round with Oklahoma State defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah.
Cleveland traded out of the No. 8 spot in the first round, but opted to stay in place for the opening pick. The 6-foot-4 Ogbah, who is from Nigeria, had 28 sacks during his time with the Cowboys.
With the No. 33 overall pick, the Titans selected Clemson defensive end Kevin Dodd. He had three sacks in the national championship game against Alabama.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL
Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap