NEW YORK -- Once all of the questions seemed answered in the first round of the NFL draft, more surfaced. Quizzical looks and views followed, and some were stumped more than satisfied. Others expressed absolute joy.
That meant the draft had again delivered.
The beauty of this exercise is always the norm complemented by the extreme, the expected trumped by shock.
And from the first pick through the 32nd, this draft offered plenty to debate and remember.
Smith is expected to replace the huge shoes of left tackle Orlando Pace, who is now with the Chicago Bears.
"I got my own shoes," Smith said. "I give him all the credit, but I know I have to make my own way."
"I have been around him a lot now in the last six months and he is always in a good mood," Curry said of Smith. "He is never negative about anything. He is somebody you want to be around. He is the kind of person you want your kid to sit down and talk to for three hours. I think we're both guys who were lightly recruited out of high school, so we give hope to those kids out there in that boat -- you can make it."
"We're in the NFL, man!" Smith yelled to Curry in the middle of Radio City Music Hall as the two passed each other. They embraced.
If you have identified a player (Alex Mack) at a position (center) that few teams would grab with their high picks and you happen to own a high pick (No. 5), why not trade down? And keep trading down. You can still get your man, be cost efficient and compile picks and players via trades.
The Raiders say that view in part is true but is also way too simple. A Raiders executive said of passing the receiver considered No. 1, Michael Crabtree, for Heyward-Bey: "Crabtree is a heck of a player. But Heyward-Bey gets down the field faster and catches the ball better. He has not even run a pro-style offense yet and we see him flourishing in ours. He can stretch the field in ways that will help our quarterback, other wide receivers, tight ends, running backs, the line, everybody. We liked Jeremy Maclin there, too, but we've got great kick and punt returners. We think this receiver will be very special for us."
Crabtree's eyes were moist in the players' draft Green Room when the Raiders passed on him, ensuring he would not be the first receiver selected. Then, as only karma can provide, the San Francisco 49ers selected Crabtree at No. 10. Across the Bay, Heyward-Bey and Crabtree will always be compared. And the Raiders are the team that runs the risk of missing on Crabtree.
I asked Crabtree about this, about competing against Heyward-Bey.
"No, I wish him well, that he can catch all the balls he can, and that I will do the same," Crabtree said. "No hard feelings."
No way. Not buying it.
Neither did Curry.
"It was the talk of the room when that happened," Curry said. "Everyone, as far as the players were concerned, were shocked. Knowing Darrius, he is very happy that he just kind of kept quiet and slipped in there as the top receiver. Knowing Michael, he will set out to prove that was the mistake of the entire draft."
Selecting at No. 12, few thought Denver would use that pick on a running back after it had been active in free agency in that area. Few thought Moreno would be off the board before pick No. 20.
At the combine it was easy to see the affection that new Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris had for quarterback Josh Freeman. They had worked together at Kansas State. They will work together now with the Bucs since he was the team's pick at No. 17. Since the Bucs recently signed free agent quarterback Byron Leftwich, this was one of those head-scratching moments. Unless, of course, you dig deeper.
Freeman said afterward here in the players' draft Green Room: "We have always been able to communicate well and have a mutual respect for each other. Now we get to do it on the highest level of football. I knew they had some interest but you never know how it's going to work out. I think it worked out just right. I'm going to a place where they know me and I can compete and find a way to help us win games."
It must have been a successful meeting.
Another receiver spat may have surfaced at picks No. 29 and No. 30.
Seven defensive linemen flew off the first-round board and six wide receivers were nabbed. Four offensive tackles were grabbed in the first 23 picks.
Nearly every team nibbled. They know this draft table is set for much more, no matter how confounding or appeasing their current picks seem.