General Managers around the NFL are applauding the initial draft of the league’s newest franchise, the Los Angeles Stars.  From the first pick of round one, through the initial choice of the draft’s final round, it looks as though the Stars came away with a number of potential first year starters.  Here are the results of the first draft by Los Angeles, as well as thoughts from the team’s general manager.

Round 1, pick #1:  Eric Fisher/T/Central Michigan GM Comments, “We were a bit stuck at the top of the draft with no franchise players available.  We made several attempts to trade down but were rebuffed.  In Fisher we feel the team has a building block on offense at the all important left tackle spot.  We gave serious consideration to Lane Johnson with this choice as he has All Pro potential down the road, but Fisher gives us the quickest returns and is a relatively safe pick.”

Round 2, pick #33: Cornellius Carradine/DE/Florida State GM Comments, “We were overjoyed when Carradine was still available to us at the top of round two.  Despite his recent knee injury, we kept a first round grade on him.  Considering we don’t expect to win next season, we have the luxury of waiting for Carradine to return to full health.  There’s no need to rush him back.  Like Fisher at left tackle, Carradine offers great potential for us at a critical position.  We gave a lot of thought to grabbing Geno Smith at this spot but in the end Carradine was a better fit.”

Round 3, pick #63: Blidi Wreh-Wilson/CB/UConn: GM Comments, “Just as with Carradine in round two, I feel we really got great value at a critical position with Wreh-Wilson in this spot.  He’s a shut down corner who can play in press or man-off.  We went back and watched his sophomore film of 2010, the last time he was fully healthy, and Wreh-Wilson was dominant.  Despite being slowed by injury the past two seasons it was obvious to our area scout opposing quarterbacks threw away from Wreh-Wilson when he was on the field.  Some of the bigger named receivers, specifically Terrance Williams of Baylor and Cal’s Keenan Allen were considered here.  In the end we decided we could not pass up on such a potentially outstanding cover corner.”

Round 4, pick #98:  Matt Barkley/QB/USC: GM Comments, “This pick just made too much sense for a number of reasons.  First, Barkley is a talented signal caller coming off a poor senior season.  Had he entered the 2012 draft there’s no doubt he lands in the top half of round one.  As the head of college scouting told me, lets not dismiss two years of good game film from his sophomore and junior campaigns.  Then there’s the obvious fact he’s a southern California player now playing for a team in Los Angeles.  Our owner was very happy with this pick.  Tight end Dion Sims of Michigan State and offensive lineman Barrett Jones were strongly considered at this spot but in the end, Barkley made to much sense.”

Round 5, pick #134: Sanders Commings/CB/Georgia: GM Comments, “We thought long and hard before bringing the card with Sanders name to the desk.  Many in the war room really wanted Denard Robinson of Michigan who would lend a hand on offense and special teams.  Many of our defensive coaches wanted Jesse Williams of Alabama.  In the end I made the call on Commings.  His measurables are outstanding and he possesses the ball skills to match.  Immaturity is an issue and we’re rolling the dice it won’t distract the team.  The bottom line; with Wreh-Wilson in the third and Sanders Commings at this spot we may have our starting cornerbacks for years to come.”

Round 6, pick #169:  Mike James/RB/Miami-Fl: GM Comments, “There was a lot of debate over this one.  Receiver Ryan Swope of Texas A&M as well as another running back, Kenjon Barner of Oregon, were in the discussion.  In the end we settled on James as we feel he’s a bit underrated and a polished interior ball carrier who can also catch the ball out of the backfield.  Versatility will be key for us.”

Round 7, pick #207: Nicholas Williams/DT/Samford: GM Comments,  “We considered tight end Chris Gragg and ball carrier Kerwyn Williams with our final pick but Williams offers a lot of what we want.  He’s a terrific prospect with incredible upside to his game- a real nice developmental player.  We feel he’ll be a nice addition on the inside and offers the versatility to stay on the field at defensive end when we use a three man line.”

UDFA’s GM Comments:  “My owner told me he would hand out a $30,000 signing bonus for the nine UDFA’s we coveted.  That amount of capital really put us in the drivers seat.  Here’s our list:”

1) Matt Scott/QB/Arizona: “Terrific athlete with a live arm.  Needs time but offers a large amount of upside as well as the ability to play in a variety of offensive systems.  He also brings competition to the quarterback spot”

2) Onterio McCalebb/RB-RS/Auburn: “His speed and game breaking ability as a ball carrier and return specialist are enticing.  If he makes the final roster he’ll be a great compliment to Mike James.”

3) Da’Rick Rogers/WR/Tennessee Tech: “Its worth a roll of the dice.  If he matures off the field he could be our number two receiver on the field.”

4) Jake Stoneburner/TE/Ohio State: “Stoneburner has the size and skill to make an NFL roster.  What he needs is more consistency.  We could have our second man on the depth chart if things break right.”

5) Chris Pantale/TE/Boston College: “Pantale is the opposite of Stoneburner.  He lacks the great measurables and upside potential but gives us the blocking element we want in a third tight end.”

6) Luke Marquardt/T/Azusa Pacific: “I’m shocked a team with double digit picks didn’t take a chance on this guy in the middle rounds.  He’s a man amongst boys on the field.  Its just a matter of getting him healthy and accustomed to playing at a higher level of competition.  As I said earlier, we have time.”

7) Kevin Reddick/LB/North Carolina: “Reddick’s game can be all over the place but when he’s on, watch out.  I like the fact he can play in multiple schemes.”

8 ) Jordan Kovacs/S/Michigan: “He’s a bit of a straight-linish player, which our coaches don’t like.  Yet I think Kovacs will be a special teams demon for us on coverage units this season and a nice back-up in zone coverage.”

9) Quinn Sharp/P/Oklahoma State: “Ryan Allen of Louisiana Tech was given consideration but Sharp’s leg strength and ability to handle kick-off duties won out.”

Note: The first official draft for the Jacksonville Jaguars took place in 1995.  But the prior year Tom Coughlin, always a favorite of mine, assembled his staff and participated in a real time mock draft from the floor of the Marriott Marquis, the hotel in New York city where the draft was being held.  From their table at the Marriot Marquis the Jaguars would “select” a prospect from the players still available as each round opened up.  It was a terrific exercise to prepare Jacksonville for the real deal the following year.  Looking back at the Jaguars experiment almost 20 years ago, and considering hindsight in the NFL draft is as routine as the sun rising from the East, I thought it’d be a good idea to step up and pick some players of my own. In a phantom draft for a phantom franchise of course.  As with every draft, its all on paper now and the fruits of this labor are yet to be determined.  If all goes well the Los Angeles Stars will be selecting somewhere in the 20’s next April, and will probably be looking at Virginia Tech safety Antone Exum!  – Tony Pauline