UPDATE 10 P.M.: South Pointe’s Gilmore chosen by Buffalo

dgantt@heraldonline.comApril 26, 2012 

-- New England entered the night with the 27th and 31st picks, but traded up twice to add some pop to their defensive front seven.

After moving up to 21 to snag Syracuse pass-rusher Chandler Jones, they moved to 25 to grab Alabama linebacker Dont’a Hightower.

The Patriots generally prefer to move back than up, but needed help on a defense that too often let Tom Brady down.

-- South Carolina placed its second player in the first round, when San Diego drafted defensive end Melvin Ingram 18th overall.

He’ll play outside linebacker in the Chargers’ 3-4 scheme, where he’ll have a chance to rush without getting swallowed up. He’s not quite 6-foot-2, and that scared off a lot of 4-3 teams.

After Stephon Gilmore went 10th to Buffalo, it marked the first time two Gamecocks were chosen in the first round since 1981.

-- At 13, Arizona went with play-making Notre Dame receiver Michael Floyd, giving the Cards a potent complement to Larry Fitzgerald.

If they only had a quarterback. Kevin Kolb is going to have to beat out John Skelton for the starting job, and the fact it’s a competition speaks volumes.

St. Louis took LSU defensive tackle Michael Brockers at 14, and Seattle shook up the round by taking West Virginia pass-rusher Bruce Irvin 15th. Many thought Irvin was a second-rounder, but the Seahawks saw something they liked.

The New York Jets took UNC defensive end Quinton Coples at 16, followed by Cincinnati drafting Alabama corner Dre Kirkpatrick at 17. Both are talented players with off-field or character concerns, landing in places where that’s not rare.

Maybe Tim Tebow can pray for Coples to want to play hard, since Coples admitted he didn’t always at UNC.

-- This draft is flying by. Kansas City takes defensive tackle Dontari Poe at 11, and Philadelphia traded up to get Fletcher Cox at 12. The run on big guys is officially on.

-- Sure enough, Rock Hill’s Stephon Gilmore went 10th, to Buffalo.

Not an easy commute, but the coverage responsibilities will be easier after the Bills spent big money on defensive end Mario Williams this offseason.

-- The crowd was a little disappointed when the Panthers took linebacker Luke Kuechly with the 9th pick.

-- Tampa Bay is taking Alabama safety Mark Barron at seven, landing a player many teams were interested in moving up for.

He’ll give new coach Greg Schiano’s defense some personality.

-- Dallas trades up from 14 to six, to take LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne.

If the Panthers are in the mood to move down, and they seem to be, there’s certainly momentum moving in that direction.

-- The Vikings are apparently going to take Southern Cal tackle Matt Kalil, the brother of Panthers center Ryan Kalil. They essentially added three extra picks to do the thing they’d have done anyway.

-- In the fifth spot, Jacksonville traded up with Tampa so they could get Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon. It’s a bold move for a franchise that needs all the star power it can get.

The Bucs weren’t looking that way, having already spent big in free agency on former San Diego wideout Vincent Jackson.

A standing-room only crowd has convened at Thursday’s Too, to see South Pointe High’s Stephon Gilmore chosen in the NFL Draft.

The locals are hoping it’s going to be a short night, as Gilmore is expected to go in the first round but could be a Top 10 pick.

The draft begins at 8 p.m. with little drama, as Indianapolis will take Stanford QB Andrew Luck. Along with Washington’s subsequent selection of Baylor QB Robert Griffin III, the drama is gone from the early stages.

Cleveland did trade three picks to Minnesota to move from fourth to third, ostensibly so they could make sure they got Alabama RB Trent Richardson. They were free picks for the Vikings, who weren’t taking a runner anyway.

We’ll have more updates from the scene throughout the night, so stay tuned.

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