News With Commentary by TSL Staff

Friday, April 20, 2001
by Will Stewart,

San Diego Trades #1 Pick to Atlanta

In a move that has Atlanta area Hokie fans rejoicing, the San Diego Chargers have traded the #1 pick in the draft to the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons are expected to choose Michael Vick with the #1 pick.

The Falcons got the opening pick in exchange for the fifth overall pick in the first round; their third-round pick, the 67th overall; their second-round pick in 2002 and wide receiver Tim Dwight. is reporting that "The Falcons will pick Vick, who left Virginia Tech with two years of eligibility left." This ensures that Vick is going to be the #1 pick in the NFL draft, giving the Hokies their second #1 overall pick of all time (Bruce Smith was the other).

Vick expressed surprise at the trade, telling ESPN reporters "'s very shocking to me and I'm eager to find out what happened." He expressed some regrets, saying, "I'd be lying if I didn't say I was disappointed. I really like (San Diego Head ) Coach (Mike) Riley. I really like (offensive coordinator) Coach Norv Turner. I would have loved being down there. But things do happen."

But Vick, who has always been capable of changing directions in an instant, added, "I'm looking forward to playing for Atlanta."

The Chargers observed Vick in two workouts at Virginia Tech over the past few weeks and praised him. But during the last few days, as they negotiated with Vick and his agent, the Chargers got hung up on the $15 million signing bonus that Vick's agent was seeking to go with an estimated $50 million, six-year contract.

It's also possible that San Diego was building in performance clauses that Vick and his agent were not comfortable with. The Chargers are still smarting over picking Ryan Leaf in the first round in 1998. San Diego took Leaf with the #2 pick overall, paid him an $11.25 million signing bonus, and then watched him turn into a total bust. San Diego waived Leaf in March, and he was picked up by Tampa Bay.

(For full details, see this article on the trade.)

As you can imagine, news of the trade led to joy among the many Hokies that live in Atlanta. Said one Atlanta-based message board poster:

Just made the drive...420 miles from Atlanta to B'burg ... I have been in Atlanta for 3 1/2 years since graduating from VT. My cell phone started ringing just north of Charlotte and about 15  minutes later I had season tickets for the Falcons.

Said another: the (Georgia) Dome...on turf...Oh My!!!

And another said simply:

"Can I get a HELL YEAH?"



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