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Charlottesville, VA A pair of Virginia players, defensive end Chris Long and offensive guard Branden Albert, were taken in the first round during the first day of the National Football League’s draft. It marks the 25th consecutive year Virginia has had a player drafted and the second time two UVa players have gone in the first round. The other time it happened was in 1997 when linebacker James Farrior (eighth) and defensive end Jon Harris (25th) were first-round picks.

Long was taken as the second pick overall by the St. Louis Rams. Branden Albert was chosen 15th by the Kansas City Chiefs through a trade with the Detroit Lions. While he played offensive guard at Virginia, Albert is expected to be a tackle on the Chiefs’ offensive line.

Long’s selection was the second highest by a Cavalier. Bill Dudley was the top pick in the 1942 draft.

In addition to their selections, tight end Tom Santi was chosen in the sixth round as the 196th pick by the Indianapolis Colts. A second-team All-ACC pick in 2007, Santi played in 47 games and had 97 receptions, the third highest total by a UVa tight end in school history.

Combined with Boston College’s Matt Ryan being chosen third by the Atlanta Falcons, the Atlantic Coast Conference became the first conference in the nation to have two of its student-athletes chosen among the top four picks in the NFL Draft for three consecutive years. They joined NC State’s Mario Williams (Houston, 1st) and Virginia’s D’Brickashaw Ferguson (4th, NY Jets) in 2006 and Georgia Tech’s Calvin Johnson (2nd, Detroit) and Clemson’s Gaines Adams last year (Tampa Bay Bucs, 4th) as top four selections, something no other collegiate conference has achieved in the 71 years of the Draft.

With Long being the first defensive player selected, it marked the third straight year the ACC has had the top defensive player chosen in the Draft following Williams in 2006 and Adams in 2007. It was also the fourth time in the past seven years the conference has had the top defender tabbed in the draft as North Carolina’s Julius Peppers (2nd, Carolina) was the top defensive player chosen in 2002.

The ACC also led all conferences with first round selections having seven players tabbed in the first round including Long, Ryan, Albert, Boston College offensive tackle Gosder Cherilus (17th, Detroit), Virginia Tech offensive tackle Duane Brown (26th, Houston), North Carolina defensive tackle Kentwan Balmer (29th, San Francisco) and Miami defensive back Kenny Phillips (31st, New York Giants). The SEC and PAC-10 were second, each with six players chosen in the first round.

The NFL draft continues Sunday at 10 a.m. with the start of the third round selections.

Virginia’s All-Time First-Round Draft Picks

Year Name Pos. Team Overall
1942 Bill Dudley B Pittsburgh Steelers 1
1951 Gene Schroeder E Chicago Bears 12
1976 Tom Glassic G Denver Broncos 15
1986 Jim Dombrowski OT New Orleans Saints 6
1989 Jeff Lageman LB New York Jets 14
1991 Herman Moore WR Detroit Lions 10
1992 Ray Roberts OT Seattle Seahawks 10
1997 James Farrior LB New York Jets 8
1997 Jon Harris DE Philadelphia Eagles 25
1999 Patrick Kerney DE Atlanta Falcons 30
2000 Thomas Jones RB Arizona Cardinals 7
2005 Heath Miller TE Pittsburgh Steelers 30
2006 D’Brickashaw Ferguson OT New York Jets 4
2008 Chris Long DE St. Louis Rams 2
2008 Branden Albert OG Kansas City Chiefs 15

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