MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- On a night when Geno Smith got more air time than anyone - but for all the wrong reasons - it was Tavon Austin who had to keep himself from crying.
His tears, though, would have been of joy.
Austin, the electric little West Virginia wide receiver whose rising draft stock never seemed to slow, was taken by the St. Louis Rams with the eighth pick of Thursday night's draft in New York.
And afterward he was able to laugh about how his family reacted to it.
"They cried. They cried like babies,'' Austin said. "I told them I wasn't going to cry and I'm still strong right now. So everything's good.''
Indeed, things couldn't have gone much better for Austin. In an early part of the first round of the draft that was dominated by offensive and defensive linemen, the 5-foot-8, 174-pound receiver and kick returner was the first skill position player taken.
Not only that, the Rams traded away four draft picks in order to move up and take him.
"It means a lot,'' Austin said. "It means they wanted me. I kind of had a feeling they wanted me.''
On the opposite end of the spectrum, though, was Smith. Generally regarded as the top quarterback in the draft, West Virginia's all-time passing leader was passed over with every pick in the first round. Even the only team that took a quarterback, Buffalo, passed on Smith in favor of Florida State's E.J. Manuel.
ESPN and the NFL Network, both televising the draft, showed Smith sitting at his table at Radio City Music Hall time and time again through the night.
If Smith needed consolation, though, perhaps he got it from Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers, now an MVP and Super Bowl-winning quarterback, was expected to go at the top of the draft's first round, but fell to the 24th pick instead.
"Hang in there Geno,'' Rodgers tweeted. "Good things come to those who wait.''
Austin, though, didn't have to wait long. Nor was he surprised at where he went.
"I definitely had a feeling they liked me,'' Austin said of the Rams, for whom he worked out recently. "Me and the coaches just clicked.''