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Vick the No. 1 pick in NFL Draft
By Jimmy Robertson
April 21, 2001

Michael Vick finally realized his lifelong dream when the Atlanta Falcons made the former Virginia Tech quarterback the first pick in the 2001 NFL Draft held Saturday in New York City. Vick becomes the second Tech player to be a No. 1 pick in an NFL draft. In 1985, the Buffalo Bills selected defensive end Bruce Smith with the first overall pick.

"This is very exciting," Vick said shortly after being picked. "This was always a dream of mine, to be able to walk across that stage and shake hands with Paul [Tagliabue, the league's commissioner]. I'm very happy to be going to Atlanta to play for the Atlanta Falcons."

The day capped a whirlwind 24 hours for Vick, who decided to forgo his final two years of college because of the opportunity to be the first pick. Originally, San Diego had the first pick in the draft but ended up trading it to Atlanta after San Diego officials and Vick's agents could not agree on a reported $15 million signing bonus. In return, San Diego got Atlanta's first-round pick (No. 5 overall) and third-round pick (No. 67) this year, the Falcons' second-round pick next year and wide receiver/kick returner Tim Dwight.

"I always thought that I would be a Charger," Vick said. "But my agents had told me there were going to be a lot of trades, so I knew that going into this."

Vick figures to play earlier in Atlanta than he would have in San Diego given the numerous injuries suffered in the past by Atlanta starting quarterback Chris Chandler. Therefore, he won't get the benefit of a redshirt year that he got when he arrived at Tech.

"I'm ready to go to Atlanta, and if I have to play right away, that's what I'll do," he said. "I feel that I know more about the game now than I did when I first came to Virginia Tech. I'll be ready for the challenge."

Vick becomes just the fourth Tech player ever taken in the first round and the first since 1997. That year, San Francisco took quarterback Jim Druckenmiller in the first round. Also, New England took offensive lineman Eugene Chung with its first-round pick in 1992.

Vick's selection also put Tech in the history books. Tech became just the eighth school since the 1967 AFL merger to have two or more players selected with the first overall pick. Southern Cal leads the way with four, while Ohio State had three. Tech, Penn State, Miami, Auburn, Texas and Oklahoma serves as the other six schools.

Vick spent three seasons in Blacksburg, redshirting his first year and then starting as the Hokies' signal-caller the next two. In his career, he completed 202 of 360 pass attempts (56.1 percent) for 3,249 yards, with 22 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He also rushed for 1,318 yards and 18 touchdowns.

As a freshman, Vick broke the NCAA record for passing efficiency by a freshman, finishing the year with a rating of 180.4. That shattered the previous record of 162.3 set by Syracuse's Donovan McNabb in 1995. Vick finished second in the NCAA record book for passing efficiency in a season. Former Tulane quarterback Shaun King set the mark of 183.3 in 1994. Vick also holds school records for single-season passing efficiency, completion percentage in a season (59.2 as a freshman) and yards per play (9.33 as a freshman).

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