If Myles Jack thought his seven-month hiatus from football was agonizing, just imagine how he felt Thursday night sitting backstage at Auditorium Theatre.
The former UCLA linebacker, who might have been the NFL draft's premier defensive player had he not suffered a knee injury last fall, was dressed to the nines — and dropping into the teens, the 20s and ultimately out of the first round.
The final indignity: His hometown Seattle Seahawks passed on him with the last pick of the night, scared off by the findings of doctors that there's more to Jack's surgically repaired right knee than merely a torn meniscus. Jack, accompanied to the event by his mother, La Sonjia, left the venue with no answers about where he'll begin his next chapter, knowing only that the second and third rounds take place Friday. It had to be a cruel and torturous night, when the only player taken from a Los Angeles school was Bruins defensive tackle Kenny Clark, chosen 27th by the Green Bay Packers.
The night began with L.A., though, with the Rams relaunching in Southern California with the selection of Cal quarterback Jared Goff.
The Philadelphia Eagles, who likewise traded up for a quarterback, took North Dakota State's Carson Wentz second.
"Just truly a dream come true," Goff said of being taken No. 1. "Something you always dream about as a kid. For it to become a reality is awesome."
Jack wasn't the only player to take a big tumble. Mississippi tackle Laremy Tunsil, only weeks ago widely projected to be the No. 1 pick, fell sharply out of favor with potential employers when, minutes before the draft started, a video was posted to his Twitter account showing him smoking a bong attached to a gas mask. Tunsil said the video was old and his account was hacked.
"I made a mistake, a huge mistake," he said. "Things happened. I can't control things. Got to my phone, hacking my Instagram, Twitter."
Of course, teams weren't so worried about the hacking but rather the judgment of a player who would make that decision in the first place. Lending new meaning to the term "green room," Tunsil could only sit and watch as Notre Dame tackle Ronnie Stanley went sixth to the Baltimore Ravens and Michigan State tackle Jack Conklin eighth to the Tennessee Titans. Tunsil didn't come off the board until the Miami Dolphins called his name at 13, meaning he probably lost millions of dollars in his box-office flop.
It was a huge night for Ohio State players, five going in the first 20 picks. Defensive end Joey Bosa was selected third by the San Diego Chargers, followed immediately by running back Ezekiel Elliott to the Dallas Cowboys. The New York Giants took cornerback Eli Apple at 10, tackle Taylor Decker went to the Detroit Lions at 16 and linebacker Darron Lee was chosen 20th by the New York Jets.
"That's what's expected from Ohio State," Elliott said. "That's why we all went there, because we knew we were going to be prepared to play at the next level."
Apple, for one, is setting his sights high. Asked which NFL quarterback he'd like to intercept first, he went directly to the top of the list.
"Tom Brady would be nice," he said. "I guess in practice, I want to make my mark in practice first. So Eli Manning would be perfect."
For the first time in draft history, three receivers were selected in a row, with Notre Dame's Will Fuller going to the Houston Texans at 21, followed by Texas Christian's Josh Doctson to the Washington Redskins and Mississippi's Laquon Treadwell to the Minnesota Vikings.
The third quarterback to go was Paxton Lynch of Memphis, who openly wept when the Denver Broncos made a trade with the Seahawks to select him with the 26th pick. The Broncos had lost Brock Osweiler in free agency and signed Mark Sanchez, but their quarterback position was still in flux following Peyton Manning's retirement.
"It was honestly the greatest feeling," Lynch said. "I know the work I have put into this and all the stuff I have done going through this process and meeting all these people and talking to all these people. You just want to get picked and go to a team and get to work."
In all, there were 13 trades in the first round, five on draft night.
Most dramatic of those was the move by the Rams, who leapfrogged 14 teams — more than any franchise in league history in order to get to the top spot.
There were some unexpected picks, or at least ones that few of the countless prognosticators predicted.
The Oakland Raiders, for instance, spent 2½ hours in a private workout with Jack last week but chose West Virginia safety Karl Joseph, who didn't show up in many mock drafts — although most evaluators don't pay much heed to those, anyway.
Three picks later, at 17, the Atlanta Falcons selected Florida defensive back Keanu Neal, who wasn't widely discussed as a first-rounder.
Follow Sam Farmer on Twitter: @LATimesfarmer