Daily Archives: April 25, 2012

Draft news roundup @ T-minus 24 hours…

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NEW YORK — Experts predicted it would come in the final week before the NFL draft. And, ohhh, has it come.

The misinformation.

It’s deliberately planted by some clubs, in an attempt either to scare off teams nearby in the draft order from a player they actually covet — or to profess love for a lower-graded player, to entice teams down the order to trade up to get him.

Mike Mayock of the NFL Network, for one, has had it.

“There’s so much stuff out there that just drives me crazy right now,” he told reporters Wednesday morning, before the NFL’s PLAY 60 Youth Football Festival at Chelsea Waterside Park, attended by 26 top draft prospects.

“I just go back about two weeks, or three weeks ago, and trust what I feel like is the right thing to trust. There’s way too much misinformation out there.”
Case in point: Justin Blackmon. The Oklahoma State star had been the top-rated wide receiver for months in just about everybody’s ratings and mock drafts — until the past week or so.

“I think Blackmon is still going to be a solid Top 6 pick,” Mayock insisted. “I can’t see him falling beyond that.”

ClaiborneQUOTE OF THE DAY I:
“I’ve been spending my time just trying to watch the Disney channel.”
— LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne (above), on how he avoids the pre-draft speculation circus.

CORNERBACKS DISCUSS BUFFALO VISITS:
After Claiborne, a Top 5 lock, Stephon Gilmore of South Carolina and Dre Kirkpatrick of Alabama are seen as the next best corners.

Both have visited Buffalo. And, yes, with both being Southerners they felt a kinship with Bills GM Buddy Nix, a native Alabamian whose drawl remains thicker ‘an a horse-trader’s mule.

Gilmore“I’m from the country, his kind of country,” Gilmore told me (That’s my snap of him, at right). “I think I’d blend in well in Buffalo. If they believe in me, I’ll be happy with that decision, because I’m going in to work hard.”

Kirkpatrick told me he and Nix are practically Bama neighbours.

“He’s from Talladega, and I’m from Gaston, so we’re 35 minutes away from each other. So that’s a connection we had.

“When I first met him, me and him just clicked. He had a positive energy with me, and we pretty much connected from the jump. We had a couple of great talks.”

Some were about football, even. And those went well too.

“The thing that impressed them was how fast I learned their plays, the plays they put up on the board for me,” Kirkpatrick said.

Last year the Bills drafted Kirkpatrick’s former Bama teammate, defensive tackle Marcell Dareus.

“They’re growing,” Kirkpatrick said. “If I go in there, I’d be trying to bring the best possible energy and enthusiasm that I could.”

RYAN’S ROLLERCOASTER:
The stock of Texas A&M’s Ryan Tannehill — the third rated QB — is all over mock-draft map.

Tannehill“I just try to ignore it all,” Tannehill said Wednesday. “I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t have any inside information or anything like that. I just try to stay out of all the predictions and all that stuff.

“I’m blessed to hear my name called, whether it’s early first, late first, second round — whatever. It’s not really about where you get drafted. It’s about how you play after you get drafted.”

QUOTE OF THE DAY II:
“Yeah, I wonder how the NFL worked that one out. They have a crazy way of getting things done. But it’ll be fun. In that game, neither of us will probably play very much.”
— QB Robert Griffin III, on the fact his soon-to-be Redskins play Andrew Luck‘s Colts in a pre-season game, announced earlier this month.

RG3 THINKS HE HURT COLTS’ FEELINGS:
At one point following the scouting combine, the Colts asked Griffin to work out privately for them.

RG3RG3 declined.

“But I refused everybody,” Griffin said Wednesday. “I didn’t do any private workouts.

“I think after that, feelings might have been hurt (in Indy), or something like that. I went to D.C. on a visit, and (the Colts) didn’t offer a visit at all — so we kinda new what direction they were going in. There’s no hard feelings … I’m not going to hold personal vendettas against anyone.”

 

LIONS CORNERED:
It’s no secret the Detroit Lions need help at cornerback — in a big way. They might have one of the league’s nastiest defensive fronts, but their secondary got scorched repeatedly in 2011.

Mayock doesn’t see help coming from the first round, unless the Lions reach. They pick 23rd.

“I did about 10 mock drafts last night, and I couldn’t find a way to get a corner to the Lions,” Mayock said. “There are three first-round picks that don’t have significant off-the-field issues — and I think Claiborne, Gilmore and Kirkpatrick are all gone before 23.

“So from my perspective, if they want a corner they’re going to either have to move up, or take a guy with significant off-the-field issues.”
Not that such a player would be a stranger on the Lions.

QUOTE OF THE DAY III:
“I told (Vikings GM) Rick Spielman that if they draft me, they won’t worry about a left tackle for the next 10 years.” — USC’s Matt Kalil.

MR. VERSATILE, MR. HUMBLE:
Alabama running back Trent Richardson was asked by a youth reporter from Sports Illustrated Kids what his biggest strength is.

“I don’t have just one,” Richardson said matter-of-factly. “I think (I’m) versatile — being able to catch the ball, run the ball, and block and break down the whole defence.”

Gee, thanks, Trent!!!

EXTRA POINT:
Mayock on why QBs are so valuable:

“The numbers are almost shocking. If you look at the last eight drafts for first-round quarterbacks, 15 of 23 are starters. In the same time period, there have been I think 83 quarterbacks taken in Rounds 2 through 7 — and only seven of them start.”