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Archive for Saturday, April 26, 2008

Jayhawks’ NFL Draft fate: Hurry up and wait

April 26, 2008

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Multiple Jayhawks await NFL draft

Several Jayhawks will be glued to their television sets this weekend for the NFL Draft. Enlarge video

Where is he headed?

Here's how different mock drafts are predicting the destination of former KU cornerback Aqib Talib:

Don Banks, Sports Illustrated: First round (No. 30, Green Bay)

Vic Carucci, NFL.com: First round (No. 22, Dallas)

Frank Coyle, draftinsiders.com: First round (No. 30, Green Bay)

Tom Curran, NBCSports.com: First round (No. 18, Houston)

Mel Kiper, ESPN.com: First round (No. 20, Tampa Bay)

Todd McShay, Scouts, Inc.: First round (No. 19, Philadelphia)

Pete Prisco, CBSSports.com: First round (No. 20, Tampa Bay)

Peter Schrager, Fox Sports: First round (No. 16, Arizona)

The Sporting News: Second round (No. 37, Baltimore)

Paul Zimmerman, Sports Illustrated: First round (No. 19, Philadelphia)

Anthony Collins and Aqib Talib are with family today, watching the NFL Draft and the hopeful realization of their dreams with the loved ones who helped get them there.

Kansas University's All-America football talents left school a year early to take the professional plunge. Starting at 2 p.m. today, they will find out if it was worth the risk.

"I'm really excited," said Collins, who was with family in Lake Charles, La., this week. "I'm just ready for this day to come."

Collins, an offensive tackle, declared in January knowing he was projected as a second- or third-round selection. That hasn't changed, even after a month of training in Tempe, Ariz., and two workouts in front of scouts at the NFL Combine and KU's Pro Day.

Collins hasn't worked out for any teams since. But he recently traveled to visit personnel of several franchises, including the Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins, Washington Redskins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Jets.

It could be an agonizing day for Collins. The first two rounds are scheduled to be conducted today in New York. Rounds 3-7 will take place starting at 9 a.m. Sunday.

That puts Collins firmly on the bubble between a selection today and another day of waiting.

It's not quite as antsy for Talib, who Collins said was in Dallas with family.

"He's feeling real good," Collins said. "He know he's going in the first round, so he's feeling good."

Talib probably is first-round-bound, but not definitely. He has been tagged with the dreaded "character concern" label stemming from a published report regarding failed drug tests while at Kansas. The normally outspoken Talib has been silent about the issue. His agent, Todd France, has not returned messages seeking comment.

Regardless, Talib is viewed as one of the elite cornerback talents available. Several mock drafts have Talib going between 18th and 30th overall, but it depends largely on the tastes of individual teams. Talib is in a tight competition with Troy's Leodis McKelvin, South Florida's Mike Jenkins and Tennessee State's Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie for title of best cornerback prospect.

If Talib is picked in the first round, he'll be the first Jayhawk selected that early since defensive tackle Dana Stubblefield went 26th overall in 1993.

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History: With Talib and Collins all but certain to get picked, it will mark the first time since 2002 that Kansas has had two draft picks in one year. Nate Dwyer (fourth round) and Justin Hartwig (sixth) both were second-day selections in '02.

Kansas, in fact, hasn't had a draft pick at all since 2005, when David McMillan was the fifth-round pick of the Cleveland Browns.

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Henry ready: Former KU wide receiver Marcus Henry has no special plans for watching this weekend's NFL Draft. But he is glad it's finally here.

"It's taken a long time for this weekend to come up," Henry said, "but I'm getting excited now."

Henry did a workout with the Kansas City Chiefs recently and had several teams contact him. The best-case scenario is a mid-round selection, but he's almost certain to get a free-agent deal at the worst.

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Possible picks: Another KU draft possibility is defensive tackle James McClinton, who was a second-team All-American last season.

Todd McShay of Scouts, Inc., did a seven-round mock draft for ESPN.com and has McClinton being picked in the sixth round by the New York Giants.

Other possibilities to get picked up either through the draft or a free-agent deal Sunday include fullback Brandon McAnderson, tight end Derek Fine, kicker Scott Webb and punter Kyle Tucker.

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