The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

April 23, 2013

NFL draft: 10 things to watch for during draft

(Continued)

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BEEFING UP EARLY

Watch for all the beef early in the first round. There's a chance seven of the first 10 picks could be really big fellas. Among them are offensive linemen Luke Joeckel (306 pounds), Eric Fisher (306), Chance Warmack (317), Lane Johnson (303) and Jonathan Cooper (311); and defensive linemen Sharrif Floyd (297) and Ziggy Ansah (271).

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WILL TIDE ROLL AGAIN IN 1ST ROUND?

A year ago, the national champions had four players picked: RB Trent Richardson (No. 3), SS Mark Barron (No. 7), CB Dre Kirkpatrick (No.17) and LB Dont'a Hightower (No. 25). National champs again, there are five that could end up as first-rounders: Warmack, cornerback Dee Milliner, offensive tackle D.J. Fluker, defensive tackle Jesse Williams, and running back Eddie Lacy.

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FAMILY TIES

Every year, a slew of players with family ties to the NFL are draft eligible. This year is no exception, with a few dozen all-in-the-family connections. Among them are QBs Nate Montana (son of Joe Montana) and Jordan Rodgers (brother of Aaron Rodgers), Jake Ryan (son of Pat Ryan), Duron Carter (son of Cris Carter), Luke Tasker (son of Steve Tasker), Kyle Long (son of Howie Long, brother of Chris Long) and Baker Steinkuhler (son of Dean Steinkuhler).

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HALL OF FAME PICKERS

A total of 32 former NFL players will be announcing second- and third-round picks for teams, including newly elected Hall of Famers Jonathan Ogden (Ravens), Warren Sapp (Buccaneers) and Dave Robinson (Packers). Others making picks for their former teams include Deion Sanders (Falcons) and Larry Little (Dolphins).

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BEST STORYLINES

Houston cornerback D.J. Hayden and South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore.

Hayden was moments from death last November after an on-field collision with a teammate tore a blood vessel off the back of his heart. He was taken to a hospital, underwent lifesaving surgery, and now could be a first-round pick. He ran a 4.33 40-yard dash at Houston's pro day in March, and now he'll wait to see if a team believes his talent and speed is worth the risk.

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