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Day 3 of NFL draft: Lockout on, picks keep coming
NEW YORK (AP) - One fourth-round draft pick won’t be ready to run until August. Another wasn’t ready to talk to his new team because he was in the middle of graduation.
Those were the least of the complications Saturday at the NFL draft, which resumed on its third and final day against a backdrop of a restored lockout. Right now, no one is sure when clubs will be ready to let any players walk back in to team headquarters.
“With the lockout, there’s so much uncertainty,” said tight end Kyle Rudolph, a second-round pick of the Minnesota Vikings. “I’m just focused on getting myself in the best shape as possible and being ready whenever we are allowed to” show up.
The Carolina Panthers opened the fourth round by selecting West Virginia cornerback Brandon Hogan. The 5-foot-10, 192-pound Hogan not only has checkered past of off-field issues, but he’s recovering from ligament surgery on his left knee. Hogan won’t be able to begin running full speed until August.
“My knee is ahead of schedule,” he insisted. “It’s getting stronger and getting used to doing things.”
The Panthers, who chose quarterback Cam Newton with the No. 1 overall pick to open the draft Thursday night and added a pair of defensive tackles Friday, are hoping Hogan recovers and stays out of trouble to bolster a secondary in need of depth.
The Seattle Seahawks went next and picked Mississippi State linebacker K.J. Wright. General manager John Schneider gave Wright a call in Starkville and was puzzled why the player had so little to say. Well, it turns out Wright was in the midst of a graduation ceremony.
A wacky three days at Radio City Music Hall was coming to an end. This was the first full day that players were locked out again after a brief respite Friday. That night, however, an appeals court decision allowed the league to reinstate the lockout that had been lifted earlier in the week.
But the draft carried on because it is protected under the old collective bargaining agreement, which expired March 11.
The Arizona Cardinals moved to improve their pass rush by selecting Texas linebacker Sam Acho. The 6-1, 257-pounder was recently honored with a $25,000 scholarship as the nation’s top scholar athlete.
Two picks later, another Matthews joined the NFL when Oregon linebacker Casey Matthews was picked by the Philadelphia Eagles. He’s the brother of Packers All-Pro linebacker Clay Matthews and the first Oregon player chosen in this draft. The Eagles are well aware of Clay Matthews _ they had a hard time handling him last year.
“Clay had some success against them,” Casey Matthews said. “At the conclusion of my visit when I was out there, Coach (Andy) Reid said, ‘Tell your brother we’re gonna get him next year with you on the team.’ And I told Clay that. I don’t think they have the Packers on the schedule, but hopefully we get them in the playoffs.”
Minutes later, the Eagles made Nebraska All-American Alex Henery the first kicker taken with the 23rd pick of the fourth round. Henery hit 18-of-19 field goal attempts (10-of-11 from 40 yards or longer) and all 54 extra points last season. He also punts.
By John R. Bolton
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