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Question of the Day
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 his graduation ceremony.
Those were the least of the complications Saturday at the NFL draft, which completed its three-day run at Radio City Music Hall 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.
A total of 254 players were selected over seven rounds. But only a few lucky first-rounders were able to pick up playbooks Friday during a brief time when the lockout was lifted.
The Carolina Panthers opened the fourth round by selecting West Virginia cornerback Brandon Hogan. The 5-foot-10, 192-pounder not only has 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 just about to receive his diploma at his graduation ceremony.
“As soon as I got off the phone, two minutes later I had to go up there and walk across the stage,” Wright said.
Day 3 of the draft 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 draft concluded with the Houston Texans picking Rice linebacker Cheta Ozougwu. As the final pick, he will be honored as “Mr. Irrelevant,” a weeklong celebration in Newport Beach, Calif., that began in 1976.
The Arizona Cardinals, trying to improve their pass rush, selected Texas linebacker Sam Acho in the fourth round. The 6-1, 257-pounder in December won the Campbell Trophy and a $25,000 scholarship given by the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame as the nation’s top scholar athlete.
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