SI.com At The Draft (cont.)
Kansas City, 3:41 p.m.
The Rams right now are listening to what I would term tepid offers from two teams, including the Jets, to move up to number two.
I'm told the offers right now are not nearly enough to get the pick, and the Rams are still quite likely to use the pick on an offensive lineman or maybe Mark Sanchez. But a lineman is much more likely there.
I'm not sure what team is competing with the Jets, but I'm guessing Washington. Big mystery there.
If the Jets get the pick, it would have to be for the 17th pick this year and next year's one ... plus something else.
New York City, 3:36 p.m.
By the time Aaron Curry went up to his room at the Westin to start getting dressed for the draft, a few of his fellow draft hopefuls had already made it down to the lobby, dressed and ready to get on the buses that would take them to Radio City Music Hall an hour later.
Curry had a good excuse for running late, however. He was doing interviews with ESPN and NFL Network with Bryson Merriweather, the 11-year-old boy from Alabama whom Curry met at St. Jude Children's Hospital in Memphis and invited to New York for the draft. Curry had spent all day Thursday with Bryson and his father, first at the Empire State Building, then at ESPN Zone for lunch, and then for a shopping spree at Niketown, and Curry had covered their airfare and hotel expenses.
For all that Curry had given him, Bryson wanted to give something back. Before Curry got on the elevator to head to his room and change, Bryson gave him a backgammon set from St. Jude's as well as an autographed football card of himself. Curry proudly displayed Bryson's card when he got back upstairs for all his well-wishers to see. "First and only one," he said. "This kid's going to be a future Pro Bowler some day."
Foxboro, Mass., 3:33 p.m.
I just got settled at Gillette in time to catch an NFL Network interview with Bill Belichick.
He made a couple interesting comments, saying that the chances of the Patriots bundling their picks and moving into the top 10 are "less than zero." A report on Boston sports radio WEEI I heard on the way down, meanwhile, squashed rumors of the Patriots moving up to grab Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree. So that's two reports indicating the Patriots will stay put at No. 23. But given New England's track record, not to mention the general minefields of misinformation that seem to define draft day for every team, it's hard to put a lot of stock in the current wave of news. Belichick did leave some wiggle room, noting that there were "a lot of inquiries on our picks."
He also said the Patriots will go for the "highest player available" on their board and not draft for need.
Belichick will address the media after New England's first selection. In the meantime, there's a fan event here at Gillette and I'll scope that out to gauge their mood (most likely giddy given the general tenor of Boston sports these days). I'll also check in by phone with fans at some of the various draft parties taking place around the Boston area to get their reaction, too. Belichick's Patriots have a history of surprising fans with their picks, so it will be interesting to hear what they have to say.
Ann Arbor, Mich., 3:28 p.m.
Ah, access. Sports networks love nothing more than promoting insider status. Courtesy of ESPN communications ace Bill Hofheimer, ESPN will have cameras at the following draft day parties and homes:
Connor Barwin, Cincinnati
ESPN will also be with uber-agent Drew (Next Question) Rosenhaus, who reps LeShon McCoy (Pitt), Darius Butler (UConn), Alphonso Smith (Wake Forest), Louis Delmas (Western Mich) and Cornelius Ingram (Florida).
Florida all-purpose back Percy Harvin and USC linebacker Rey Maualuga turned down the ESPN cameras.
Eden Prairie, Minn., 3:22 p.m.
One of the best things about draft day, NBA or NFL, is the misinformation and gamesmanship. I'm way more familiar with the latter than the former, having covered about 20 NBA drafts through the years to about a half dozen pro football editions, but the cat-and-mouse stuff is very much the same. Everyone wants to know what the other guys are thinking, no one wants to tip his hand as to what he himself might be considering and they all treat the media as an annoying but necessary nuisance, vital to spreading their gospel --- and misinformation --- but prone to asking pesky questions.
This leads to a lot of flat-out guessing, to fill the vacuum of legit facts, and that was in full bloom at Winter Park in suburban Eden Prairie, Minn., in the days and hours leading up to the Minnesota Vikings' draft maneuvers. This much was clear: The Vikings had been showing a special interest in controversial Forida wide receiver Percy Harvin for the No. 22 pick, even dispatching head coach Brad Childress to Gainesville early in the week to meet with and discuss some of Ha rvin's alleged issues man-to-man. Let's all remember, Childress' undergraduate degree from Eastern Illinois is in psychology. Hmmm. He can be his own Wonderlic.
Harvin was strictly a caveat emptor choice as Saturday arrived -- I'm not sure if that was an official Scouts, Inc., designation or not but in reportedly failing the drug test at the NFL scouting combine in February (marijuana), Harvin added to a pile of character questions that stretch back to altercations he had with one coach/teacher and other students in high school. There was the 12 he was said to have scored on the Wonderlic test (prospects typically average 20, with receivers hovering closer to 17), as well as nagging physical issues with his neck, ankle and foot. Then again, Harvin is considered an extreme talent and a terrific complement to the Vikings' Bernard Berrian. Last season, the 5-11½ receiver caught 40 passes for 644 yards and seven touchdowns, and rushed for 660 yards on 70 carries with 10 touchdowns. The Vikings are convinced he could log time, in a Devin Hester way, returning kicks and punts, even though he has little or no experience at that.
Keeping him on the field, out of the trainer's room and out of trouble apparently would be the greater challenge than anything he'd encounter on Sundays .. Which gets back to the Vikings' cloak-and-dagger stuff. They refused to confirm their continuing investigation and conversation with Harvin, but they didn't exactly deny it. It seemed as if they were quite content to have the info out there, if only to keep the other teams guessing. Then again, in this economy, a special, short-notice trip to Florida is a luxury if it's only meant as a smokescreen. So there was a definite feeling of "They think that we think that they think that we think ...'' around the facility as Saturday's selections approached.
The Vikings have six picks -- no fourth, no sixth but two sevenths -- and wouldn't mind adding a couple, even if it meant sliding down a few spots. Their other great need is on the right side of their offensive line and they feel the options a little later might be just as good as they will be at No. 22.
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