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April 25, 2008For Purdue's draft hopefuls preparing for one of the biggest days of their lives this weekend, it's a matter of playing dumb.
As tempting as it may be to obsess over the million mock drafts and sets of projections bouncing around cyberspace in advance of this weekend's NFL draft, the hopefuls themselves pay little attention to it.
Or so they say, anyway.
"I don't get caught up in that at all, because you never know," linebacker Stanford Keglar said. "All those guys who do the predictions, a lot of times they are pretty close, but no one knows exactly who the owners and coaches are going to pick when it comes down to it."
The intel linebacker-defensive end Cliff Avril's received has been mixed, so he's not taking it too seriously, either.
"I've heard anywhere from late first- to third-round," Avril said. "But I really don't know, I try not to pay too much attention to the speculation."
If that speculation is to be believed, by and large, tight end Dustin Keller might expect to be drafted Saturday, the first day of the event; unlike past years, the draft's first day will include only Rounds 1 and 2. Before it was the first three.
Avril and Keglar have been widely viewed as high as second- or third-round material, probably no lower than fourth.
Wide receiver Dorien Bryant looks like a mid-round draft pick.
Among the late-round possibilities/free-agent likelihoods are cornerback Terrell Vinson, offensive linemen Jordan Grimes and Robbie Powell, safety Justin Scott and punter Jared Armstrong.
Purdue NFL draft notes
Thirty-two Boilermakers have been drafted in the past 10 years, with 24 more signing free-agent contracts with NFL teams.
The most players Purdue's had drafted in a single year during that time frame was nine in the 2004 draft.
The fewest was in '03, when only linebacker Joe Odom was picked out of a small senior class.
Keller will become just the second tight end drafted under Joe Tiller's watch, joining Charles Davis, who was drafted in the fifth round by Pittsburgh in 2006, but didn't make the Steeler roster. He's now in the Jacksonville Jaguars organization. He's also been with the Panthers and Giants but has not yet played in a game.
Prior to Davis, you have to go all the way back to Cliff Benson, a fifth-rounder in '84.
Startlingly, Bryant will only be the third wide receiver picked since Tiller took over. The others were Brian Alford in the 1998 draft and Vinny Sutherland in 2001.
Avril will become the eighth Boilermaker defensive end drafted under the Tiller regime, joining Rosevelt Colvin, Chike Okeafor, Akin Ayodele, Shaun Phllips, Rob Ninkovich, Ray Edwards and Anthony Spencer.
The only defensive ends who've not been drafted after being full-time starters under Tiller have been Chukie Nwokorie, Brian Dinkins and Kevin Nesfield.
Nwokorie, though, still enjoyed an extended stint in the league after getting a foot in the door as a free agent.
Should Keller sneak into the first round, as some mock drafts have suggested he could, it'd mark the second year in a row Purdue's produced a first-round pick, after Anthony Spencer was picked No. 26 overall by the Dallas Cowboys last year.
Prior to that, Purdue didn't produce a first-round choice since Rod Woodson went 10th to Pittsburgh in 1987.
Purdue hasn't turned out a first-rounder in consecutive drafts since the mid-'70s.
Nineteen Boilermakers all-time have been picked in Round 1.
Here's a look at Purdue's all-time first-round picks. (Pick number at end.)
1937: Johnny Drake, Back, Cleveland Rams, 10
1938: Cecil Isbell, Back, Green Bay Packers, 7
1955: Tom Bettis, Guard, Green Bay Packers, 5
1957: Len Dawson, Quarterback, Pittsburgh Steelers, 5
1963: Don Brumm, Defensive End, St. Louis Cardinals, 13
1966: Jerry Shay, Tackle, Minnesota Vikings, 7
1967: Bob Griese, Quarterback, Miami Dolphins, 4
1967: John Charles, Defensive Back, Boston Patriots 21
1969: Leroy Keyes, Running Back, Philadelphia Eagles, 3
1970: Mike Phipps, Quarterback, Cleveland Browns, 3
1973: Dave Butz, Defensive Tackle, St. Louis Cardinals, 5
1973: Otis Armstrong, Running Back, Denver Broncos, 9
1973: Darryl Singley, Wide Receiver, New England Patriots, 19
1975: Larry Burton, Wide Receiver, New Orleans Saints, 7
1976: Mike Pruitt, Running Back, Cleveland Browns, 7
1976: Ken Novak, Defensive Tackle, Baltimore Colts, 20
1986: Jim Everett, Quarterback, Houston Oilers, 3
1987: Rod Woodson, Defensive Back, Pittsburgh Steelers, 10
2007: Anthony Spencer, Defensive End, Dallas Cowboys, 26
Former Boilermaker wide receiver Selwyn Lymon is also eligible for the draft, but no projections to date have included him.
Lymon was dismissed from the team shortly after the regular season, and later declared himself eligible to be drafted, rather than transferring out of Division I-A to play one more season.
The seven-round, 252-pick draft begins at 3 p.m. Saturday, broadcast on ESPN. The final five rounds begin at 10 a.m. Sunday.
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