Green room should provide entertainment value

NFL Draft (Jim McIsaac/Getty)

The green room at the NFL draft is getting fuller each year. This year, 26 draft prospects will be attending in New York City. Who will be the last man in the green room this year, and how long will he last? Two weeks from Friday morning, there could still be some candidates waiting.

In the days leading up to the actual NFL draft, mock drafts will come pouring out like floodwater. Everyone who believes they know who teams will take (or throws spaghetti at the wall hoping something will stick) is going to put on their thinking/dunce caps to make picks.

You can include the NFL on that list as well.

On Thursday, the league announced that 26 players are going to be invited to the NFL draft, representing 10 positions. They are:

Quarterbacks: Robert Griffin III (Baylor), Andrew Luck (Stanford), Ryan Tannehill (Texas A&M).

Running back: Trent Richardson (Alabama).

Wide receivers: Justin Blackmon (Oklahoma State), Michael Floyd (Notre Dame), Stephen Hill (Georgia Tech), Rueben Randle (LSU), Kendall Wright (Baylor).

Tight end: Coby Fleener (Stanford).

Offensive tackles: Cordy Glenn (Georgia), Matt Kalil (USC).

Defensive ends: Quinton Coples (North Carolina), Melvin Ingram (South Carolina), Nick Perry (USC).

Defensive tackles: Michael Brockers (LSU), Fletcher Cox (Mississippi State), Dontari Poe (Memphis), Devon Still (Penn State).

Linebackers: Dont'a Hightower (Alabama), Shea McClellin (Boise State), Courtney Upshaw (Alabama).

Cornerbacks: Morris Claiborne (LSU), Stephon Gilmore (South Carolina), Dre Kirkpatrick (Alabama).

Safety: Mark Barron (Alabama).

What may be the most interesting aspect of the NFL's invitations is at wide receiver – a position the Vikings are likely to attempt to address early in the draft – where five players are heading to New York for the draft proceedings. It's funny how wide receivers end up being ranked by NFL decision-makers as opposed to how they are viewed by the media and the mock draft types. It seems like every year a case can be made why four, five or six WRs could go in the first round and, when the picks actually get made, that numbers drops to two or three.

Few things are more humbling to rookies than to be dressed in their Sunday (or Thursday night) best only to remain in the green room much longer than they could have envisioned. Aaron Rodgers was perhaps the most glaring example, but visions of Brady Quinn's fiancée downsizing her engagement rock with each team that passed on the Notre Dame QB still emits chuckles.

As fans prepare for the draft and media types suddenly become draft experts, the NFL may have done a lot of their work for them. With 32 picks in the first round, as many as 26 of them will be in the New York for the draft. How many of them will actually get picked in the first round? Stay tuned and watch the anxiety in the green room.

Note: The Vikings' preseason schedule was finalized and announced Friday. The first three games are all on Friday nights and the preseason finale is on a Thursday night. The Vikings open Aug. 10 at the San Francisco 49ers at 8 p.m. Central, then host the Buffalo Bills at 7 p.m. Aug. 17 and the San Diego Chargers at 7 p.m. Aug. 24 before closing the preseason at 6 p.m. Aug. 30 at the Houston Texans.


John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.


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