Jitters fill NFL green room

MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:40 AM ET

Maybe it’s because the NFL knows it won’t have a lot to show its fans for a while.

Or maybe it’s because they love to watch a guy squirm as team after team passes on him, leaving him the lone player still in the green room and likely looking for a hole to crawl into.

It happened to Aaron Rodgers so it can happen to anyone.

A total of 25 players will be on hand at Radio City Music Hall in New York beginning Thursday for the NFL draft, hoping beyond hope that there’s still someone sitting there when they have their name called.

The list of 25 players is the most ever invited to the draft. Longest wait in the green room on record belongs to Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Brandon Ghee who was selected 96th overall on the second day of the draft last year.

Before Ghee the record belonged to Packers quarterback Rodgers who slipped to No. 24 in 2005 before he could leave the shame of an empty green room behind.

Three names jump off of this year’s invited list.

Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich is a great story having beaten cancer to return to the gridiron. Depending on where you look he could go as high as the second round or as low as the seventh.

That could be a long wait.

Virginia Tech running back Ryan Williams and UCLA safety Rahim Moore have also been invited despite not owning consistent first-round draft stock.

Only two quarterbacks — Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert — have been invited to New York for the draft.

Last year both Jimmy Clausen and Tim Tebow declined invitations to the green room. Tebow wound up going in the first round but Clausen slipped to the second day.

The invitees

(The NFL has invited 25 players to the first round of the draft Thursday night in New York. Here’s a look at the 25 who will fill the green room)

(The league has invited 25 players to the first round of the draft Thursday night in New York. Here’s a look at the 25 who will fill the green room)

* Prince Amukamara CB Nebraska

* Akeem Ayers LB UCLA

* Adrian Clayborn DE Iowa

* Randall Cobb WR Kentucky

* Marcell Dareus DT Alabama

* Nick Fairley DT Auburn

* Blaine Gabbert QB Missouri

* A.J. Green WR Georgia

* Mark Herzlich LB Boston College

* Mark Ingram RB Alabama

* Cameron Jordan DE California

* Julio Jones WR Alabama

* Ryan Kerrigan DE Purdue

* Corey Liuget DT Illnois

* Von Miller LB Texas A&M

* Rahim Moore S UCLA

* Cam Newton QB Auburn

* Patrick Peterson CB LSU

* Mike Pouncey OL Florida

* Aldon Smith DE Missouri

* Tyron Smith OT USC

* Phil Taylor DT Baylor

* Danny Watkins OG Baylor

* JJ Watt DE Wisconsin

* Ryan Williams RB Virginia Tech

Mocking the mock boards

I guess when you’re the architect of the defending Super Bowl champs you can afford to be a little cocky.

Green Bay GM Ted Thompson certainly isn’t holding back.

According to Peter King in his Monday Morning Quarterback feature on S.I.com, Thompson seems to have had his fill of pre-draft prognosticators and mock draft artists.

“There’s a lot of interest in the draft. It’s great,” Thompson said. “But quite frankly most of the people that are commenting on it don’t know anything about what they are talking about.”

As cocky as that sounds, it’s likely just as accurate.

All the draft gurus out there are reliant on the men actually drawing up the draft boards for their information. The draft board in the NFL is protected like most protect their children. In other words, no one is going to be handing out that kind of information, which means most of what you’re reading is speculation based on little.

But that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun.

Rumour hurts Taylor

Phil Taylor was feeling like a victim of an unknown bully.

And at 6-foot-3 and 335 pounds, that’s got to be one brazen or very careful bully.

Reports suggesting Taylor has a rare foot problem where the bones in his feet were growing together were unearthed at the NFL Combine and his stock began to plummet.

The Baylor nose tackle has consistently denied there is any problem with his feet.

“It’s bad information, and I don’t like it because it’s messing me up,” he said. “It’s not true.”

Sports Illustrated’s Peter King used his reach to further spread the word on Monday.

“He wasn’t asked to return to Indianapolis for the medical re-check on his foot, as many players are when they have lingering health issues before the draft,” King wrote in his Monday Morning Quarterback. “He had his foot X-rayed again by the 49ers on a recent visit, and he told me the 49ers team doctor told him there was nothing wrong with his foot long-term.”

As a versatile interior lineman, there are a lot of team fits out there in the first round for Taylor, but if the foot problem (or at least the appearance of a foot problem) persists, there’s no way Taylor stays on that first round board.


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