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Gilbert's prayers answered by Arizona

When he wasn't picked in the first three rounds of the NFL draft Saturday, <b>Tony Gilbert</b> decided the appropriate place for him to watch the final four rounds Sunday was his home church in Macon.

When he wasn't picked in the first three rounds of the NFL draft Saturday, Tony Gilbert decided the appropriate place for him to watch the final four rounds Sunday was his home church in Macon.

"I figured I would be doing a lot of praying,'' Tony Gilbert said. Sitting in the fellowship hall of Pentecostal Temple church with his father, brother and a few friends, Gilbert's prayers were answered when he was picked by the Arizona Cardinals in the sixth round.

Aware that some of his University of Georgia teammates were not drafted, including fellow linebacker Chris Clemons, receiver Terrence Edwards and offensive tackle Kareem Marshall, Gilbert was especially grateful to get the call from the Cardinals.

"I'm just glad to be part of an organization right now,'' Gilbert said Sunday. "I just want to go in and prove the same things I did at Georgia.'' Gilbert led Georgia in tackles three straight years, sharing the lead with Boss Bailey, a second-round pick by Detroit Saturday, last season.

Despite enjoying a college career notable for its productivity and consistency, Gilbert did not fare as well as some other linebacker prospects in the workout drills - including the 40-yard dash and vertical jump - that heavily influence some draft decisions.

The only other Georgia player drafted Sunday was fullback J.T. Wall, a seventh-round pick by Pittsburgh. Wall will join another former Georgia fullback, Verron Haynes, on the Steelers' depth chart.

Clemons, who left Georgia after his junior season, was perhaps the biggest surprise of the players not drafted. Clemons was projected as a mid-rounds pick but instead now will have to sign with a team as an undrafted free agent.

Edwards set the Southeastern Conference's career record for receiving yards but was hurt by his lack of size.

Clemons, Edwards, Marshall, punter Jonathan Kilgo and offensive guard Alex Jackson should have chances to earn invitations to NFL camps as free agents. After having five players drafted Saturday, Georgia finished with seven players in the draft, one shy of the the school record of eight selected last year.

Including six last year, Georgia has had nine defensive players selected in the last two drafts.

For the second time in three years, Georgia had two first-rounders and two second-rounders. In 1001, Richard Seymour and Marcus Stroud were drafted in the first round, followed by Kendrell Bell and Quincy Carter in the second round.

On Saturday, defensive tackle Johnathan Sullivan and offensive tackle George Foster were first-round picks, followed by Bailey and offensive tackle Jon Stinchcomb in the second round.

Gilbert said he received a call from Arizona coach Dave McGinnis Sunday. "He told me they needed some linebackers to come in and help out and play special teams to help the team get better,'' Gilbert said.

Gilbert said he was worried after watching the first three rounds Saturday. "I saw the linebackers that were taken,'' Gilbert said. "You don't really compare yourself, but I thought I was up there with some of the linebackers picked. I guess everything works out for the good.''

Added Gilbert: "I'm just thanking God it worked out.''


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