OSU's Sean Mannion climbing up NFL draft?

FOR A LONG time this offseason, Oregon State corner Steven Nelson has been pegged as the first Beaver most likely to go in the NFL draft. But with the draft getting underway tomorrow, there's been something of a shift out there, with Sean Mannion seemingly on the rise.

ESPN Insider rates Sean Mannion as their No. 4 quarterback prospect available -- with Garrett Grayson and Brett Hundley behind him at fifth and sixth, respectively.

Anyone and everyone this offseason in cyberspace has had Hundley as the third or fourth QB taken (with Bryce Petty the other QB in that frame).

But ESPN has Mannion rated above Hundley -- by two spots.

ESPN isn't necessarily predicting Mannion will go before Hundley in the draft, they're simply rating him as a better pro QB prospect than Hundley.

Still ... that's an eye-opener.

NFLdraftscout.com now has Mannion as a 3-4th round pick, after he spent much of the winter as a 5th-6th round projection.

"I've heard that a good number of teams view Mannion as the best or second-best quarterback behind Winston and Mariota," Newsday's Bob Glauber reported this week.

ESPN has Steven Nelson rated as the No. 16 corner. And NFL.com in their seven-round mock draft sees Nelson as the first Beaver drafted in the fourth round to Tampa Bay. NFLdraftscout.com pegs him as a third-round pick. ESPN's Scouts.com pegs Nelson as a fourth-round talent.

NFL.com, by the way, pegged Mannion as a fifth-round selection by the New Orleans Saints earleir this week.

They also see Obum Gwacham as the third Beaver drafted, in the seventh and final round by Arizona. Most draft sites have Gwacham rated similarly, as a seventh-round pickup, with a few tabbing him as an undrafted free agent.

The NFL Draft, televised by ESPN:
• Round 1: Thursday, April 30, 5 p.m. PT
• Rounds 2-3: Friday, May 1, 4 p.m.
• Rounds 4-7: Saturday, May 2, 9 a.m.

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