NFL Draft Buzz: April 26th

Scout.com's Ed Thompson has been talking to his NFL sources and to NFL prospects like Miami linebacker Jon Beason to find out about team interests and visits. Get updates on Beason, BYU quarterback John Beck and other players who'll be drafted this weekend...

Miami linebacker Jon Beason was in touch tonight and told me that he's not over-anxious despite the grueling 4-month process he's been through leading up to the draft. He feels he's done all he can to show teams who he is and how he'll be an asset to their organizations, so now, "it is what it is," he said.

As we talked I asked him to recap briefly his last three pre-draft visits with the Colts, Giants and Steelers.

In Indianapolis, Beason got to do something that I've never heard of a prospect doing during a pre-draft visit with the Colts. He watched film with head coach Tony Dungy. 

"It was an honor and a privilege," Beason said. 

With the departure of former Pro Bowl weakside linebacker Cato June, Beason would be able to compete with second-year player Freddie Keiaho for the starter's role, but if Indy wants him, they'll likely have to move up, something that the usually patient Colts rarely do.

In Pittsburgh, Beason also received the star treatment, having dinner with owner Dan Rooney the night before his visit with the coaching staff. Then he spent time with both head coach Mike Tomlin and watched film with Steelers linebackers coach Keith Butler for a couple of hours.

By contrast, the Giants lumped Beason in with a huge group of visitors who all converged in New York on the same day and were rotated through to meet with various members of the staff. But he said he got to spend some time with Florida State's Lawrence Timmons which was fun since the two have struck up a friendship over the past couple of months.

Jon's going to be spending the day on Saturday at a draft party that's being held in his honor at a nearby sports bar. He'll be surrounded by family, high school and college coaches and other people that he felt were instrumental in helping him over the years.

Too Much Fun


Clemson center Dustin Fry (Roy Philpot/CUTigers.com)
While I've had fun talking to all of the more than 50 draft prospects that were good enough to share their thoughts with me over the past couple of months, I've got to tell you that I was glad that I was able to hook up with both Clemson center Dustin Fry and Texas offensive guard Kasey Studdard over the last few days. These two guys are colorful, fun-loving guys who give great interviews--but are not the kind of guys you want to tangle with on the football field. You'll be able to check both of their interviews out on Friday here at Scout.com.

The 6-foot-3, 315 pound Fry, whose nickname is "Biggie" (Biggie Fry...get it?) worked out for Patriots assistant head coach and offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia on Wednesday the 18th. But an AFC East rival has noticed Fry as well, as the Clemson center told me that Bo Davis, an assistant with Miami, watched film with him one-on-one on the morning of his Pro Day.

In addition to Davis, Chiefs' offensive coordinator Mike Solari and Giants offensive line coach Pat Flaherty were active in testing Fry and the other offensive linemen both in a meeting and during the workouts. Coaches from the Panthers and Bengals assisted in the on-field workouts only. 

At the Combine, Fry had formal interviews with New Orleans, San Diego and Cleveland. 

Studdard, the son former Broncos offensive lineman Dave Studdard, was a First-Team All-Big 12 selection this year and a team co-captain at Texas.  Bill Frisbie at our Texas site at Scout.com referred to the 6-foot-3, 305-pound offensive guard as a "blue collar, hard-nosed quirky inside lineman" that he sees as almost "a throwback to some of the Longhorn greats from the 1960s and 1970s."

So who's taking a look at Studdard? Well, he told me that at his Pro Day, he drew the most attention from the Packers, Bengals and the Jets. And the Bengals pulled him aside to work him out as a center. 

Studdard also had a pre-draft visit with the Browns, and I'll be sharing an audio clip in our Friday interview feature so you can hear what he had to say about meeting with Cleveland head coach Romeo Crennel and the rest of his visit.

Don't be surprised

BYU quarterback John Beck told me earlier this evening that his visits, which were first reported in this NFL Draft Buzz feature, with New Orleans, Detroit and Baltimore all went very well. In New Orleans, he met with the quarterbacks coach primarily, but in Detroit and Baltimore he said he met with the head coach, GM and owners. And according to Beck, one of those teams said, "we have you at No. 2," so if they were being straight with him, don't be surprised to see him come off the board above some other quarterbacks that have been getting more media mentions.

I can tell you from interviewing John that he's got some Peyton Manning-like qualities in his personality and his communications style. You'll see in my interview with him--that will be available on Friday morning--that this is a guy who is truly driven to be the best, to strive for perfection, and has the confidence and determination to make it happen. And I think some teams have picked up on that as they've had the opportunity to sit down and talk to him over the last few months.

Longtime friends will watch together

The last time I checked in with North Carolina State cornerback A.J. Davis, he said that he had a workout with the Giants and a visit scheduled with the Jets. But instead of packing his bags to visit the Jets facilities, the team came to him instead. He didn't workout for them, they just wanted to get to know him better as a player and a person.

Davis said he did get another visit opportunity, though. He traveled to Foxborough to meet with the Patriots. While he was there, Davis said he spent some time watching film with New England's defensive coordinator, Dean Pees.

During the last couple of months, I had interviewed A.J. a few times and also Wake Forest safety Josh Gattis, whose two-part feature is being published this evening at Scout.com. But what I didn't know was that the pair are lifelong friends who have known each other since they were about 6 years old.  They even played football together all through school until they went their separate ways to attend different colleges.

Josh told me this evening that he and A.J. are planning to spend the weekend watching the draft together, but they're beginning with a little fishing on Saturday morning to relax. And although he had visits with the Patriots and the Panthers, as I reported in this NFL Draft Buzz feature, he's been getting some very strong interest this week from the Falcons and the Seahawks, especially from Atlanta. Both of those teams had formal interviews with him at the Combine.

A member of the Professional Football Writers of America, Ed Thompson's NFL and college football player interviews and features have been published across the Scout.com network and syndicated through FoxSports.com's NFL team pages.



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