NFL loads up on Green Room draft hype

The NFL will have a record number of draft prospects in New York, but several of them are likely to be left waiting when Day 1 concludes.

In its infinite wisdom, the NFL announced that a record 30 players will be attending the NFL Draft on opening night May 8.

Some of the classic moments in draft history haven't been the too-familiar (and about two or three seconds too long) man-hugs from Commissioner Roger Goodell – those are just creepy – but it's the embarrassing green room moments. Who can forget gasping lip-readers when Ben Roethlisberger mumbled his disdain? Or the eye-rolling of Brady Quinn's fiancée as her wedding diamond got downsized with each pick? Or the sight of Aaron Rodgers still in the green room while a janitor in the background was stacking chair and removing table linens?

Good times!

However, that was back at a time when the NFL was restricting the number of prospects in the green room to a dozen or so. Thirty? Really?

For the record, here's the list by position:

Quarterbacks – Blake Bortles (Central Florida), Teddy Bridgewater (Louisville), Jimmy Garoppolo (Eastern Illinois), Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M).

Running Backs – None.

Wide Receivers – Odell Beckham (LSU), Brandin Cooks (Oregon State), Mike Evans (Texas A&M), Cody Latimer (Indiana), Marqise Lee (USC), Jordan Matthews (Vanderbilt), Sammy Watkins (Clemson).

Tight Ends – Eric Ebron (North Carolina).

Offensive Linemen – Cyrus Koundjio (Alabama), Taylor Lewan (Michigan), Jake Matthews (Texas A&M), Morgan Moses (Virginia), Greg Robinson (Auburn).

Defensive Linemen – Jadeveon Clowney (South Carolina), Kony Ealy (Missouri), Ra'shede Hageman (Minnesota), Timmy Jernigan (Florida State).

Linebackers – Khalil Mack (Buffalo), C.J. Mosley (Alabama), Ryan Shazier (Ohio State).

Defensive Backs – HaHa Clinton-Dix (Alabama), Kyle Fuller (Virginia Tech), Justin Gilbert (Oklahoma State), Calvin Pryor (Louisville), Bradley Roby (Ohio State), Jason Verrett (TCU).

There are several things that stand out, aside from the fact that dominoes games will break out or perhaps even a Texas Hold 'Em tournament – there will be enough guys waiting to get it done.

While the NFL prepares to spend tonight breaking down a schedule of 2014 opponents that is already known – only the dates are in question at this point – here are the newsworthy nuggets from the league's list of Draft Night invitees.

  • Four quarterbacks are going, but Fresno State's Derek Carr isn't among the group. Carr opted to stay home and be with family, but it smells of an "Up Close and Personal" comparing Garoppolo to fellow EIU alum Tony Romo.

  • No running backs. How far the mighty have fallen, especially given that running back was the only position without representation at Radio City Music Hall.

  • No less than seven wide receivers will be among the Gang of 30 at the draft. It's unclear if some guys just said, "No, I'll avoid the bright lights of Broadway." If they were snubbed, guys like Kelvin Benjamin have a right to be legitimately pissed. Cody Latimer has as much positive buzz around him as anyone, but wasn't viewed as a top 10 type WR when a left foot injury kept him from working out at the Combine, yet he got the call.

  • On the flip side of Latimer's positive momentum heading into the draft, Kouandjio is an interesting choice at offensive line. Nobody questions his pure physical gifts, but he's invited – even though few believe he is a first-round pick.

  • Three linebackers are heading to New York, but UCLA's Anthony Barr isn't one of them. Even if he slides in the draft, Barr wouldn't have ended Day 1 in the green room. There will be several who will.

  • There are a lot of draft analysts who believe Michigan State's Darqueze Dennard will be the first cornerback to get drafted. Those who don't think he will be first likely have him pegged to be the second. He won't be in New York.

    The NFL will make a splashy show tonight of the release of the schedule to get the fans drooling about the Monday night possibilities to come. But the real spring fling is draft weekend.

    The NFL has invited a record number of players to be part of the hype machine that will focus on the stars of the future. Unfortunately, opening night will end with a handful of players (or more) still sitting and waiting. And waiting. And waiting.

    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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