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Former Ducks await their fate.

Byline: Rob Moseley The Register-Guard

With the inclusion of some unexpected early entry candidates, this week's NFL draft The NFL Draft (officially the NFL Annual Player Selection Meeting[1]) is an annual sports draft in which National Football League (NFL) teams take turns, through seven rounds[2]  will be one of the more intriguing in recent memory involving former Oregon Ducks The Oregon Ducks refers to the mascot and sports teams of the University of Oregon, located in Eugene, Oregon, United States. The Oregon Ducks are part of the Pacific 10 (Pac-10) conference. Donald Duck is the mascot of the University of Oregon under an agreement with Disney. .

One year after only one UO player was selected, linebacker Casey Matthews, the record of six Ducks selected in one draft could be matched by the conclusion of Saturday's final round, or perhaps even exceeded. That would be thanks to the presence not only of graduated seniors such as linebacker Josh Kaddu and tight end David Paulson but also an intriguing trio of juniors: LaMichael James, Darron Thomas and Cliff Harris Clifford Allen Harris (born November 12, 1948 in Fayetteville, Arkansas) is a former professional American football safety who played for the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League for ten seasons. .

This year's NFL draft begins with the first round Thursday, and for the fourth straight season - each since 2008, when Jonathan Stewart Jonathan Creon Stewart (born March 21, 1987 in Fort Lewis, Washington) is a junior running back for the University of Oregon Ducks. Early and personal life
Jonathan Stewart is the son of Jonathan Stewart and Lora Faison.
 went that high - it figures to pass without a player from Oregon being selected.

The second and third rounds are Friday, and by nearly all accounts, from draft analysis found online, James figures to hear his name called at some point.

At least two projections, including one by an NFL NFL
National Football League

NFL (US) n abbr (= National Football League) → Fußball-Nationalliga
 Network analyst, suggest James could be taken by the San Diego Chargers
    “Chargers” redirects here. For other uses, see Charger.

The San Diego Chargers are a professional American football team based in San Diego, California.
 in the third round. But the website predicts that James will be Oregon's first second-round pick since T.J. Ward in 2010, going to the new-look Denver Broncos to play alongside quarterback Peyton Manning Peyton Williams Manning (born March 24, 1976 in New Orleans, Louisiana) is an American football quarterback who plays for the Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League. He was drafted by the Colts with the first overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft. .

"Adding one of the most dynamic playmakers in all of college for the last three years is a huge upgrade," a analyst wrote of Oregon's all-time leading rusher, who posted three of the top four single-season rushing marks in school history before passing up his senior season to enter the draft.

James visited "four or five" teams in person earlier this month, he said, but for the most part has been in Eugene since the beginning of spring term at the university, where he is again enrolled in classes. He won't be able to report to his new team until after graduating in June, and so he's taking the draft as just one more gradual step toward his new career, rather than a dramatic turning point.

"I haven't even been thinking about it," James said Tuesday. "I'm just living day to day. I wouldn't want to get too overwhelmed, so I'm just chilling out."

James will return home to Texarkana, Texas Texarkana, Texas is a municipal designation in Bowie County, Texas, United States which forms the western half of Texarkana. It is separated from Texarkana, Arkansas, by State Line Avenue. , to spend draft weekend with family and close friends. He joked that his only preference is to be selected by a team in a state with low tax rates.

James said the realities of the professional game have been sobering, if not unexpected.

"Nobody genuinely cares about it; it's, can you go out there and make plays, and what can you do for the team," James said.

But he remains confident in his abilities to thrive at the next level, and not just in the third-down, all-purpose role some project, but as an every-down back.

"Everything I got back was always positive," James said of the feedback he received. "A lot of people are going to say what they want to say, but when I talk to the teams, they don't see any negatives. They see me run between the tackles. Football is football."

The final four rounds of the draft will be held Saturday, and it's then the biggest questions about this UO draft class will be answered. Just how much of a risk did Thomas take by passing up his senior season to enter the draft? And how far as Harris' stock fallen based on character concerns relating to relating to relate prepconcernant

relating to relate prepbezüglich +gen, mit Bezug auf +acc 
 his dismissal by the Ducks last fall, and reportedly spotty workouts for pro scouts?

Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said in a conference call with reporters last week of Harris that "at one point in time he looked like a first- or second-round pick. He gets pushed down (now) into the late rounds. He also was a dynamic punt returner, as well, during his career at Oregon. Two years ago he was one of the best return men in college football. He gets pushed way down into the day-three category."

In a previous conference call earlier this winter, Kiper also expressed doubts about the wisdom of Thomas' decision to turn pro this year. But while Kiper said in January that Thomas was "a late-round possibility at best," several projections suggest he will indeed at least achieve that best-case scenario.

One mock draft, by, pegs Thomas for the fifth round, to the Houston Texans, and projects him to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the seventh round.

Saturday also figures to feature the first name called from Oregon State, likely cornerback Brandon Hardin, despite the fact that a shoulder injury sidelined him for his entire senior season.

Also holding out hopes of being drafted out of OSU (Open Source UNIX) Refers to the Unix variants that are maintained as open source, which were primarily BSD Unix and Linux until Sun made its Solaris operating system open source in 2005.  are receiver James Rodgers, who suffered a catastrophic knee injury in the fall of 2011, and linebacker Cameron Collins.

"The draft is very unpredictable," OSU coach Mike Riley said. "Don't count on anything. I've seen guys surprised (by going) early, but more often I've seen guys surprised by the fact they were drafted later than they thought they were going to be. There's no need to even think about it. Frankly, unless you're in the first round somewhere, you don't know, and no agent can tell you what it is, like they've been telling you for months to get you to be one of their clients."

Despite the knee injury that lingered into the 2011 season, Rodgers "will be impossible to cut" once he gets to training camp, Riley predicted, regardless of whether he's acquired through the draft or signed afterward as a free agent.

Bob Clark of The Register-Guard contributed to this report.


Players from local schools, and where - by a consensus of online mock drafts - it's expected they may be selected in the upcoming NFL draft, including those who may end up as undrafted free agents

Player, School Pos Round

LaMichael James, UO RB 3rd

Josh Kaddu, UO LB 4th

Brandon Hardin, OSU CB 5th

Darron Thomas, UO QB 6th

Cliff Harris, UO CB 6th

David Paulson, UO TE 7th

Eddie Pleasant, UO S 7th

Mark Asper, UO OL FA

Darrion Weems, UO OL FA

Lavasier Tuinei, UO WR FA

James Rodgers, OSU WR FA

Cameron Collins, OSU LB FA

Aaron Pflugrad, ASU/Sheldon WR FA
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Title Annotation:Football Oregon
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Apr 25, 2012
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