2014 DRAFT GUIDE
SEC No. 1 again - with 16 selections

By RICK FREEMAN - AP Sports Writer
    2012-04-27 22:49

NEW YORK (AP) - Asked about the leap from the Southeastern Conference up to the NFL, Trent Richardson said he didn't expect it to be too much of a change.

He may have a point - most of the SEC seems to be coming with him.

Through the first three rounds of the NFL draft, 16 players from the SEC were taken, from Alabama running back Richardson (third overall to the Cleveland Browns) to Arkansas defensive end Jake Bequette, who went 90th to New England.

Richardson excelled at Alabama, where he won the Doak Walker award as the nation's top running back. Being the class of the best league in college football was a selling point.

``I saw him play running back in a physical style and in an outstanding conference, the SEC, and they won a lot of games. He helped that team win a national championship,'' Browns coach Pat Shurmur said. ``In my mind, you saw what you needed to see to project the fact that he is going to be an outstanding player in this league.''

Fans of the league's teams take pride in noting its accomplishments, among them winning the last six BCS titles.

The BCS championship game was an all-SEC affair this year, and that game between Alabama and LSU alone sent nine players to the NFL - so far. There's four more rounds on Saturday.

Seven of the 12 SEC teams had players chosen in the first three rounds. Auburn, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky and Florida did not.

Alabama had five players picked. It's no surprise, coming from a program with two national titles in the last three seasons, coached by Nick Saban, a former star assistant in the NFL before a stint in college and then a brief stay as head coach of the Miami Dolphins before coming to Alabama.

In addition to Richardson, defensive backs Mark Barron and Dre Kirkpatrick, and linebacker Dont'a Hightower went in the first round, and linebacker Courtney Upshaw followed quickly on Friday night.

``Coming from the program I come from, it's kind of just the mindset that I have,'' Barron said. ``You want to be the best at everything we do. Every day we go out to practice (at Alabama), we're just working at being the best. ... I think that'll make it an easy transition for me to come in and have a great impact.''

Bills scout Darrell Moody was also impressed by the conference. Buffalo took South Carolina defensive back Stephon Gilmore and Georgia offensive lineman Cordy Glenn.

``I coached for 28 years and I coached in the SEC,'' Moody said, when speaking of Glenn. ``I would say he's been coached hard. They don't pamper them in the SEC. He's been coached hard.''

The SEC cachet even extended to a player from North Alabama, a Division II school. Janoris Jenkins was a three-year starter at Florida who was kicked off the team in April 2011 after his third arrest in less than two years and second in four months, the last two on marijuana charges.

He might as well count as a 13th SEC player through the first 95 picks. During his time with the Gators, he went up against three star receivers who do or will play on Sundays: Alshon Jeffery, A.J. Green and Julio Jones.

``I played against those guys,'' Jenkins said. ``I also performed very well. I played against Alshon, A.J., and Julio. Neither one of them scored. Just fun games.''

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OLD SCHOOL: In the second round, teams' picks were announced by notable former players.

No one got a louder roar than former Lions star Barry Sanders.

It's not that there was a large contingent of Michiganders, either. But the fans attending the second day of the draft at Radio City Music Hall gave him a standing ovation.

The only comparable reception for a former player was when ex-New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan came out to announce their pick. He retired after the Giants won the Super Bowl following the 2007 season.

Not all the stars were of such recent vintage.

Cleveland was represented by a former player who actually won a championship with the Browns - former wide receiver Gary Collins, who was part of their 1964 NFL championship team two years after he was picked fourth overall out of Maryland.

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ROAF HOF: Former New Orleans left tackle Willie Roaf was at the NFL draft Friday night. He said he was confident the Saints would be fine without Sean Payton.

The Saints coach was suspended for a year starting April 16 and running through the Super Bowl after the NFL's bounty investigation of the Saints.

``I think they've got a veteran group of guys who police themselves,'' Roaf said. ``I still think they're going to be a real strong football team.''

Roaf, recently elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, announced the Saints' choice of defensive tackle Akiem Hicks at No. 89 later on Friday night.

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WELCOME TO PRIME TIME: The NFL said the first round's broadcast on both ESPN and the NFL Network on Thursday night drew a combined total of 25.3 million viewers.

Citing The Nielsen Company, the league said the combined average rating was 5.28, up 18 percent over the first round last year.

The broadcast averaged 8.1 million viewers, making it the second-most-watched first round, behind only 2010, when the average was 8.3 million.

Most viewers watched on ESPN, but the NFL Network drew 1.4 million viewers, up over last year's 1.0 million.

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EXTRA POINTS: There were 10 trades in the second and third rounds on Friday night, after teams swap eight times in the first round the night before ... Fans reacted to the Jaguars' selection of Cal punter Bryan Anger in the third round with a derisive roar, possibly not aware that Anger averaged more than 44 yards a punt in 2011, and had at least one punt of 50 yards or more in 11 games. Anger is the highest punter drafted since 1995, when the Chicago Bears chose Todd Sauerbrun in the second round. ``I didn't know they liked me that much,'' Anger said. ... Through three rounds, no player from Texas, Florida or Florida State was chosen. But SMU, Midwestern State and the University of Regina, in Canada, all were represented.

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Julius ThomasNov 27 07:52p

Denver Broncos TE Julius Thomas (ankle) was limited during practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Anthony DavisNov 27 07:23p

The San Francisco 49ers have declared OT Anthony Davis, WR Bruce Ellington, DL Glenn Dorsey, QB Josh X. Johnson, WR Quinton Patton, CB Tramaine Brock, TE Vance McDonald inactive for Week 13.

Arian FosterNov 27 07:12p

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (groin) was limited during practice Wednesday, Nov. 27.

Allen BradfordNov 27 07:12p

The Seattle Seahawks have declared LB Allen Bradford, TE Cooper Helfet, CB Jeremy Lane, LB Kevin Pierre-Louis, C Max Unger, TE Rashaun Allen, DL Travian Robertson inactive for Week 13.

Jordan CameronNov 27 06:32p

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (concussion) was limited during practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Latavius MurrayNov 27 04:52p

Oakland Raiders RB Latavius Murray (concussion) was limited during practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Larry FitzgeraldNov 27 04:02p

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee) did not participate in practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Tony HillsNov 27 03:22p

The Dallas Cowboys have declared LB Dekoda Watson, OG Donald Hawkins, QB Dustin Vaughan, FS Jeff Heath, DL Joshua Brent, OT Tony Hills, CB Tyler Patmon inactive for Week 13.

Taylor HartNov 27 03:12p

The Philadelphia Eagles have declared OT Dennis Kelly, DB Jaylen Watkins, WR Jeff Maehl, OG Julian Vandervelde, QB Nick Foles, CB Rashad Carmichael, DE Taylor Hart inactive for Week 13.

Jordan ReedNov 27 03:02p

Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed (hamstring) was limited in practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Dwayne AllenNov 27 02:32p

Indianapolis Colts TE Dwayne Allen (ankle) did not participate in practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Kyle FullerNov 27 11:32a

Chicago Bears CB Kyle Fuller (knee) will play in the team's Week 13 game against the Detroit Lions. Fuller had been questionable during the week.

Lance BriggsNov 27 11:22a

The Chicago Bears have declared WR Chris X. Williams, LB Darryl Sharpton, OT Eben Britton, DL Jeremiah Ratliff, LB Lance Briggs, CB Terrance Mitchell, DL Trevor Scott inactive for Week Week 13.

Reggie BushNov 27 11:12a

The Detroit Lions have declared QB Kellen Moore, OG Larry Warford, DE Larry Webster, DL Nick Fairley, RB Reggie Bush, OT Riley Reiff, WR Ryan Broyles inactive for Week 13.

Reggie BushNov 27 11:12a

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle) is inactive Thursday, Nov. 27, for Week 13.

Reggie BushNov 27 10:12a

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle) is out for Week 13 Thursday, Nov. 27. His ankle isn't responding well enough, but the hope is to return for Week 14.

R. Griffin IIINov 27 09:53a

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III is highly unlikely to return to the team next season, sources within the organization said. Head coach Jay Gruden convinced owner Daniel Snyder [ More ]

Jimmy StatenNov 26 09:43p

The Seattle Seahawks signed free-agent DT Jimmy Staten (Seahawks) to their practice squad Wednesday, Nov. 26. The team also released OT Andrew McDonald from their practice squad.

Marcus ThigpenNov 26 09:03p

The Buffalo Bills claimed WR Marcus Thigpen off waivers from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Wednesday, Nov. 26. The team also waived DE Bryan Johnson.

Richard GordonNov 26 09:03p

The Tennessee Titans waived TE Richard Gordon Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Larry FitzgeraldNov 26 08:33p

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Dwayne AllenNov 26 07:33p

Indianapolis Colts TE Dwayne Allen (ankle) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

C. PattersonNov 26 06:23p

Minnesota Vikings WR Cordarrelle Patterson (knee) did not practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Jerick McKinnonNov 26 06:13p

Minnesota Vikings RB Jerick McKinnon (back) did not practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Brandon LaFellNov 26 06:03p

New England Patriots WR Brandon LaFell (shoulder) was limited during practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Jace AmaroNov 26 05:13p

New York Jets TE Jace Amaro (head) is not expected to play in Week 13, because he is going through the concussion protocol.

Reggie BushNov 26 04:53p

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle, back) was limited in practice for the third straight day Wednesday, Nov. 26, and is questionable for Week 13 against the Chicago Bears.

Jordan CameronNov 26 04:43p

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (concussion) remains day-to-day, but the team is looking for him to practice symptom-free this week, according to head coach Mike Pettine.

Jordan ReedNov 26 04:13p

Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed (hamstring) was limited in practice Wednesday, Nov. 26, according to head coach Jay Gruden.

R. Griffin IIINov 26 02:53p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III needs more seasoning, and he'll likely do it from the bench for the rest of this season, according to head coach Jay Gruden. [ More ]

Arian FosterNov 26 02:33p

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (groin) has an excellent chance to return in Week 13 against the Tennessee Titans after missing the last two games.

Mark SanchezNov 26 02:23p

Philadelphia Eagles QB Mark Sanchez has thrown six interceptions this year, but all of them haven't been game-changing turnovers. In Week 12 against the Tennessee Titans, Sanchez thrived on [ More ]

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