NFL draft: Running backs still waiting for call
NEW YORK -- Welcome to Day 2 of the NFL draft. Plenty of running backs are still available.
For the second straight year, no running backs were selected in the first round. Before last year, that had never happened in the common draft era, which started in 1967 with the merger of the NFL and AFL.
Once one of the football's glamour positions, running backs have now been relegated to role players in the NFL. Star college backs such as Carlos Hyde, Bishop Sankey, Tre Mason and Ka'Deem Carey should start coming off the board Friday night, when Rounds 2 and 3 are held at Radio City Music Hall.
Round 1 on Thursday night started with South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney going to the Houston Texans and ended with the Minnesota Vikings trading back into the first round to pick Teddy Bridgewater. The Louisville quarterback wasn't the only high-profile passer to have a long wait backstage.
Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel waited about 3 hours before the Browns pulled off a trade to take the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner with pick No. 22.
Now Johnny Football is Johnny Cleveland and the Texans are back on the clock, maybe looking for a quarterback.
Houston has the first pick of the second round. The Washington Redskins will get their draft started on Friday, with the second pick of Round 2, No. 34 overall.
The defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks also have yet to make a pick. Seattle traded out of the first round, giving the Vikings the 32nd pick they used to take Bridgewater and getting back Nos. 40 and 108. Barring a trade up, Indianapolis would be the last team to draft. The Colts' first pick is the 27th of the second round, No. 59 overall.
Here are five things to look for on Day 2 of the NFL Draft.
RUNNING MEN: Who will be the first running back off the board, and which team will break the seal? Ohio State's Hyde is a good bet to be the answer to the first question. He's big (230 pounds) and quick and doesn't have many miles on those big legs compared to some of the other workhorse backs. Arizona's Carey had 652 carries in his last two college seasons. Washington's Sankey had 616. Hyde had 523 in four seasons at Ohio State. Mason, a Heisman finalist from Auburn, was relatively lightly used -- until last season.
Other top running backs: LSU's Jeremy Hill; West Virginia's Charles Sims; Towson's Terrance West; and Boston College's Andre Williams, another Heisman finalist.
Teams in need of a back include Jacksonville, Tennessee, Cleveland and Miami. With running-back-by-committee all the rage, teams like to stockpile at the position -- without using first-round picks.
STILL IN THE GREEN ROOM: Thirty players attended the NFL draft, so it's no surprise that more than a few will have to return to Radio City for Day 2. Unpicked after the first round were: Missouri defensive end Kony Ealy; Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo; Minnesota defensive tackle Ra'Shede Hageman; Alabama offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio; Indiana receiver Cody Latimer; USC receiver Marqise Lee; USC center Marcus Martin; Vanderbilt receiver Jordan Matthews; and Virginia tackle Morgan Moses.
CATCHING ON: If your team still needs a receiver after five were taken in Round 1, no need to fret. There is plenty of talent left at what is considered the deepest position in the draft. Start with Lee, who was being talked about as a possible top-10 pick after he was an All-American as a sophomore. A spotty junior season dropped his stock, but he could be a Day 2 steal. Don't be surprised if there is a run on receivers Friday with Matthews and Latimer, along with Fresno State's Davante Adams, Mississippi's Donte Moncrief, Penn State's Allen Robinson and LSU's Jarvis Landry among those picked.
O'BRIEN'S QB. New Texans coach Bill O'Brien said the team would draft a quarterback at some point. At the top of the second round Fresno State's Derek Carr is available, along with Garoppolo, Pittsburgh's Tom Savage, LSU's Zach Mettenberger, Alabama's AJ McCarron and Georgia's Aaron Murray. Houston might be willing to wait until Day 3 to address quarterback. On Thursday, there were published reports the team was working to trade for Patriots backup Ryan Mallett.
WHAT ABOUT SAM? Missouri linebacker Michael Sam, who publicly came out as gay in February, is hoping to be drafted this weekend, but it's probably overly optimistic to expect him to be selected Friday. It's more likely the focus on when, where and if Sam goes will occur Saturday during rounds four through seven. The NFL has never had an active, openly gay player.
Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP
Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press
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