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Maryland WR Smith receives invitation to draft-week events

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Editor's note: A previous version of this story incorrectly reported that Smith had been invited to attend the NFL draft next month.

Maryland wide receiver Torrey Smith has been invited to New York for NFL draft-week events, but he hasn't been asked to attend the draft itself, a league source said Thursday.

Smith, who's 6-foot-1 and 208 pounds, is considered a late first-round or early second-round pick in the draft, scheduled for April 28-30 at Radio City Music Hall.

NFL.com analyst Pat Kirwan projects Smith to go 26th overall to the Baltimore Ravens in his latest two-round mock draft.

Four players -- Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones, Iowa defensive end Adrian Clayborn, USC offensive tackle Tyron Smith and LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson -- have accepted a draft invitation thus far.

League sources said Wednesday that 20 players have been invited to attend the draft. Among the other prospects to receive invitations are Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller, Alabama defensive lineman Marcell Dareus and running back Mark Ingram, Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers, Auburn defensive lineman Nick Fairley and Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara.

Miller, who won the Butkus Award as the nation's top linebacker and could be a top-five pick, is a plaintiff in the antitrust lawsuit that 10 players filed against the league March 11.

Washington quarterback Jake Locker said Wednesday at his pro day that he received an invitation but instead will watch the draft with his family at their home.

"I appreciate the invite, but for me, I want to be with the people that have been with me my whole life and helped me get to this point, and I want to share that experience for them," Locker said. "Not all of them would be able to come to New York with me."

The NFL Players Association is scheduling alternate draft-week events that aren't intended to compete with the draft itself. Some agents have said they are advising their clients not to attend the festivities at Radio City Music Hall because players are being locked out.

The league hasn't yet confirmed who has been invited or who already has accepted invites to the draft, out of respect for these rookies who find themselves in an awkward position given the lockout and the sentiment expressed by some that they shouldn't partake in a league event and shake hands with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell at a time when players are locked out.


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However, league sources have said several players in addition to Jones and Clayborn already have accepted invitations.

For years, the league had approximately five to seven players on-site at the draft, but last year's move to primetime, combined with the special nature of the celebration of the 75th NFL Draft, had the league welcome a record 17 players to New York.

The lawsuit takes aim at the draft as an unfair labor practice and lists this year's draft class as a protected class in the suit, which is why Miller agreed to be included as a plaintiff.

Miller's agent, Joby Branion, works for Athletes First, a representation company in Irvine, Calif., where one of the agents is Andrew Kessler, the son of Jeffrey Kessler. The elder Kessler has been an outside counsel for the NFL Players Association for years and was directly involved in the players seeking the injunction to block the lockout.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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