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Matt Kalil, Mark Barron among those anxious to learn draft fate

  • By Associated Press
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NEW YORK -- Andrew Luck knows exactly where he's heading, and so does Robert Griffin III.

For the rest of the college football stars preparing for the 2012 NFL Draft, the anxiety is building. Nobody is looking forward to the green room at Radio City Music Hall.

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"It kind of made me a little nervous, when we were talking to the commissioner and he said, 'You'll be back there for an hour and it'll feel like you've been back there for five days,' " USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil said Wednesday. "I'll be sweatin' up a storm back there, and I want to have my name called and not have to wait too long."

He shouldn't have to worry much. Most mock drafts project Kalil to go third overall to the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday night, after Luck heads to the Indianapolis Colts and Griffin to the Washington Redskins. But Kalil knows better than to put much stock in the predraft chatter.

"I stopped paying attention to all of that stuff," Kalil said at an NFL event at a Manhattan playground. "No one really has a clue. Unless you're the GM of a team, you don't really know who a team is going to pick, so you just let it all play out."

That's the approach for the nearly two dozen other players who'll be at Radio City and have no idea when they might walk onto the stage, shake NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's hand and hold up the jersey of the team with which they'll start their professional career.

"For Luck and RGIII, they know what's going on and they know where they're going to live and all that kind of stuff," Alabama safety Mark Barron said. "A lot of us other guys, we're still wondering where we're going to be living for the next however many years."

Griffin, the Heisman Trophy winner from Baylor, is comforted by already knowing he'll be a member of the Redskins. But he believes he might actually miss the draft-day jitters. Well, at least a little bit.

"It kind of puts yourself at ease," he said, "but it does kind of rob you of that natural draftee experience where you don't know where you're going and you're in limbo."

Added South Carolina defensive end Melvin Ingram: "Yeah, I guess that would be kind of different. You won't get that adrenaline of, 'Oh, man. I hope they pick me,' when you know where you're going."

Luck, the son of former NFL quarterback Oliver Luck, acknowledged it was a "relief" to know he'll be going to the Colts -- even if the team is starting from scratch after releasing Peyton Manning.

"Obviously, the slate has been wiped somewhat clean with some new coaches and some players who have gone or left, but I'll try to come in there and work as hard as I can," Luck said. "If that means it's a rebuilding process, I guess you can label it as that. The guys I'm sure are working very hard, and I just want to get out there and join them."

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

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