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Draft blog: Prospects meet the press, get a taste of New York City

As part of's blanket coverage of the draft, our team of writers and analysts are here in New York to provide news you can't get anywhere else. Check back as Vic Carucci, Thomas George, Gil Brandt, Frank Tadych and Aron Angel take you behind the scenes with blog entries throughout the week. Here's the latest:

Advice for dad

Chris Long has received many life lessons from his father, Pro Football Hall of Famer Howie Long. A couple have had a particularly strong impact on him:

"Take pride in what you do. Be prideful about your everyday work, on and off the field."

"Control what you can control."

It's that second lesson that actually is at the center of a role reversal between father and son. Chris insists he is calm and collected about the draft, that he isn't fretting about whether he will be chosen second overall or lower, because he understands it is something he can't control. Apparently, Howie has forgotten his own advice.

"I'm actually telling him this now: 'You can't control the draft … just relax,'" Chris said. "He's less (publicly) engaged (in the process) than the average dad because he is cognizant of the fact of who he is and how difficult it could make it. But with me he's engaged, just like any other father. He's just sitting back and stressing on his own." -- Vic Carucci

Friday, 4:02 p.m.

Favre takes Manhattan

Brett Favre capped off a busy two days in New York at a luncheon in his honor at The Rainbow Room in Rockefeller Center. The recently (and still) retired Favre arrived in town Thursday and appeared at an NFL Play 60 youth clinic in Central Park, followed that with a cameo at NFL Network's upfront presentation to advertisers at The Roseland Ballroom and then was a guest on "Late Night With David Letterman" -- where it was announced that Favre would grace the cover of EA Sports' Madden '09 video game.

EA Sports sponsored today's luncheon, in which Favre was joined by former teammates Shannon Sharpe and Matt Hasselbeck, his former coach Steve Mariucci and former Delaware quarterback Joe Flacco, one of the top passers available in this weekend's draft.

While Favre admitted that he is not exactly the typical NFL "gamer," he does embrace the use of technology as a tool to aid quarterbacks.

"From a football standpoint, I think you've got to embrace technology," he said. "You kind of keep up or get left behind."

Favre said he understands that "old school" quarterbacks might look at the use of tech tools -- like digital video software that allows the user to customize film study on a laptop -- as a waste of time. Not him.

"I'm not that old to where I consider myself old school," said the 38-year-old Favre. "I thought it was a great learning tool."

Some fans might not consider Favre, who holds the all-time NFL records for touchdown passes, yards and consecutive starts, among others, to be a student of the game. They might think of his reputation as a gunslinger first.

"That's not for me to decide," he said. "People form opinions one way or the other. I played 17 years, had a lot of success. I don't think you can have that without studying." -- Craig Ellenport

Friday, 3:45 p.m.

Scouting the Wolverines

Already signed, sealed and delivered as the No.-1 pick by the Miami Dolphins, Jake Long continues to enjoy his draft week here in New York in a manner that no other draft hopeful can.

The Michigan offensive tackle offered advice for NFL teams on three of his former teammates in the draft:

On receiver Mario Manningham: ``I know there has been a lot written and said lately about Mario's character, but what I saw every day was a guy who is a great player. He is special. He runs past defensive backs. He catches the ball. He catches it one-handed, falling backwards. Mario is a strong person. He will succeed.''

On running back Mike Hart: ``To me, he can play on any level. He can play with or without the ball. He is a great pass blocker. He is not afraid to put his shoulder into a 300-pound lineman. He moves the pile on short yardage. He will get you that first down.''

On offensive lineman Adam Krause: ``So Smart. So good. He had a great year. He is going to be a solid pro.'' -- Thomas George

Friday, 2:22 p.m.

Jets talking to Ryan

One of the teams that has spoken with quarterback Matt Ryan is the New York Jets, who own the sixth overall pick. Ryan insists he isn't bothered by the notion of playing in a market whose intensive media scrutiny can be particularly rough on quarterbacks.

"I try and stay away from reading the paper and listening to talk radio and watching SportsCenter," the former Boston College star said. "I tune into American Idol and other stuff like that where they don't talk about football."

Ryan is confident he has what it takes to help the Jets or any team. Interestingly, he lists leadership as his greatest strength.

"Being able to get all the guys on the same page," he said. "As a quarterback, that's probably one of the most important things that you can do. And then I think my physical skill set is what it needs to be to play in the NFL." -- Vic Carucci

Thursday, April 24, 5:28 p.m. ET

Does your mother dress you?

Granted, it's not the Oscars, Grammys or the Golden Globes, but people apparently are interested in what the top draft picks will be wearing on Saturday.

Most players have not made a decision. Vernon Gholston says he has options, but is still deciding. His family arrives today and he'll take a consensus.

"You'll see on draft day," said Gholston, going black with black pinstripes, and a white shirt and white tie combo at the luncheon.

Dorsey, sporting a crème-colored suit with blue pinstripes, an off-white shirt and blue tie, lined up a few new suits this week. Who gets the final call?

"Yeah, my mother," Dorsey reveals. "Mom knows best. I trust her opinions." -- Frank Tadych

Thursday, April 24, 5:25 p.m. ET

Rumor Mill

A rumor was circulating at the luncheon of an epic eating performance by Vernon Gholston at a dinner he shared with Jake Long and Chris Long in St. Louis. Didn't get to talk to Gholston to get the details, but rumor has it that he ate a 48-ounce steak.

"It was insane," said Jake Long. "It comes out and it was like a 48-ounce steak. It was like two inches thick. He put it down. I was impressed."

For what it's worth, Long is 6-foot-7, 315 pounds. When you impress him, that's something. -- Frank Tadych

Thursday, April 24, 5:14 p.m. ET

Long Up To Challenge

Jake Long seemed pretty at ease during his interview session. And really, who wouldn't be? It's easy to see some of the qualities that might have led the Dolphins to target him –- he speaks directly, comes across as easy-going and looks you in the eye when he speaks. He also is a pretty good football player, too. As a No. 1 overall pick, Long will forever have his name linked to a select group of NFL players.

"It's such a great honor and an elite group of people who get picked No. 1," said Long. "There's a lot of pressure, there's a lot of expectations, and a lot of people that will be watching me. I'm excited for that challenge. I'm excited for that pressure."

Long appears to have no problem dealing with the repercussions of being a top pick. In fact, he's welcoming it.

"It drives me," he said. "It pushes me, because I have to go out there and prove to people that it was a good choice and show people that I will do (well) on the next level." -- Frank Tadych

Thursday, April 24, 4:40 p.m. ET

A dream comes true

The Dolphin's selection of Jake Long has finally turned his NFL dream into reality. But that doesn't mean he won't be excited on Saturday when Commissioner Roger Goodell announces his name on national television as the first overall pick in the NFL Draft.

"It's going to be electric," said Long. "I've watched the draft my entire life. To be able to walk out on that stage and hold up that jersey is geoing to be a dream come true and very exciting."

Now that Long knows where he'll be playing, he says he can just focus on competing with the Dolphins.

"All that's out of the way, and now it's just football," he said. "So I can go in there and just play football.

"It's a huge relief. Right after the bowl game I went to Arizona to work out, then I went to the combine and pro day, then the individual workouts, and meetings with coaches, team visits. The past four months has been nuts. Now I know -- for certain -- I know where I'm going. I know who I'm playing for."

The only thing left for Long to endure is the playful chiding at the hands of his fellow draftees here with him in New York, which he said has amounted to "a (few) jokes here and there, but not bad."

"We get on Jake about it," said Glenn Dorsey. "He's the only guy who can have fun out here. He's really having fun and enjoying himself. He knows where he is going." -- Aron Angel

Thursday, April 24, 4:32 p.m. ET

Life in the big city

Just one person's opinion, but one of the most enjoyable interviews of the current draft class is Dorsey. Like a few of the others, the experience of the NFL Draft is also affording him his first visit to Manhattan. Dorsey, who hails from Gonzales, La. (population 9,633), has his family along for their first visit as well. Like the draft process itself, the culminating weekend can be a surreal experience.

"It's amazing," Dorsey said of his experience. "As a kid, you grow up, and New York and even the NFL itself seemed unreal. ... All of this kind of seems fake to me. I'm just enjoying it and trying to take one day at a time and not think about the actual draft, which is virtually impossible. But I'm enjoying it. I'm having fun."

A long way from LSU in Baton Rouge, La.?

"A very long ways," replied Dorsey. -- Frank Tadych

Thursday, April 24, 4:22 p.m. ET

The great unknown

With fewer than 48 hours to go before the draft, the sequence of the top few picks remains fluid. For the players, it's the great unknown, waiting to find out what their immediate future holds. Despite being interviewed by prospective teams at great length, the players say they have little idea where they might end up. The secrecy of teams leaves players in the dark.

"I have no idea to be honest with you," said Gholston, who has been following several mock drafts.

Gholston said he has visited the Rams, Falcons, Raiders, Chiefs, Patriots, and Jets. He said it's one thing to tell if a team likes you, but another to tell which way it's really leaning. Until you actually get the call, that is.

"It's a hard situation to have my future determined by other people," said Gholston. "But in this situation, you're only going to come out with the best. Obviously, I'll be in a better situation two days from now than I am in now. I'm blessed to be here." -- Frank Tadych

Thursday, April 24, 4:01 p.m. ET

Following in dad's footsteps

Growing up as the son of Raiders defensive end Howie Long, Chris Long said it was never a foregone conclusion that he would grow up to follow in his father's footsteps.

"I was just a little kid that my dad said, 'Oh, he'll never play football,' " said Long. "So they (Howie and his Raiders teammates) never thought of me as a football player."

Even years later as a freshman at Virginia, Long did not foresee playing professional football, let alone becoming the second overall pick, as many are predicting ahead of Saturday's draft.

"I didn't think I'd play in the NFL at all," he said. "I love football, but I didn't think it was going to be a possibility. Now, it's become a reality." -- Aron Angel

Thursday, April 24, 3:40 p.m. ET

Next great B.C. quarterback?

With the success that Matt Ryan had at Boston College, it's only natural for people to compare him to former B.C. quarterback Doug Flutie. Statisitically, Ryan doesn't rank too far behind Flutie, who holds nearly every statistical record at Boston College. Ryan's 9,313 yards passing ranks third on the school's all-time record list, just behind Glenn Foley and Flutie, who holds the school record with 10,579 yards.

"It's an honor, especially as a B.C. quarterback, to go through and be compared to the greatest football player that ever went to B.C.," said Ryan. "It's special. I mean, it's unbelievable. I've heard it from a number of people. I've been honored to be mentioned in the same breath as Doug, with everything he's done at B.C."

Ryan, who apparently is on a first name basis with Flutie, has inherited somewhat of a mentor in the former NFL veteran who still lives outside Boston in Natick, Mass. and has a nephew who plays for B.C.

"During the offseason he'd come up and we'd play catch or something out in the bubble (at Eagles Stadium)," said Ryan. "I've gotten to know him really well. He's been very good to me. I mean, he's been really good to me." -- Aron Angel

Thursday, April 24, 3:03 p.m. ET

McFadden makes best guess

In the weeks and months leading up to the NFL Draft it seems like every pundit and analyst out there has made a prediction in the form of a mock draft, and Darren McFadden has read them all.

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