The green room at Radio City Music Hall in New York will be rather crowded this year. A total of 23 players have accepted an invitation to attend the 2013 NFL Draft on Thursday, April 25.
Smith figures to get the most attention of any player in the green room. Even though he might not get taken as early as people think, Smith still looks like a safe first-round pick. That's true of most of the 23 players.
In past years, the NFL invited some players that truly weren't first-round pick considerations. That's not the case this year.
Odds are that at least one player invited will slip into round two, but every player in attendance has a shot of being selected Thursday night. Manuel's stock is hard to figure, but he'd be my guess as the second quarterback drafted.
LSU safety Eric Reid is not a favorite of some analysts, but NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah had him going in the first round of his latest mock draft. Florida State offensive tackle Menelik Watson and Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant are two other players who could have a relatively long wait in the green room on draft day. (UPDATE: NFL.com's Gil Brandt reported that Trufant will not attend the draft because his grandfather is ill. Mississippi State corner back Darius Slay will replace him.)
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Lotulelei released a statement Wednesday saying that he has decided to watch the draft from Utah with his friends and family.
Those three absences will mean three fewer man hugs on stage, but NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell still will be plenty busy that night.
Now we just have to figure out what name Goodell will call first.
UPDATE: NFL.com's Gil Brandt reported Friday that Trufant will not attend the draft because his grandfather is ill. Mississippi State corner back Darius Slay will replace him.