UCLA's Ayers, a top linebacker prospect, says he'll attend draft

UCLA linebacker Akeem Ayers will be New York-bound, tweeting Friday that he plans to attend the NFL draft later this month at Radio City Music Hall.

Ayers is the sixth prospect to publicly confirm his intention to attend the draft, which is scheduled for April 28-30. Iowa defensive end Adrian Clayborn, Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones, Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller, LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson and USC offensive tackle Tyron Smith also plan to be there.

NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks attended UCLA's pro day Tuesday and reported that Ayers had a strong showing. Ayers posted times between 4.68 and 4.74 seconds in the 40-yard dash, and he showed good skills in both defensive end and linebacker drills.

NFL.com and NFL Network experts believe Ayers will be a mid- to late-first-round pick. Charles Davis had Ayers going 18th to the San Diego Chargersin his latest mock draft. Steve Wyche had Ayers drafted 20th by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Brooks had him 24th to the New Orleans Saints and Pat Kirwan had him 30th to the New York Jets.

League sources told NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora on Wednesday that 20 players have been invited to attend the draft. Among the other prospects to receive invitations are Alabama defensive lineman Marcell Dareus and running back Mark Ingram, Auburn defensive lineman Nick Fairley, Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers, and Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara

Bowers is unlikely to attend, La Canfora reported Friday, citing a source close to the player.

NFL Network's Albert Breer reported Friday that Wisconsin defensive end J.J. Watt and Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert also have been invited.

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

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