NEW YORK -- One fourth-round draft pick won't be ready to run until August. Another wasn't ready to talk to his new team because he was in the middle of his graduation ceremony.
Those were the least of the complications Saturday at the NFL draft, which completed its three-day run at Radio City Music Hall against a backdrop of a restored lockout. Right now, no one is sure when clubs will be ready to let any players walk back in to team headquarters.
"With the lockout, there's so much uncertainty," said tight end Kyle Rudolph, a second-round pick of the Minnesota Vikings. "I'm just focused on getting myself in the best shape as possible and being ready whenever we are allowed to" show up.
A total of 254 players were selected over seven rounds. But only a few lucky first-rounders were able to pick up playbooks Friday during a brief time when the lockout was lifted.
The Carolina Panthers opened the fourth round by selecting West Virginia cornerback Brandon Hogan. The 5-foot-10, 192-pounder not only has off-field issues, but he's recovering from ligament surgery on his left knee. Hogan won't be able to begin running full speed until August.
"My knee is ahead of schedule," he insisted. "It's getting stronger and getting used to doing things."
The Seattle Seahawks went next and picked Mississippi State linebacker K.J. Wright. General manager John Schneider gave Wright a call in Starkville and was puzzled why the player had so little to say. Well, it turns out Wright was just about to receive his diploma at his graduation ceremony.
"As soon as I got off the phone, two minutes later I had to go up there and walk across the stage," Wright said.
Day 3 of the draft was the first full day that players were locked out again after a brief respite Friday. That night, however, an appeals court decision allowed the league to reinstate the lockout that had been lifted earlier in the week.
But the draft carried on because it is protected under the old collective bargaining agreement, which expired March 11.
The draft concluded with the Houston Texans picking Rice linebacker Cheta Ozougwu. As the final pick, he will be honored as "Mr. Irrelevant," a weeklong celebration in Newport Beach, Calif., that began in 1976.
The Arizona Cardinals, trying to improve their pass rush, selected Texas linebacker Sam Acho in the fourth round. The 6-1, 257-pounder in December won the Campbell Trophy and a $25,000 scholarship given by the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame as the nation's top scholar athlete.
Acho's parents emigrated from Nigeria, and each summer he returns to the country with his father and brother on a medical mission.
Another Matthews joined the NFL when Oregon linebacker Casey Matthews was picked by the Philadelphia Eagles with the 19th pick in the fourth round. He's the brother of Packers All-Pro linebacker Clay Matthews. The Eagles are well aware of Clay Matthews -- they had a hard time handling him last year.
"Clay had some success against them," Casey Matthews said. "At the conclusion of my visit when I was out there, Coach (Andy) Reid said, 'Tell your brother we're going to get him next year with you on the team.' And I told Clay that. I don't think they have the Packers on the schedule, but hopefully we get them in the playoffs."
The Cleveland Browns, with a pick from Atlanta, chose Stanford fullback Owen Marecic, a two-way player who also played linebacker. He won the inaugural Paul Hornung Award as the nation's most versatile player.
The 6-0, 246-pound Marecic ran for five touchdowns and had two interceptions last season. In a 13-second span against Notre Dame in 2010, he scored on a 1-yard TD plunge and returned an interception 20 yards for a score.
"Hopefully I can find big ways to contribute on special teams, which is a little bit of defense in itself," Marecic said.
"History is proof for itself, all the running backs and the offensive lineman that have worked under him and the success that they've had," Helu said.
The 12th and last quarterback picked in the draft was Alabama's Greg McElroy, taken by the New York Jets in the seventh round -- No. 208 overall.
One notable player who went undrafted was Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich, who was diagnosed with cancer after being chosen ACC player of the year in 2008. He missed the 2009 season, was declared cancer free and played last season.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press