Big Draft Day for Drae
by Chris Stansbury

In the span of a big time football career, there are few days as exciting, anxious, stressful and even frightening as the NFL Draft weekend.  And that includes the top guns vying for the top five picks all the way to the players praying they're drafted late in the seventh round.

Jamarcus Russell, Calvin Johnson, Brady Quinn and Adrian Peterson have all been rumored to be the Oakland Raiders first selection Saturday in New York.  That's what happens when you are the hapless Raiders and have more holes than O.J.'s alibi.  And trust me the signing bonus for the top pick is much different than the fourth or fifth pick in the draft.

Former East Carolina wide receiver Aundrae Allison doesn't have to worry about the top five nor does he have to be concerned about getting picked in the seventh round.  Drae appears to be a mid- to late-second round selection. 

He was the Pirates "Go To" guy for the last two years with 145 catches, totaling more than 1,700 yards and 11 touchdowns.  In Greenville, when a big play needed to be made, ECU fans and quarterback James Pinkney looked to Drae to come through in the clutch. And most times he delivered. 

After the bowl game, Drae upped his stock during the Scouting Combine and NFL Pro Day by running the 40-yard dash in a blistering 4.39 seconds and his vertical jump measured at 37 inches.  Those numbers, plus hiring Drew Rosenhaus as his agent, produced an increase in his draft stock.

Every single scouting expert lists Aundrae's excellent hands, deep threat capability and speed as major strengths.  However in the same breath as those glowing compliments, draft gurus throw out his poor blocking abilities and tendency to take plays off or question his work ethic.

Aundrae was a JUCO transfer, but that is very uncommon for an East Carolina player that has played in the NFL.  You go down the list of successes from Jeff Blake to Robert Jones to Rod Coleman to Terrence Copper and David Garrard.  Each guy was questioned on ability not on heart, now Drae's heart is being put under the microscope. 

So if Aundrae remains a mid- to late-second round pick, some possible teams looking for wide receivers are pretty impressive.  Atlanta picks 12th (in the 2nd round) which means Drae could be catching passes from Michael Vick.  Or Carolina 13th (2nd round) and could replace Keyshawn Johnson, another JUCO transfer that made good on great hands.  Green Bay, Tennessee, Philadelphia, Denver and San Diego were all either playoff teams or playoff contenders last season and could be looking for a difference making wide receiver. 

By the end of Saturday, Aundrae Allison will know where his NFL home will be and it will be up to him to make the most of it.
Chris Stansbury