2011 NFL Draft: Looking at the Lovely People

It's strictly business, right? The NFL announced the list of players attending the draft on Thursday, and it's a bit of a doozy. Twenty-five guys - a record - get to sit around in the green room and pray they're not the next Brady Quinn get their name in lights. It isn't a shock that none of the guys they're inviting are from Tennessee, but one's from Alcoa and a whole host of them are from the conference. The SEC list looks like this:

- Randall Cobb

- Marcel Dareus

- Nick Fairley

- Cam Newton

- AJ Green

- Julio Jones

- Mark Ingram

- Patrick Peterson

- Mike Pouncey

Yes, the nine SEC players are the most by conference. There aren't any major surprises in that list (although the relative lack of OL invited in general is mildly intriguing to me, but that's a discussion for another time). If you're looking at the overall list as a general proxy for who's going in the first round, then it sheds some light that may not have been there otherwise.

These guys were some of the brightest draft-eligible lights in the SEC last season. They deserve the accolades, although the question of if they should even show up for an owners' showcase is another matter entirely. I'm of the viewpoint that they're not a part of the NFLPA yet; I don't know when they become a member of the NFLPA if only because I don't know how strictly NFL bylaws operate. Are they subject to the NFLPA lockout as soon as they're drafted, or do they get to sign a contract and then get locked out? Are they already locked out by the NFLPA? (There are about 800 jokes that can be made about Cam Newton already being under contract, but I'll let someone else make them.) They're key questions, but at this point they shouldn't be answered now. The time to answer those questions was a couple weeks ago; as it is, twenty-five guys get their name in lights. Worry about the details next week.

Most likely to get Quinn'd: Mike Pouncey. I'm hoping he fumbles the jersey, personally.

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