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UA’s Britton could go in 1st round of NFL draft Saturday

NFL workouts have raised his stock; he could go 1st round

Eben Britton (left) blocks Arizona State defensive end Luis Vasquez in UA's 31-10 win last fall. Britton is expected to be one of the top offensive tackles taken in Saturday's NFL draft.

Eben Britton (left) blocks Arizona State defensive end Luis Vasquez in UA's 31-10 win last fall. Britton is expected to be one of the top offensive tackles taken in Saturday's NFL draft.

Arizona offensive lineman Eben Britton is going through the recruiting process all over again – only this time for a lucrative contract.

The 6-foot-6, 309-pound tackle won’t get to pick his team as he did when he signed with UA out of Burroughs (Calif.) High, but he’ll likely put his name on a multimillion dollar deal after an NFL team selects him in Saturday’s draft.

Britton, who started in UA’s last 36 games, is projected by CBS Sports.com as the 25th best player overall on the boards, and the fifth best offensive tackle, in a draft heavy with tackles.

“I’m just excited. That is the best way to describe what I’m feeling,” Britton said. “I don’t feel a whole lot of pressure, because it is all out of my hands at this point. I just want to get picked and get to work.”

The UA junior has taken trips to Minnesota, Baltimore and Buffalo, and had personal workouts with Philadelphia, Miami, Kansas City and Chicago.

The Vikings, who have the 22nd pick in the first round, seem to have a greater knowledge of Britton, especially after visiting with him at Minnesota’s camp.

“I had a really good trip there,” Britton said. “I really had a good understanding of where coach (Brad) Childress is coming from and what he wants.”

Several news outlets project Britton going to Minnesota, including CBS Sportsline.com.

“I would not be surprised with the Vikings. It was a real positive trip all the way around,” Britton said. “It wouldn’t be far-fetched, but anything could happen. I’m glad it is finally coming to an end. It has been crazy.”

Britton was a somewhat unknown commodity before declaring early for the draft after the Wildcats defeated BYU in the Las Vegas Bowl.

The All-Pac-10 first-team lineman quickly has raised his stock, starting with an eye-opening NFL combine workout.

Ever since he has met with teams, worked out, filled out the questionnaires and done everything asked. He also took part in a diary for the Sporting News regarding his experiences.

“There have been meet-and-greets, looking at facilities, talking to offensive coordinators and offensive line coaches,” Britton said. “We have talked about difference schemes and what teams are running and what they are looking for.”

An NFC offensive line coach raved about Britton to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, but the St. Louis Rams could take Baylor tackle Jason Smith with the No. 2 pick overall.

“The guy I like the best, if (the Rams) could trade down, would be the kid from Arizona,” the coach told the newspaper, on a condition of anonymity. “To me, you see a little bit more competitiveness about (Britton), toughness about him. He has more flexibility in the lower part of his body than (Smith).”

Other offensive tackles competing with Britton include Alabama’s Andre Smith, Virginia’s Eugene Monroe, Mississippi’s Michael Oher and Connecticut’s William Beatty.

New England, with the 23rd pick in the first round, might be considering Britton.

“Blessed with a tremendous wingspan to go with great size, Britton can over- power his opponent,” the Providence Journal wrote. “He has good awareness in recognizing the blitz and responding.”

The one knock on Britton might be his relative inexperience at the left tackle position. He started the first two seasons on the other side, before switching sides to open the 2008 season.

SI.com believes another season would have nearly guaranteed him a first-round selection.

“Britton is a solid offensive tackle with a good degree of upside potential,” SI.com reports. “Slightly overrated coming into the pre-draft process, he would’ve been better off returning for his senior season, and then entering the 2010 draft, where he would’ve graded as a top 20 selection.”

He might be that anyway.

CBSSports.com, in its mock drafts, is convinced Britton made the right decision to come out.





Possible teams who could take UA offensive tackle Eben Britton, according to some news outlets:

Rd Pick Team Outlet

1 21 Philadelphia Assoc. Press

1 22 Minnesota ESPN.com

1 28 Buffalo CBS Sportsline

> SI.com says Britton will go in the 2nd round, but did not list a team.


Saturday: 1 p.m., ESPN, NFL; 6 p.m., ESPN2, NFL

Sunday: 7 a.m., ESPN, NFL

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