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Pro Football Weekly tracks the action from the college season through NFL draft weekend.

How fast will Spiller go off the board?

About the Author

Dan Arkush

darkush@pfwmedia.com
Executive editor

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Updated Oct. 06, 2010 @ 7:27 p.m.
By Dan Arkush

The draft is less than a half-hour away from starting. While sifting through assorted notes most of this afternoon, I've also been shifting back and forth between the predraft coverage on NFL Network and ESPN with the sound down low on my TV set, just in case something earthshaking was said by one of the talking heads. More than anything, I just kept looking up and seeing the commentators on NFL Network holding cardboard cutouts of all the NFL head coaches, apparently pretending to get inside their heads and predict the game plans those head coaches might have in mind early this evening.

So what am I most interested in with the draft finally close to materializing? I have a very obvious interest in the Rams, one of the seven NFL teams that I specifically cover for PFW, wondering whether they really might trade the first overall pick for a gargantuan package that they might not be able to resist. On one hand, I think it would really be cool if they actually did accept a giant offer for Sam Bradford, who shapes up as the top pick according to just about every close draft observer. On the other hand, since I already wrote a team preview on the Rams for our 2010 Preview Magazine that begins "Say hello to the Sam Bradford era ... " I hope they take the Oklahoma kid, which will remove the prospect of a major rewrite in a very tight time frame.

Beyond that, though, the one particular player I find myself most interested in with Round One fast approaching is Clemson RB C.J. Spiller, and here's why. In most of the mock drafts I've seen, almost half the picks are offensive and defensive linemen. Spiller, meanwhile, is the ONLY running back I've seen tabbed in the first round. There also aren't many receivers or tight ends being tabbed, either, but I am intrigued more by the one running back that teams apparently feel can make a first-round impact.

In the latest PFW mock draft by Nolan Nawrocki, Spiller is being tabbed at the No. 9 spot by the Bills, who badly need big-play firepower. And I wonder: Is C.J. the real deal? I think back to two years ago when the Raiders reached high in the draft for Darren McFadden, who is being rumored as a real trade possibility by a couple of media outlets, which isn't all that surprising considering that he has only displayed intermittent flashes up to now.

Last year, If my memory serves me right, there were two backs taken in the first round — Knowshown Moreno by Denver 12th overall and Chris "Beanie" Wells by Arizona at the 31st spot. Like McFadden, Moreno has shown only flashes. Wells, however, looks good enough to become the new centerpiece of the Cardinals' offense moving forward.

Can Spiller have that kind of an impact in Buffalo or wherever he lands? Or will it take a while before he makes his presence felt like another former No. 1, Reggie Bush, who really only spread his wings in a big way this past season? Bush is the player Spiller has been most closely compared to.

How fast will C.J. be selected? Aside from the Rams, that's the biggest draft-related question on my mind at the moment.

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