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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Draft day dreams realized

    Draft day dreams realized

    Chris Henry has successfully quieted his detractors.

    The former Arizona running back, who received criticism for leaving college early to enter the NFL Draft, was selected Saturday in the second round, 50th overall, by the Tennessee Titans.

    It is the highest any UA player has been chosen since Trung Candidate was taken in 2000 with the last pick in the first round, followed by Dennis Northcutt with the first pick of the second round.

    Henry said in his blog on that he was playing video games with his brother in his home in Stockton, Calif., when he received the call from Tennessee’s recruiting coordinator, who told him they were selecting him with the 50th pick.

    “”I’m so excited,”” Henry said in the blog. “”I got off the phone and didn’t tell anyone what he said. I wanted to wait for it to show up on the television screen. When it did, everyone went crazy. Neighbors came running from across the street and my family was so happy.””

    Henry will join an offense that includes last year’s offensive rookie of the year Vince Young and former USC running back LenDale White, who is expected to be used in Tennessee’s two-back system.

    Henry filled the need for a running back after the Titans released Travis Henry to avoid paying the six-year veteran his $8.3 million next season.

    “”We’re very excited about being in a position to draft Chris Henry,”” Titans coach Jeff Fisher said in a press conference at Baptist Sports Park Saturday. “”We had actually considered and discussed the possibility of taking him in the first round.

    “”We feel like Chris is an every-down back… He doesn’t have the stats, doesn’t have the numbers at the University of Arizona. We did the research and we’re satisfied why that happened, but we’re confident that he will have the stats and numbers at this level.””

    Henry had worked out for the Titans in Tucson for running backs coach Sherman Smith, who said he was intrigued by Henry’s upside.

    “”When I went to work the guy out, I knew that his personal workout was not equal to what you saw on film,”” Smith said in the press conference. “”As I related to the coaches quite clearly, the kid had the ability; it was the system that kept him from being productive.

    “”As we worked him out you could see the power, the explosion, the quickness and the hands.””

    Henry, the fourth running back selected overall, is the first Wildcat chosen on the first day since the Bears took Lance Briggs in 2003.

    Another Wildcat chosen was kicker Nick Folk, who went in the fourth round to the Dallas Cowboys.

    Folk was the second kicker picked in the draft and will have a chance to become either the Cowboys’ starting kicker or punter.

    Dallas had significant problems at kicker last year and even released Mike Vanderjagt midseason to sign Martin Gramatica.

    Safety Michael Johnson saw his stock plummet but was selected in the seventh round by the New York Giants.

    In several mock drafts, he was picked to be drafted around the end of the third round but instead had to wait until the draft was nearly over at 224th overall.

    Wide receiver and kick returner Syndric Steptoe also was picked late in the second day, 234th overall by the Cleveland Browns.

    Steptoe will likely get the chance to compete for the returner’s job.

    The four Wildcats chosen were the most since 2000, when five were taken.

    Attempts to reach all four of Arizona’s draftees by phone were unsuccessful.

    Late hits

    Arizona had the second-highest total of players selected in the draft from the Pacific 10 Conference, tying with California. Only USC had more.

    Most Arizona players in the NFL draft since 1984

    1984 – six *
    1985 – five *
    1987 – seven *
    1989 – five *
    1990 – five *
    1991- four *
    1993 – four
    1994 – four
    1995 – four
    1999 – four
    2000 – five

    ? Kili Lefotu was the only UA player drafted last season, following a two-year drought, and he was picked in the seventh round. Mike Bell went as an undrafted free agent.
    ? Only 11 other players in UA history have been chosen in the top 50 since 1984.

    * Draft had 12 rounds

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