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Ohio linebacker Noah Keller helped his draft stock rise by recording NFL Combine-like numbers at Ohio’s Pro Day on March 8 at Peden Stadium. (Sam Owens | File Photo)

Football: Two Bobcats hoping for pick in weekend's NFL Draft

At Ohio, receiver LaVon Brazill and linebacker Noah Keller worked to stand apart. This weekend, they hope to join about 250 other players who will have their names called during the NFL Draft.

Coming off a career in which he put his name on six school records, including single-season receiving yards and touchdowns, Brazill has been tabbed by many to be a sleeper pick in this year’s draft.

Brazill’s 4.48-second 40-yard dash time ranked 14th among all wide receivers who ran at the NFL Combine in February.

Although draft experts project him to be selected anywhere from the late fourth round to early seventh, Brazill said he does not care when he gets taken.

“I’m just hoping to get picked,” Brazill said. “There’s a couple teams that called me up to get my draft-day number. They haven’t told me a round or anything.”

Brazill listed the Denver Broncos, Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers and Miami Dolphins among the teams that have contacted him.

If Brazill had to make the choice himself, he might choose the team he grew up rooting for.

“I was a Green Bay Packers fan,” he said. “I was in love with Brett Favre.”

If selected, Brazill would become the fourth Ohio wide receiver to be picked in the NFL Draft, and the first since Taylor Price in 2010.

The 2011 draft passed without a single Ohio player being selected after Bobcats had been taken in each of the three previous seasons. It was the first time Ohio players had been selected in three consecutive drafts since the 1961 through 1963 drafts.

If Keller and Brazill both hear their names called, it would be the first time two Bobcats have been selected in the same year since 1972, when Al Benton and David Green were both drafted.

Green, a kicker, was taken in the 17th round. The draft now concludes after seven rounds.

“Everyone wants to get drafted,” Keller said. “I’m hoping the best for LaVon and keeping my fingers crossed.”

Keller was not invited to the NFL Combine but helped his draft stock rise by recording combine-like numbers at Ohio’s Pro Day on March 8 at Peden Stadium.

Keller’s 28 repetitions on the 225-pound bench press would have placed him in a tie for fifth among all linebackers at the combine.

A vertical jump of 37 inches and a 40-yard dash time of 4.63 seconds would have placed Keller fifth and sixth, respectively.

“I think that’s one of the things that has led to the interest as of late,” Keller said. “I had great Pro Day numbers to go along with a great career at Ohio University. I think it made people go back and take a second look.”

With more than 400 career tackles at Ohio, Keller is now projected as a late-round pick.

Keller recently had a private workout with the New England Patriots and also listed the New York Jets, St. Louis Rams, Jacksonville Jaguars, Indianapolis Colts, Houston Texans and Arizona Cardinals as interested teams.

If Brazill and Keller are chosen, they would be the 30th and 31st Ohio players to be selected in the 77-year history of the draft.

Keller would be only the second Bobcat linebacker to have his name called.

“I’m trying to keep the nerves down and not worry about it too much,” Keller said. “I’ve done all I can do now, and I’ve just got to let the pieces fall where they may.”


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