Alabama Players Wait to Hear Names Called

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Two players from Alabama are expected to
hear their names called very early in the NFL draft Saturday.

LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell -- a Mobile native -- is projected as the likely top overall pick. Louisville defensive tackle Amobi Okoye of Huntsville also is expected to be among the first 10 players selected.

The state hasn't produced the draft's top choice since Montgomery's Aundray Bruce went first in 1988 out of Auburn.

Auburn guard Ben Grubbs and tailback Kenny Irons also are among the state players who seem assured of going on the first day.

Irons' brother David is also a likely first-day pick, along with Auburn offensive lineman Tim Duckworth.

Alabama tailback Kenneth Darby is widely projected as a third-round pick. His lead blocker, fullback Le'Ron McClain, is rated as one of the top two fullbacks in the draft.

McClain and Tide linebacker Juwan Simpson are expected to be chosen on Sunday, along with Auburn receiver Courtney Taylor.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)