NFL draft: Georgia, Auburn, Alabama, Georgia Tech have players among selections on final day in Rounds 4-7

May 1, 2011 

After waiting a few days, several players from Georgia, Auburn, Alabama and Georgia Tech were selected during the last day of the NFL draft Saturday.

One Georgia player went a little later than many expected, while the other went a lot earlier.

In the end, former Georgia teammates Clint Boling and Kris Durham were picked seven spots apart in the fourth round.

Durham, a wide receiver, wasn’t invited to the NFL Scouting Combine in February. There was some thought he might not even be drafted.

But the Seahawks apparently were impressed with his workouts and his on-field performance; the 6-foot-5 senior caught 32 passes for 659 yards and three touchdowns last year.

Boling now will remain teammates with A.J. Green, who was the fourth pick overall Thursday by Cincinnati. The Bengals picked Boling, projected to play guard, with the 101st pick in the draft. They already have ex-Bulldogs Geno Atkins and Dennis Roland.

“There are a lot of Georgia guys there now, which is good. I’m just really excited right now,” Boling said on a conference call with Cincinnati media.

Boling started 49 games at Georgia, most at left tackle, and was named to the program’s all-decade team for the 2000s.

“I think he’s a good, young prospect, and he has played a lot of football there at Georgia,” said Bengals coach Marvin Lewis. “Now, it’s just about coming here and being able to take it and transition to the next level.”

-- Seth Emerson

Auburn

After six rounds of silence, Auburn got back on the NFL draft board.

Two Tigers were selected during the seventh and final round of the draft: defensive tackle Zach Clayton went to the Tennessee Titans and left tackle Lee Ziemba to the Carolina Panthers.

They were the first Auburn players taken since Thursday night, when quarterback Cam Newton went No. 1 overall to the Panthers and defensive tackle Nick Fairley went 13th to the Detroit Lions.

Clayton, an Opelika native, reunites with his college position coach, Tracy Rocker, who took the same position with the Titans in February after two years on the Plains.

“When I got the phone call, I can’t even tell you how excited I was to have the opportunity to work with Coach Rocker again,” Clayton said. “He was somebody I really respected this year, and me and him got along real well.”

The 6-foot-2, 299-pound tackle stayed healthy for the first time his senior season and thrived playing next to Fairley, finishing with 28 tackles, 8 tackles for a loss and 1 sack. He had 65 tackles, 17 tackles for a loss and 5.5 sacks in 41 total games with the Tigers.

He boosted his stock with a strong performance at Auburn’s Pro Day.

Later in the seventh round, with the 244th pick, the Panthers went back to the Auburn well, taking Ziemba, who blocked for Newton’s blind side last year.

A four-year starter, the 6-foot-6, 317-pound left tackle started a school record 52 games. He was the recipient of the Jacobs Blocking Trophy, given by the coaches to the SEC’s best blocker, and was a consensus All-American after anchoring a line that helped Auburn set records in points, rushing yards and total offense last year.

Auburn has had three or more players selected in 10 of the past 12 NFL drafts.

Still, it wrapped up a surprisingly quiet final day for the BCS national champions. Wide receiver Darvin Adams, who left a year early for the NFL, running back Mario Fannin and linebacker Josh Bynes were among a group of Auburn players who did not get selected.

It’s unclear when undrafted players can sign free-agent contracts because of the NFL labor dispute.

-- Andy Bitter

Alabama

The New York Jets took Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy in the seventh round, giving them a young backup to Mark Sanchez.

McElroy helped lead the Crimson Tide to the national championship as a junior in 2009 and ranks third in school history with 39 career touchdown passes. He threw for a career-high 2,987 yards and 20 touchdowns with five interceptions last season.

McElroy also knows how to win, going 24-3 as a starter at Alabama.

The Jets’ other quarterbacks are veteran Mark Brunell, Kevin O’Connell, who is coming off an injury, and Drew Willy, while former backup Kellen Clemens is expected to leave as a free agent.

Georgia Tech

The Baltimore Ravens selected Georgia Tech running back Anthony Allen in the seventh round.

Allen was taken with the 225th overall choice. The pick was obtained last year in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Allen is 6-foot-1, 225 pounds. He rushed for 1,316 yards and scored seven touchdowns in 2010 and accounted for more than 3,000 yards rushing and 33 touchdowns in his career.

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