Monday, April 26, 2004

Miree selected 247th of 255


Locals in Draft

By Neil Schmidt
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Two Greater Cincinnati natives in the draft pool spent a long time awaiting their fate.

Winton Woods product Brandon Miree, whose stock among tailbacks fell when he broke a leg as a senior at Pittsburgh, was finally taken by Denver with the 46th pick of the seventh round - the 247th of 255 players drafted.

Highlands grad Jared Lorenzen, who at Kentucky threw for the fourth-most yards in Southeastern Conference history, wasn't drafted.

He signed Sunday evening with the New York Giants as an undrafted free agent.

Locally, the best news Sunday came for Miami University offensive lineman Jacob Bell, in becoming Tennessee's fifth-round pick.

Lorenzen and Miree each admitted to anxious weekends. Seventeen QBs were taken in the draft, and 14 running backs were taken before Miree.

"It was disappointing, obviously," Lorenzen said. "I was hoping to get picked. I had four or five different (free agent) offers, so it was good to weigh my options.  . . All those teams that passed on me, I want to prove to them I can play and that they made a mistake."

Lorenzen perhaps slid because of concerns about his weight, which was 288 pounds at the combine. In his draft analysis bio on NFL.com, the listing of negatives about his play is twice as long as his positives.

He chose the Giants, he said, because they're starting over with a new coaching staff. "In my mind, I wasn't starting for a couple years," he said.

Miree's destination is intriguing, since Denver traded star rusher Clinton Portis to Washington. The Broncos took Oklahoma State's Tatum Bell in the second round and could be in need of multiple ballcarriers.

"That bodes well for me," Miree said. "I just want to get out there and show I'll help this team any way I can."

That might include switching to fullback.

"We thought he could play both positions," Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said of Miree. "That's the type of athletes we normally have, and he fits that mold."

Bell, a four-year starter who played every offensive line spot but center, was hoarse Sunday after all the whooping when he was drafted.

"It'll be exciting blocking for (Steve) McNair, one of the best quarterbacks in the league," Bell said.

He said the Titans foresee him playing guard.

"He was coached very well at Miami," Titans coach Jeff Fisher said of Bell. "They do everything we needed to see at this level - run game, pass game . . . pickups, stunts, and those kinds of things."

Saturday night, Roger Bacon and Ohio State product B.J. Sander became the first Cincinnati native drafted - taken by Green Bay in the third round. He was the first punter to be chosen in the first three rounds since 1997, when the Giants took Ball State's Brad Maynard ) in the third round.

Sander was part of a record-setting parade of 14 Buckeyes to be drafted. The earlier mark was 13, by Oklahoma in 1988.

Buckeyes taken Sunday were center Alex Stepanovich (round 4, Arizona); safety Will Allen (4, Tampa Bay); quarterback Craig Krenzel (5, Chicago); wideout Drew Carter (5, Carolina); linebacker Robert Reynolds (5, Tennessee); offensive tackle Adrien Clarke (7, Philadelphia) and offensive guard Shane Olivea (7, San Diego).

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E-mail nschmidt@enquirer.com




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Miree selected 247th of 255
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