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The Daily Tar Heel

NFL Draft to Decide Players' Futures

A third might.

Alge Crumpler and Sedrick Hodge will celebrate their Saturday selections away from Chapel Hill, opting to join family and friends in Charlotte and Atlanta, respectively.

Brandon Spoon isn't going anywhere.

Spoon plans to sit by the television in his Chapel Hill apartment, where he will wait with his family in relative peace and quiet to hear his name announced at the NFL draft in New York.

Spoon has a reason to be more grounded at home. That family expanded by 7-pounds, 7-ounces just 14 days ago.

Spoon's wife, Abby, gave birth to Avery Elizabeth Spoon on April 6. Abby was due Wednesday, but Spoon and his wife decided to induce labor because he didn't want to be away at mini-camp only a week after his daughter was born.

Spoon won't have to worry about watching the draft from a delivery room, but his family is still No. 1 on his mind.

"I know this weekend I'm going to find out what my future holds for myself and my wife and my daughter," Spoon said. "Especially since my daughter has been born, the draft's really secondary in my life. I'm still concerned about it. It determines where we're going to start our family and start our home."

Spoon could sit by the television through three rounds and seven hours of coverage Saturday and not hear his name called. Draft experts predict that he will be picked between the third and fifth rounds.

Spoon had a disappointing first half to his senior season, but he helped his professional stock this spring. He played well in the Senior Bowl and impressed scouts at the combines -- where prospects work out in front of scouts -- in February.

"I didn't play as well as I would have liked to my senior year," Spoon said. "I disproved a lot of doubts through the Senior Bowl and the combines."

Crumpler and Hodge also helped their standing in workouts. Crumpler ran the 40-yard dash in 4.74 seconds at the combines and said his ability to catch passes and block give him an advantage.

ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. rates Crumpler as the second-best tight end in the draft, behind Arizona State's Todd Heap.

Kiper and Sports Illustrated's Peter King both predict that Baltimore will select Crumpler with 31st pick overall.

"I'm prepared to end up with any of the teams," Crumpler said. "They don't want to show their cards. If they really want you, and someone else really wants you, then who's going to get you first.

"This year's draft is really intriguing because, probably other than (Virginia Tech quarterback) Michael Vick, everything is a bunch of guesses as to where everybody is going to end up."

Hodge recorded the fastest 40-yard dash among linebackers at the combines by crossing the line in 4.47 seconds. At 6-foot-3, 244 pounds, scouts drool over his athletic ability.

Hodge's stock has steadily climbed in the offseason, and he will probably hear his name called in the second round.

"I think (teams) realized I'm a hard worker," Hodge said. "During the offseason, I worked really hard to attain my goals. I think I was a great ball player, I just needed to prove that I could do it."

The Sports Editor can be reached at sports@unc.edu.

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