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'Other draft' goes on out of fans' sight

(AP Photo/Aaron Beard)

WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) Gary Shipman was at his desk at noon Saturday, thumbing through depth charts and occasionally looking across the room at the wall-mounted TV trumpeting the start of the NFL draft's final day.

Shipman, who represents four college football players eligible to play in the NFL this season, didn't expect to hear any of their names called, even when teams are willing to take chances in the sixth or seventh round. Shipman and his staff were busily studying NFL rosters, trying to find the right fit for their players, keeping tabs on how franchises are using picks and trying to sell teams on his list of undrafted free agents well before the 253rd and final selection was made in Chicago.

This is the draft TV viewers don't see, and it is still going on. Players with multiple offers can decide where to try out based on signing bonuses, systems that fit their skills, coaches they may know, geography and, most importantly, where they have the best chance to make the final roster of 53 players or a 10-man practice squad. Others are just happy to get an invite to a rookie minicamp, and hope it leads to a chance to play.


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