By Joe Scalzo
Manningham slides as area players wait for second day
At least five Valley standouts are expected to be selected today.
Mario Manningham was so eager to play in the NFL that he decided to bypass his senior season at Michigan to enter the draft.
Saturday, he learned he’d have to wait a little bit longer.
NFL teams made a run on wide receivers during the second round of Saturday’s draft, but the standout from Warren Harding wasn’t one of them.
Manningam probably won’t need to wait much longer. He’s the top-rated receiver remaining according to Scouts Inc. and ESPN.com draft guru Todd McShay. Today’s third round begins at 10 a.m.
No wide receivers were selected in the first round, but that trend changed in the second round when five of the first 11 picks were wideouts and 10 of the first 27.
Manningham had his finest season at Michigan last fall, catching 72 passes for 1,174 yards and 19 TDs. Over his three-year career, he caught 137 passes for 2,310 yards and 27 touchdowns.
Several other area standouts figure to go early during the final five rounds of the draft today.
Toledo’s John Greco of Boardman is the third-best remaining offensive tackle according to Scouts Inc. and Fitch High graduate Mike McGlynn is the fourth-best offensive guard remaining. McGlynn played tackle in college but projects as a guard in the pros.
Eastern Kentucky cornerback Antwaun Molden, who played at Warren Harding before transferring to Cleveland Glenville midway through his senior year, should also get drafted in the third or fourth round.
Chaney High graduate Keilen Dykes, a standout defensive lineman at West Virginia, is projected as a fifth or sixth round pick, but could go earlier.
Manningham projected as a first-round selection when he entered the draft in January, but a poor performance at the NFL combine in February, combined with revelations that he twice tested positive for marijuana during college, contributed to his slide. It seems unlikely he will last past the third round, however.
Once picked, he will become the third Warren Harding High graduate selected in the last four years. Linebacker Prescott Burgess was chosen by the Baltimore Ravens in the fourth round of last year’s draft, while running back Maurice Clarett was picked by the Denver Broncos in the third round of the 2005 draft. Burgess played sparingly last season before an injury ended his season. Clarett was cut during training camp.
Several others players with area ties have a chance of being selected today, including Akron cornerback Davanzo Tate (Fitch), Pitt defensive back Mike Phillips (Harding) and YSU standouts Dorian Chenault and James Terry.