CATS IN DRAFT

NFL draft: 3 Cats hoping NFL is on other end of line

2013-04-27T00:00:00Z NFL draft: 3 Cats hoping NFL is on other end of lineDaniel Berk Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
April 27, 2013 12:00 am  • 

The glitz and glamour of the NFL draft was on display Thursday night in New York City.

Prospects wore their custom-made suits and diamond bracelets that were bigger than their wrists. They were perfectly groomed for their 15 minutes of fame.

But that's just one side of the draft.

While that was going on, Taimi Tutogi was in shorts and a T-shirt, working out in a gym in San Diego.

Kyle Quinn was confidently relaxing with his family in Northern California, and Dan Buckner was running errands with his mom in Dallas.

For the three former Arizona Wildcats, today will determine their NFL fate. Tutogi, Quinn and Buckner will all likely be professionals at day's end, be it as late-round picks or undrafted free agents.

"It's been a little hectic, to say the least," Quinn said. "But it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The training and preparation that goes into it is demanding, but it will hopefully be very rewarding.

"That's what this week is all about."

Here's a closer look at the trio of Cats hoping to get the call of a lifetime today.

Dan Buckner

Position: Wide receiver

Height/weight: 6 feet 4 inches/215 pounds

The lowdown: Buckner has battled ankle and hamstring injuries the past three months, and it seems to have hurt his draft stock. He hurt his ankle at the East-West Shrine Game and then tweaked his hamstring at the UA's pro day last month. When he's healthy, Buckner, 22, possesses the size and speed NFL teams desire and has shown a knack for making plays.

Projection: Buckner said some teams have expressed interest in drafting him in the sixth or seventh round, while others have said they would prefer to sign him as a free agent after the draft.

He said it: "The injuries have definitely been tough, but throughout my career, between my parents and coaches, they've trained me to persevere through things like this. My work ethic is higher than ever. My agent told me the other day that hard work brings good luck. Hopefully, I have some good luck coming my way this weekend." - Buckner

Kyle Quinn

Position: Center/guard

Height/weight: 6-4/297

The lowdown: Quinn started at center the past two seasons for the Wildcats, and is being looked at by NFL scouts as both a center and a guard. He isn't known as an above-average athlete, but his versatility is appealing to teams. He'll spend today in his hometown of Brentwood, Calif., with his family while he waits to hear what's next.

Projection: Quinn, 23, seems like a long shot to be drafted, but will likely get scooped up as a free agent shortly after the draft. He has heard from the Eagles, Colts, Vikings and Patriots. His experience and success as a shotgun snapper is a plus and will help him land on a roster.

He said: "My confidence is really high based on the feedback I'm hearing from teams. When you hear from a coach that they think you can play in the NFL, it's a huge confidence-booster. Everyone has seen my body of work and knows what I can do." - Quinn

Taimi Tutogi

Position: Fullback/H-Back/tight end

Height/weight: 6-1/260

The lowdown: Like Quinn, Tutogi's versatility is his greatest asset when it comes to the draft. The majority of teams that have talked to him like him as a fullback, but there are a couple of teams that are interested in him as a defensive end or pass rusher. He can play multiple offensive positions, lining up as a fullback or a tight end. He's been working hardest the past three months on his speed and agility.

Projection: Tutogi, 22, said some teams have said they could draft him as early as the fifth round, but he's expecting to sign after the draft. He has experience on special teams for the Wildcats and that should help him at the next level when hooking up with a team.

Quotable: "It's tough to keep all these emotions in. The worst part is not knowing. There are a lot of unanswered questions. Where will I end up? Who will I be with? How far away will I be from my family? I'm just real excited for the process to be over and begin the next step. It's just a waiting game now." - Tutogi

On StarNet: On StarNet: Keep up with the UA football team year-round with Daniel Berk's blog at azstarnet.com/berk

Today

• What: NFL Draft, rounds 4-7

• When: 9 a.m., ESPN

Contact reporter Daniel Berk at dberk@azstarnet.com or 573-4330. On Twitter @DSBerk.

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