PRO FOOTBALL | 2013 NFL DRAFT

H-F's Buchanan selected by New England in 7th round

2013-04-27T20:30:00Z 2014-08-13T20:38:14Z H-F's Buchanan selected by New England in 7th roundMike Nieto mike.nieto@nwi.com, (219) 933-3232 nwitimes.com
April 27, 2013 8:30 pm  • 

Michael Buchanan thought he could go as high as the second round of the NFL Draft.

Various websites and scouting services predicted him to be a fourth- or fifth-round pick. Saturday, Buchanan was chosen by the New England Patriots as the 20th pick of the seventh round, and 226th overall.

The Homewood-Flossmoor grad and Illinois defensive end-outside linebacker said before the draft that he is versatile and it did not matter whether he would be a linebacker or defensive end.

"As long as I can play in the NFL, I will do whatever is asked of me," Buchanan told The Times last week. "I can play either. I am comfortable with my hand on the ground (as a defensive end) or as a stand-up linebacker."

Buchanan made the Big Ten's second team both his junior and senior seasons. He was named the Fighting Illini's outstanding defensive player last season after starting all 12 games and had 57 total tackles, including 23 solos. He also had 4 1/2 sacks and an interception. As a junior, he had 7 1/2 sacks and 13 tackles-for-loss.

The Patriots had acquired the seventh-round pick from Tampa Bay in addition to cornerback Aqib Talib last season in exchange for a fourth-round pick. New England made it to the AFC championship game last year, falling 28-13 to the Baltimore Ravens.

Elsewhere in the draft, the fourth round was the landing spot for quarterbacks who carried hopes of going much higher.

Philadelphia traded up with Jacksonville to get Southern California quarterback Matt Barkley with the opening pick Saturday.

"I try not to get stressed about things I can't control," Barkley said when asked about his drop in the draft from likely first-rounder in 2012 to No. 98 overall. "I'm just glad I know where my home is and I can't wait to hit the playbook."

Yes, it was three rounds later than Barkley hoped for. Same thing for Ryan Nassib of Syracuse, Landry Jones of Oklahoma and Tyler Wilson of Arkansas, the other quarterbacks chosen in Round 4.

"We're going to take the best value on the board," coach Chip Kelly said, adding the Eagles rated Barkley in the top 50. "There's a prime example. The best value on the board by far was Matt. He's an extremely mature young man, intelligent, articulate. He has that 'it' factor."

Perhaps. But he seemed to have a lot more of it last year, but Barkley opted to return to school. He and the Trojans slumped, Barkley injured his shoulder, and his stock plummeted.

He will join quarterbacks Michael Vick and Nick Foles in Philadelphia.

The New York Giants, hardly in need of a quarterback with Eli Manning in his prime, still dealt with Arizona to move up for Nassib.

Nassib, from the Philadelphia suburbs, took a call from Giants coach Tom Coughlin, but wasn't sure what Coughlin told him.

"To be honest with you, I blacked out. I didn't get everything," Nassib said. "What I did get from him was that first off I had to cut my ties with the Philadelphia Eagles and switch, which won't be a problem."

Oakland, which acquired Matt Flynn from Seattle in the offseason to be its starter, followed two picks later at No. 112 overall with Wilson. Three spots after that, Pittsburgh grabbed Jones, probably hoping to groom him behind Ben Roethlisberger.

"I just think it was time to start grooming a new player, freshen up the room if you will," quarterbacks coach Randy Fichtner said.

"I get to learn from one of the best quarterbacks to play the game," Jones added.

Before Saturday's surge, quarterbacks were rare — only one was chosen in each of the first three rounds: Florida State's EJ Manuel by Buffalo in the first round; West Virginia's Geno Smith by the Jets in the second; and North Carolina State's Mike Glennon by Tampa Bay in the third.

In all, 11 QBs were selected, the same number as last year. But four went in the first round in 2012.

A former quarterback, Denard Robinson of Michigan, is headed to Jacksonville, which had one of the league's worst offenses the last two years. Robinson will be switched to running back or receiver by the Jaguars; he set the NCAA record for career yards rushing (4,495) by a quarterback.

"A lot of people have put me at different positions," he said. "Now it's time to go to work."

South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore, who would have been a high pick if healthy but is coming off a second severe knee injury, went to the 49ers 131st overall. San Francisco can afford to "redshirt" Lattimore because it has a strong stable of runners, including Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James.

"We really haven't even talked about that, so I don't have any clue," Lattimore said about possibly sitting out 2013 to heal completely. "My main goal right now is to go in there and work hard, go in there and learn the offense, and if I'm ready to play, I'm going to play, and if I'm not, I'm not."

Lattimore, who dislocated his left knee and tore three ligaments last season, said he spoke with Gore during his rehab.

"And now I'm with the 49ers, and it's just a great, great situation for me," Lattimore said.

Special teamers finally got the call when three kickers went in the fifth round: punters Jeff Locke of UCLA to Minnesota and Sam Martin of Appalachian State to Seattle, and placekicker Caleb Sturgis of Florida to Miami.

National champion Alabama, which had four players chosen previously — three in the first round — had five more go on the final day: linebacker Nico Johnson to Kansas City with the pick after Barkley was taken; guard Barrett Jones, who can play all offensive line positions, to the Rams; DTs Jesse Williams to Seattle and Quinton Dial to San Francisco; and tight end Michael Williams.

— The Associated Press contributed to this story

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