Saturday, March 8th, 1997

JJ Cruises Blacksburg for Future Draft Choices

By now, you've heard that Miami Dolphins coach Jimmy Johnson was in Blacksburg this past week to check out Tech's prospective NFL draft choices. This was one day after JJ had been in Charlottesville checking out some future WLAF players.

The Hokies gathered 11 players and held a workout in Rector Field House, just for JJ and his entourage. I don't know who all 11 players were, but interestingly enough, I heard the list included former Tech basketball player and kick-blocker extraordinaire John Rivers.

The usual marquee players were there: Jay Hagood, Torrian Gray, Bryan Jennings, and Cornell Brown. Cornell even spoke to the Channel 10 reporter on the scene, giving a nice but generic quote about how he (and the others) are essentially on call these days, working out for NFL teams whenever the opportunity arises.

Obviously, though, Jimmy Johnson was really there to see another Jim - specifically, Tech's Druckenmiller. The Dolphins have the 15th pick in April's NFL draft, and I don't doubt that selecting and grooming a replacement for Dan Marino is at least in the back of JJ's mind, maybe in the front of it. The last time I saw his list, draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. was forecasting the Dolphins to pick one of those orange-and-blue linebackers with their first draft choice.

Let's just say that I hope Jimmy has some second thoughts about that choice, if Kiper is correct. Channel 10 didn't have any quotes from Johnson after the workout, but they did show some film of JJ schmoozing with Druck, and lemme tell ya, that was fun to watch. It wasn't hard for me to picture Druckenmiller wearing the aqua-and-orange.

Kiper, by the way, has not updated his draft list since Peyton Manning declared that he would stay at Tennessee.


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