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Published: Saturday, 2/26/2005

UM's Edwards: Moss wannabe?

BY DAVE HACKENBERG
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
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INDIANAPOLIS - With receiver Randy Moss gone via trade to the Oakland Raiders, it is being speculated that the Minnesota Vikings will try to move up from the 18th spot in the first round of April's NFL draft to snag a replacement.

Braylon Edwards of Michigan knows he might be that guy and would welcome the opportunity.

"That would be a rough task to replace Randy, but it's a challenge I'd gladly take," Edwards said yesterday at the NFL Scouting Combine. "With a quarterback like Daunte Culpepper and a guy like Nate Burleson to learn from, that would be a great situation. I feel I could step in and blossom."

Edwards is meeting with numerous teams this weekend and will take part in some physical drills, but he will wait until a pro workout day at Michigan on March 18 to be timed in the 40-yard dash.

"It was a long season and I don't feel I've fully recovered," he said. "I want to be in the best possible shape to help myself, so I'll wait. I'd like to get down to 4.37 [seconds] by Pro Day. It's something I feel I can do.

"There's a chance in this draft for five or six different guys to go No. 1. I should think I'd at least have a great shot at the top 10. My game films sort of speak for themselves, so if I run the time I want to run, I should put myself in that situation."

IT'S SIMPLE: Nick Saban, the new coach of the Miami Dolphins, owns the second pick in April's draft and joked yesterday that it's a pretty simple process.

"It's like taking the best graduate students at all the universities, evaluating their careers and their futures, and determining which ones will win the Nobel Prize," said Saban, the one-time head coach at the University of Toledo who left LSU for the Dolphins job. "That's pretty much what we're doing."

And what has he learned since being tutored on the NFL salary cap?

"Well, this isn't fantasy football, I know that," he said.

FRYE TIME: Alex Smith of Utah and Aaron Rodgers of California, both underclassmen, are the quarterbacks getting most of the pre-draft attention. But after Akron senior Charlie Frye won MVP honors recently in the Senior Bowl, Raiders coach Norv Turner walked up to him and said, "Son, you just made yourself millions of dollars."

Most NFL experts feel his performance vaulted him to the top of the second round, but Frye said he's given it very little thought.

"I have a tremendous opportunity and it's very exciting, but I have to take it one day at a time," he said. "What happens today at the Combine, not what happens two months from now, is most important. I can't worry about the draft or where I'll go. Joe Montana, Tom Brady - a lot of guys didn't go in the first round. It's not where you start the race. It's how you finish."



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