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Wood shapes up for draft drama

Former PSU star works to be among elite quarterbacks

It's going to be the Year of the Quarterback in the NFL draft, and former Portland State signal-caller Juston Wood hopes he'll fit right in.

At least 10 quarterbacks are on the radar of NFL teams.

Wood, fresh off his workouts for scouts in the NFL combine last week in Indianapolis, says, 'There were some (QBs) who were really big, kind of in a different class, size-wise.'

He puts Carson Palmer, Dave Ragone, Kliff Kingsbury and Chris Simms as fitting in the 'big' class.

'Then you have the smaller guys,' Wood says, listing himself, Brooks Bollinger, Rex Grossman and Jason Gesser.

Byron Leftwich did not participate, and Kyle Boller only went through drills. Leftwich and Palmer are expected to be the first quarterbacks picked in the April 26-27 draft, with Grossman and Boller next.

Where will Wood go?

'It's hard to tell,' the David

Douglas High grad says. 'You don't know where teams have you on the board and how you'll fit into the system. That's why I'm reluctant to say, yes, I will be drafted. I may be ahead of some of those guys, you never know.'

Wood and two other NCAA Division I-AA quarterbacks stayed all seven days of the combine. 'We got so many more throws than anybody else,' Wood says. 'It was a good chance for people to see us.'

In the personal workout, 'I didn't do my best. I was fairly accurate, but it wasn't as good as I was capable of doing.'

Scouts, coaches and Wood's agent, Kenny Bruckerman, indicate he could be chosen anywhere from the fourth to the seventh and final round, or go as a free agent. Wood will work out for NFL scouts March 7 and 14 on the PSU campus, and he hopes more than one or two will show up.

'I was really encouraged to hear how many people wanted to come up here and work me out,' he says. 'I remember in years past with the pro date, with (Jimmy) Blanchard and Chip (Dunn), one guy showed up, from the Colts. Before that, two guys showed up.'

Wood also was encouraged to hear that many scouts put weight on the player's college performance and what they see on video, although Wood had an average senior year as PSU went 6-5. He had a great junior year with Terry Charles as his main target.

'When you watch me on film and the plays I made, and look at the supporting cast I had in my senior year É the scouts all mentioned I had a rough year and it wasn't necessarily my fault,' he says. 'You can only do so much, although I take a lot of responsibility for how we ended up.'

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