LAS VEGAS — One player has been off-limits for Tennessee Titans coach Mike Vrabel when preparing for the draft with general manager Jon Robinson: Tyler Vrabel.
The Titans coach’s oldest son is a 6-foot-5, 310-pound offensive lineman who was a three-year starter at Boston College, spending two seasons at left tackle and one on the right side. Asked if the Titans are considering the younger Vrabel as a prospect, the elder Vrabel said no. He and Robinson haven’t even talked about it.
“I think that there’s 31 teams that are evaluating Tyler. I don’t think that’s good for anybody,” Vrabel said.
The Titans coach played 14 NFL seasons himself at linebacker, winning three Super Bowls with the Patriots. As coach, Vrabel has been a proud parent able to wear BC gear and cheer for his son during his college career. Now his son could hear his name called, even if he has to wait until Saturday. Mike Vrabel is staying in dad mode, excited to see what’s next for his son.
“That’s really what I’m trying to do,” Vrabel said. “It’s taken me a lot of years to be more dad than coach, and I’m trying to do a much better job at that, and I feel like I have. So, I’m excited for him to see where his next opportunity will be, and try to support him any way I can.”
PROSPECTS ON SITE
Twenty players from 17 schools will attend the draft in person, with many of them likely to go in the first round.
Three universities will have two representatives each: national champion Georgia with defensive lineman Jordan Davis and linebacker Nakobe Dean; Alabama with offensive lineman Evan Neal and wide receiver Jameson Williams; and Ohio State with wide receivers Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson.
On the list of attendees are several prospects expected to go in the top-10 selections, including Neal, Michigan edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson, North Carolina State OL Ikem Ekwonu, Cincinnati cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, Oregon edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux and Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton.
Two quarterbacks will attend: Matt Corral of Mississippi and Malik Willis of Liberty.
And now, for the New York Jets’ next selection, we take you to … London?
As the NFL continues to ramp up its international flavor, several teams will use sites abroad for a pick.
The Jets will have former center Nick Mangold at the observation deck of a London skyscraper to announce one of their picks. The Steelers will reveal a choice from Mexico City and the Dolphins from the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro. Local officials will illuminate the statue in Dolphins colors at night.
In all, 10 teams will announce a selection on Saturday from other countries. The move is in keeping with the league handing out commercial rights to 18 clubs.
Also involved Saturday will be the Bears and Jaguars from the United Kingdom; the Chiefs, Panthers and Buccaneers from Germany — Tampa Bay will host the NFL’s first regular-season game in Munich in the coming season; and the Texans and Cardinals in Mexico.
PURPLE HEART HONOR
The National Flag Foundation, in coordination with the Military Order of the Purple Heart, will commemorate the 240th anniversary of the Purple Heart when the 240th draft pick is announced on Saturday.
Representatives of both organizations, including former NFL players Rocky Bleier and John Banaszak, will do the honors.
Bleier, Banaszak and MOPH national commander James McCormick are veterans. Bleier, a U.S. Army combat-wounded veteran, is a recipient of the Purple Heart and Bronze Star. Banaszak is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, and McCormick is a multiple Purple Heart recipient.
“Our nation’s wounded veterans have sacrificed their full measure of devotion for our freedoms, and they deserve our thanks and recognition on this day and every day,” Bleier said. “We are grateful for the National Football League’s continued support of America’s combat-wounded veteran community and for helping the National Flag Foundation’s efforts to mark this important anniversary.”
Also Saturday, the Department of Defense will hold a joint enlistment ceremony for 10 future service members joining the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines. Maj. Gen. Kevin Vereen, commanding general of the U.S. Army Recruiting Command, will preside over the 5-minute ceremony on the draft stage.
AP Pro Football Writer Teresa M. Walker contributed to this report.
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