23 players to attend 2013 NFL Draft, Star Lotulelei will stay home

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com

A year ago, 26 players were invited to New York City for the NFL Draft. (Getty Images)

Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro tweeted the news last month -- he'll be headed to Radio City Music Hall on April 25 for the 2013 NFL Draft. And a day after Vaccaro's announcement, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o, once considered a top 10 pick who now could fall out of the first round altogether, said that he wouldn't be in New York City for the festivities.

On Wednesday, the NFL confirmed that 23 players would attend the draft, three fewer than a year ago:

1) Ezekiel Ansah, DE, Brigham Young
2) Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
3) Jonathan Cooper, G, North Carolina
4) Eric Fisher, T, Central Michigan
5) Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
6) D.J. Fluker, T, Alabama
7) Luke Joeckel, T, Texas A&M
8) Lane Johnson, T, Oklahoma
9) Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
10) Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
11) E.J. Manuel, QB, Florida State
12) Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
13) Barkevious Mingo, DE, Louisiana State
14) Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
15) Eric Reid, S, Louisiana State
16) Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
17) Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
18) Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
19) Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
20) Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
21) Chance Warmack, G, Alabama
22) Menelik Watson, T, Florida State
23) Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State

One notable omission: Utah defensive lineman Star Lotulelei, who released this statement through his agent Wednesday:

“I want to thank the NFL for inviting me to New York City for the draft. Being invited is a tremendous honor and I am very grateful for the consideration. After discussing it with my family, I have decided to stay in Utah for the draft so I can share this moment with all of the people that have supported me my entire life. I expect over 50 family and friends at our home for this wonderful occasion and look forward to a special day."

Now the question becomes which players will be stuck in the green room past the first round, which is Thursday, April 25. A year ago, Coby Fleener, Courtney Upshaw, Cordy Glenn, Stephen Hill, Devon Still, and Rueben Randle were all in attendance and all ended up going in Round 2. (Glenn left for Atlanta after the first round, and Randle was tasked with turning out the lights in the green room -- he finally heard his name called when the Giants took him with the 63rd pick.)

So who will be the stragglers this year? Hard to say, but know this: There appears to be no correlation between time stuck in the green room and NFL success:

Aaron Rodgers and Brady Quinn had long days during their respective first rounds. (Getty Images)

During the 2005 draft, Aaron Rodgers spent the better part of a day in the green room before the Packers finally selected him 24th. And two years later, Brady Quinn suffered a similar fate until the Browns traded up to get him at No. 22.

 
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