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NFL teams pass on Gamecocks on Day 1

South Carolina tight end Jared Cook points to the crowd as he scores a touchdown in the second quarter during the Gamecocks game against Arkansas at Williams-Brice Stadium, Saturday, November 8, 2008.
South Carolina tight end Jared Cook points to the crowd as he scores a touchdown in the second quarter during the Gamecocks game against Arkansas at Williams-Brice Stadium, Saturday, November 8, 2008. The State

Jared Cook planned to play video games Saturday during lulls in ESPN’s coverage of the NFL draft.

The day turned into a nearly six-hour waiting game for the South Carolina tight end.

No USC players were taken during the first two rounds of the draft, which resumes Sunday with rounds 3 through 7.

Cook, a 6-foot-5, 246-pounder who excelled at the NFL combine in February, was projected as a second-round pick and considered by many draft experts to be the second-best tight end prospect behind Oklahoma State’s Brandon Pettigrew.

Pettigrew was the first of two tight ends drafted Saturday.

The Detroit Lions, who took Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford with the first overall pick, snared Pettigrew with the 20th selection, their second pick of the first round.

Following a trade with Pittsburgh, Denver selected North Carolina’s Richard Quinn with the final pick of the second round. The 6-4, 264-pound Quinn is regarded as one of the best blocking tight ends in the draft, but he had just 12 career receptions for the Tar Heels.

Cook, who watched the draft with friends and family members at his parents’ home in Suwanee, Ga., presumably will not have long to wait Sunday before getting picked. ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. lists Cook as the second-best player available following two rounds.

Neither Pettigrew nor Quinn can match Cook from a playmaking standpoint.

Pettigrew averaged 11.2 yards per catch in 2008 and did not have a reception longer than 38 yards. Cook averaged a team-best 15.5 yards per reception and had two catches of at least 63 yards.

Quinn’s 12 catches covered 124 yards.

But there have been questions about Cook’s blocking ability. The 22-year-old came to USC as a receiver before converting to tight end.

Gamecocks offensive lineman Jamon Meredith also was projected as a possible second-round pick. But the Simpsonville native will have to wait another day before learning his fate.

Cook and Meredith were among six Gamecocks who attended the combine. Linebacker Jasper Brinkley, USC career receiving leader Kenny McKinley and junior defensive backs Emanuel Cook and Captain Munnerlyn were the others.

If all six are drafted, it would represent the most USC players taken since the draft was condensed to seven rounds in 1994.

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