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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, April 27, 2006

Eatons eagerly await draft

By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

Felicia Eaton is hopeful that her son, former Hawai'i lineman Brandon Eaton, will be a late-round pick in the NFL draft.

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Doctor, doctor, give her the news. She's got a bad case of lovin' ... the National Football League draft?

"It's like I'm obsessed," Felicia Eaton said.

Each day, she pores over draft reports on the Internet, hungering for more information. Her favorite site is: draftdaddy.com.

"He's Draft Daddy," she said of the site's Web master. "I'm Draft Mommy."

She has particular interest in this weekend's draft. Her son, Brandon Eaton, a former University of Hawai'i offensive lineman, is eligible for selection. The indications are and Felicia should know that Brandon has a prayer of being selected in the sixth or seventh round and, at least, a strong chance of receiving a free-agent offer.

"That's the way it looks," said Felicia, who lives in Houston. "There are a few teams interested. I'm hoping he shows up on somebody's radar."

The New England Patriots, San Francisco 49ers and Atlanta Falcons have expressed the most interest. Eaton played right guard as a junior and senior at UH, but also was used at center and tackle. If he were invited to an NFL camp, he likely would compete at center or guard.

Sandwiched between center Derek Fa'avi and right tackle Dane Uperesa, Eaton still managed to gain attention. He was named to the 2005 All-Western Athletic Conference second team.

UH coaches praise his agility he played basketball and baseball in high school versatility and durability.

Eaton was not invited to the NFL's combine last month, but he participated in the "Pro Day" in California. In damp, windy conditions, he posted respectable results: 33-inch vertical jump, 9-foot-1 broad jump. He bench pressed 225 pounds 26 times.

"It was pretty OK," he said.

Those figures were impressive, however, when put into the context of Eaton's football career. He first played the sport as a freshman in high school. When he signed with UH in February 2001, he weighed 215 pounds.

The UH coaches "told me I needed to gain a little weight," he recalled. He signed up for the Couch Potato Diet.

"I gained 40 pounds before my first (UH) camp," he said. "That was all from sitting around eating, lifting weights, and sitting around eating some more."

Now Eaton, who is 6 feet 2, weighs 312.

He said he tries to stay in shape using the "hard four" training technique. He starts by jogging on a quarter-mile track in less than 1 minute, 40 seconds. He runs the second lap in two fewer seconds than his first-lap time. After a short break, he runs two more laps, each faster than the previous lap's time. After another he break, he runs the final two laps.

"It's a really good drill," he said.

Most of all, it keeps him occupied instead of fretting about his future. "We're in the stretch," he said, "and all you can do is wait."

Eaton and his family will watch both days of telecasts of the NFL draft. On Sunday, he said, "We're going to have to put up the 'Do Not Disturb' sign. My mom's not answering any phones. She'll sit in her seat. Don't say anything to her. She's more of a draft person than I am."

Felicia said she has studied all of the prospects at each position, focusing mostly on the offensive linemen. While she's willing to discuss prospects, there are two unmentionables.

"We don't want to talk about David Carr," she said, referring to the quarterback of her hometown Houston Texans. "I guess once he gets a line, he won't have any excuses."

And "I don't like Mel," she said of Mel Kiper Jr., who analyzes the draft for ESPN. "I'm sorry, I just don't. I don't like the fact he doesn't give our WAC schools enough attention."

She noted that All-Pro running backs LaDainian Tomlinson and Marshall Faulk played in the WAC, as well as, ahem, Carr.

She also remains faithful to former Texas quarterback Vince Young.

"Vince is my boy," she said. "We got upset with him when he did a signing out here in Houston, and he was charging for it. I mean, 75 dollars a pop? Gimme a break. Hold up, Vince, you're not a pro yet. But he's still my guy, and I hope he gets picked No. 2 or No. 3. It would be great if my son could block for him one day."

Reach Stephen Tsai at stsai@honoluluadvertiser.com.