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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Veikune rough and ready for big day

The National Football League draft is this weekend, and David Veikune will be thinking about the greens.

"I'm going to go golfing," said Veikune, a former University of Hawai'i defensive end who might be selected as early as the third round.

Veikune has drawn strong interest from several NFL teams. The Minnesota Vikings, Denver Broncos, Philadelphia Eagles, Tennessee Titans and Miami Dolphins brought him in for personal workouts.

The Arizona Cardinals and Dallas Cowboys have had face-to-face interviews with Veikune.

Where Veikune will play is a two-fold question. The team and position will be known, most likely, on Sunday, when the third through seventh rounds will be conducted.

Veikune is an intriguing prospect. He was named to the 2007 All-Western Athletic Conference first team despite not starting any games that season.

He was one of the strongest Warriors, once bench pressing 500 pounds.

He played well in the Senior Bowl in January. He also had impressive numbers at the NFL Scouting Combine in February.

At the combine, he bench pressed 225 pounds 35 times, fourth-highest total among all participants.

He was officially timed at 4.87 seconds in the 40-yard dash, ninth-best among defensive linemen. But that was the slowest of the recordings by the three timers. One clocked him at 4.79 seconds.

Veikune also completed the L-drill, which was not recorded on the NFL Web site, in 4.20 seconds.

A common strategy is to take the best scores from the combine and pro day. Each NCAA team is permitted a pro day, in which its players go through several drills in front of NFL scouts.

Veikune decided to rest on his combine results, opting to only run the 40 and perform position drills at UH's Pro Day in Carson, Calif.

He ran the 40 in 4.81 seconds. Best of all, he impressed scouts with his agility, lateral speed and good hands during linebacker drills.

The Titans and Cardinals run 4-3 defenses, and envision Veikune as a defensive end.

The others that have shown interest run 3-4 defenses, and they view him as a linebacker.

Veikune said that at 260 pounds, he is at a middle weight. He believes he would need to weigh at least 270 to play end in a 4-3 alignment. He said he probably could play linebacker at 255.

"I can say that he's got first-day talent, but where he gets drafted depends on how teams draft players at his position," agent Kenny Zuckerman said.

Zuckerman said scouts like Veikune's potential. The Campbell High grad attended Colorado for a year and then Fresno City College for a semester. He was at UH for three years.

"He's only been a one-year starter," Zuckerman said. "His best football is ahead of him."

Veikune said he has no preferences, although his father is a fan of the Cardinals. Veikune lived in Arizona from the second through sixth grades.

Veikune said he is not nervous, and has no plans for a draft party.

"Why have a party when you're not sure where you're going to go?" he said.

Veikune said he will relax on the golf course. His handicap?

"Severe," he said. "The first time I played was on Friday. I'm not very good, but I had fun."

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