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Old 06-26-2009, 07:29 AM   #1
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It's always interesting to watch the guys you "wanted" in the draft. This update has a few glimpses of how they are doing so far. As far as these guys go, my two positions to watch will be:

Larry English vs. Brian Orakpo vs. Robert Ayers
William Moore vs. Rashad Johnson vs. Darcel McBath

Here's the article and link:

http://www.nfl.com/news/story?id=090...s&confirm=true

These rookies have made a good first impression at offseason camps

By Steve Wyche | NFL.com
Senior Writer


Josh Freeman has himself squarely in the cross-hairs of the starting quarterback competition in Tampa Bay. Fellow first-rounder Larry English is being counted on to supply a pass rush in San Diego. Ravens second-rounder Paul Kruger has turned Terrell Suggs' absence from voluntary workouts to his favor.

With minicamps and offseason workouts coming to a close this week, players in the rookie class of 2009 have given glimpses, if not wider views, of their potential impact. Coaches and personnel officials have been able to project, to some degree, what they might be able to generate from their rookies in the short and long terms.

Pressure on five rookie classes
Some teams are going to be more reliant on draftees than others. Vic Carucci has a list of clubs whose seasons could hinge on the performance of their draft choices. More ...

» Kirwan: It's money time for rookies
» Carucci: Teams on a stay-cation
» Fantasy: Top rookies to watch
Here's a look-in at some rookies who left impressions on their new teams during offseason workouts:



Raiders WRs Darrius Heyward-Bey and Louis Murphy
Coach Tom Cable believes Heyward-Bey, Oakland's criticized seventh-overall pick, will be just as effective running intermediate and short routes as he will be using his speed on straight-line go patterns. And Cable also believes Heyward-Bey could have some company at wide receiver with fellow rookie Murphy, a fourth-round pick from Florida.

"He's probably the surprise of our (rookie) class," Cable said of Murphy. "He has all the makings to be a very special football player at this level -- mainly because he was impressive on a daily basis. We really think we found one."

That's great news for the Raiders, who have really struggled on offense in recent years, particularly in the passing game. They've finished among the bottom two in passing offense, including last in 2008, the past three seasons. Having two young wideouts and a stable of running backs to grow with quarterback JaMarcus Russell, might actually give the perpetually rebuilding Raiders some optimism for the long-term. Oakland just has to hope the receivers have the mental makeup to match their physical skills.



Chiefs DE Tyson Jackson
Kansas City coach Todd Haley said earlier this summer that Jackson's adjustment to playing as a 3-4 defensive end could be a lot easier than people think, because the third overall pick is mature enough to withstand expectations and distractions. The physical part will take care of itself and he should evolve into the keystone player the Chiefs need to rebuild their porous defense.

"He's going to be under more scrutiny than most of the other guys all the time," Haley said. "That's just something he's going to have to deal with and that's something you have to take into consideration when you pick somebody with a high pick. Mentally, he has adjusted."



Buccaneers QB Josh Freeman
Freeman was viewed by some as the most gifted of the trio of first-round quarterbacks that included top overall pick Matthew Stafford (Detroit) and No. 5 selection Mark Sanchez (New York Jets). However, he was seen as the biggest project of the three and was expected to spend his rookie season, if not longer, developing behind Byron Leftwich or Luke McCown.

His offseason workouts might have changed some of those projections. Although Leftwich and McCown may be ahead of him on the depth chart, Freeman has thrust himself into the thick of the competition to be the starter and how each performs in preseason will chart the course for Freeman's future.

"Josh did a good job understanding his role," Buccaneers GM Mark Dominik said. "He showed good leadership and he understands our playbook. We are excited about his progress. He's come in and represented himself well and showed why he was taken in the first round."


David Kohl / Associated Press
Michael Johnson's performance in shorts and jersey has the Bengals anxious to see what he can do in pads.


Bengals DE Michael Johnson
Johnson, a third-round pick, has mouths watering for what he did in shorts and a jersey this offseason. His athleticism and versatility have Bengals coaches talking about using him as a pass-rush specialist in a variety of positions -- if he can consistently perform in pads the way he has without them. But that has always been the knock on Johnson, considered a workout warrior who lacks consistency on the field.



Chargers LB Larry English
The Chargers loved what they saw from English, their first-round pick who averaged double-digit sacks over his final three seasons at Northern Illinois. He'll be asked this season to back up both Shawne Merriman and Shaun Phillips, serving as a pass-rush specialist.

"Larry shows outstanding pass-rush ability," coach Norv Turner said. "He's a guy that I think will be able to make plays early. ... I've been very impressed with what I've seen from him."



Redskins LB Brian Orakpo
Like English, Orakpo is making the transition from collegiate defensive end to outside linebacker. The 13th overall pick has shown well enough in offseason workouts that he will enter training camp as the Redskins' starter on the strong side.

"Brian showed that he has great pass-rushing ability," said Vinny Cerrato, Redskins executive VP of football operations. "He did a nice job learning a new position."



Ravens DE Paul Kruger
Baltimore's second-round selection is expected to eventually replace veteran defensive end Trevor Pryce. He will rotate some with Pryce this season, but Kruger will spend more time at outside linebacker. Coaches think that, in time, he can add weight to his 265-pound frame, but for now, they love his energy and that he picked up the defense while spending most of the offseason working with the starters.




Falcons safety William Moore
The Falcons went into the draft in search of a more versatile and younger version of veteran Lawyer Milloy, who was not re-signed when his contract expired. They took Moore in the second round and watched the Missouri product spend the summer showcasing more than they expected. Now, they want even more from Moore, who will battle Thomas DeCoud for the starting strong safety spot.

"He has a skill set that we're looking for, in terms of a safety; not a strong safety or free safety," coach Mike Smith said. "The biggest thing we ask our safeties to do is to be communicative on the back end, and he's picking that up very well."



Bengals RB Bernard Scott
The Bengals took a chance on the 25-year-old Abilene Christian running back in the sixth round, despite some off-field baggage that includes being kicked off two teams (one in high school, one in college) and several run-ins with police.

At 5-foot-10 and 200 pounds, he is similar in stature, speed and running style to Tennessee's Chris Johnson -- except he is not viewed as an every-down back. However, if he shows an ability to return kicks and can produce in third-down situations during the preseason, he could have an immediate impact as a rookie, and serve as the Bengals' primary change-of-pace back to Cedric Benson.

"Bernard is a late pick, but he physically is looking very much like an NFL back," coach Marvin Lewis said. "He's very fast and has great ability as an open-field runner and for in-line cutting. He's also catching the ball well."



Panthers RB Mike Goodson
Carolina's fourth-round pick seemingly landed in a less-than-ideal place with DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart entrenched as the tailback tandem. However, with Stewart nursing a problematic Achilles' tendon and by having a completely different running style than Williams and Stewart, he has a shot at making a contribution as the No. 3 tailback. His best bet is as a returner, but the coaching staff has taken note of what he can add from the backfield.
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Old 06-26-2009, 07:39 AM   #2
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Yah, there's gonna be a lot of what if's resulting from the 2009 draft, especially at DL's and LB's not chosen by the Broncs.
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Old 06-26-2009, 07:58 AM   #3
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Lets hope we keep having strong drafts..i like that Ayers is already cracking the lineup, I thiknk Moreno will have a big impact, the key to our draft will be Alphonso Smith, McBath and Bruton in a few years, hopefully they can be solid players down the road.
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Old 06-26-2009, 08:03 AM   #4
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Bengals RB Bernard Scott

that includes being kicked off two teams (one in high school, one in college) and several run-ins with police.

This guy had Cincy written all over him, didnt he. What a mess.
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Old 06-26-2009, 08:20 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by SoDak Bronco View Post
Lets hope we keep having strong drafts..i like that Ayers is already cracking the lineup, I thiknk Moreno will have a big impact, the key to our draft will be Alphonso Smith, McBath and Bruton in a few years, hopefully they can be solid players down the road.
Maybe I am blind or it could be that case of resounding stupidity I have, but where did you see that Ayers is cracking the lineup? I haven't seen much in regards to how our rookies are doing. In particular, I haven't seen **** on Ayers.
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Old 06-26-2009, 08:32 AM   #6
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Minicamp wrap up: Winners and losers (and of course, more Marshall talk)
by Lindsay Jones on June 15, 2009

Well, it’s been a heck of an offseason, wouldn’t you say? And Brandon Marshall seems to be doing his best to make sure the Broncos stay in the news in upcoming days and weeks, when the rest of the NFL world starts to shut down for a much-needed vacation.
I’ll touch a bit on the Marshall situation below … but first, to borrow a line from Josh McDaniels, let’s talk about the players that were actually at Dove Valley for the team’s mandatory minicamp.
WINNERS
- WRs Jabar Gaffney, Eddie Royal, Brandon Stokely and Chad Jackson: So maybe none of these guys presents quite the intimidating physical presence that No. 15 does, but these four receivers got plenty of reps with the first-team offense through the weekend. Gaffney at this point appears to be the most versatile and comfortable in the offense, no surprise since he followed McDaniels here from New England. Eddie Royal frequently looked like the very best skill position player on the field — fantasy alert! he’s going to make A LOT of catches this year — and Stokely is his same old reliable self Broncos fans are used to. Chad Jackson might have found himself in the best position through all this offseason turmoil. A guy who signed late last season and played little for Mike Shanahan, he’s getting a lot of work now and is familiar with the offense from his time in New England. I don’t expect him to be a starter, but he could find himself a role here, especially if Marshall protests his way out of town.
- QB Kyle Orton: He’s The Man heading into training camp. This is good for him from a leadership perspective and it will help him continue to build rapport with his receivers. He wasn’t always sharp in minicamp, but it surely is a confidence boost for Orton to know his coach has enough faith in him to anoint him as the No. 1 right now.
- TE Tony Scheffler: Kudos to Scheffler for making it through an entire offseason program healthy. After spending the last two Mays and Junes in the training room or on the sidelines, it was nice to see Scheffler working at full speed. He is playing behind Daniel Graham, but did get first-team reps in 2 tight end sets.
- OLB/DE Robert Ayers: Yes, Knowshon Moreno was impressive and I expect Moreno to make a major impact this season. But Ayers got more work with the first team of any rookie. He also showed tremendous work ethic by staying late after every practice to practicing catching balls from the Jugs machine. He was on the field for a solid 15 minutes, at least, longer than all of his defensive teammates each day.
- ILB D.J. Williams: Williams is still wearing the orange “no contact” jersey as he continues to recover from offseason shoulder surgery, but it didn’t look like Williams was limited at all. In fact, he appeared to get more work than just about any defensive player because of his starting spot in the base, nickel and dime packages. He is even on the first-team field goal block unit.
- RB Ryan Torain: He didn’t take any reps, but the fact that he was on the field practicing at all makes Torain a winner for sure. He showed good mobility and the grace we all remember from last summer as he worked through individual drills.
- OLB/DE Tim Crowder: The 2007 second-round pick was basically Mr. Irrelevant last season, but he was in with the first-team base defense at outside linebacker all weekend. He came out on passing downs, though he was on the second-team nickel unit. I talked to Crowder on Friday, and he said that all he can ask for is a chance to compete, and clearly he’s been given a clean slate by the new coaching regime.
- OL Seth Olsen: The rookie draft pick took all of the first-team reps at right guard while starter Chris Kuper was excused to attend his own wedding. There is very little chance Kuper’s absence hurts his standing — all the praise for the Ryans aside, I’ve heard talk that Kuper was the line’s MVP last season — but any time a young guy like Olsen can get that much early work with the starters, it is a good thing.
LOSERS (and we mean this in the nicest way possible)
- WR Brandon Marshall: You can’t win if you don’t (or won’t) play.
- P Brett Kern: Rookie Britton Colquitt looks like he’ll be more than just a camp leg. Kern, who had a solid rookie year in 2008, could find himself in another heated battle throughout training camp.
- DE/OLB Elvis Dumervil and Darrell Reid: I was hesitant to list these guys here, but the fact is, they were both relegated to the second-team through much of the weekend. Dumervil, did, however take a number of first-team reps on Sunday, swapping in and out with Ayers. This position battle is far from over and is shaping up to be possibly the most interesting competition of training camp.
- QB Chris Simms: Now officially the No. 2, which makes him the “loser” in the QB competition. But he handled the news well, praised Orton as a teammate and player and said he will continue to work hard, which makes him a “winner” in my book.
And now, onto Brandon Marshall, who just keeps finding ways to keep himself in the news and on the airwaves.
Here’s what we know: He wants a new, big-money contract that would pay him on par with what similarly productive receivers in the league make. He wants to rehab with his own doctors and trainers in Florida instead of at Dove Valley. And he seems to be OK with forking over thousands of dollars to do so.
My partner Mike Klis reported in today’s edition that the Broncos do not want to trade Marshall and that McDaniels has been in touch with Marshall’s agent. The fact that Marshall did show up for a face-to-face meeting with Pat Bowlen, and that communication remains open between him, his reps and the team is a good sign. We’ve all seen what can happen when there’s no communication …
That said … I don’t see this as a situation where either side is ready to compromise. It makes perfect sense that the team wants to wait to give Marshall a major deal until they see how he recovers from the hip surgery (not to mention the forearm and hand troubles that continued to bother him in 2008) and if he can stay completely out of trouble for a full calendar year. At this point, Marshall is a risk, and it seems everyone but him knows it. At a time when you would think Marshall would be doing everything to take the spotlight off of himself (in light of the ESPN piece a couple of weeks ago), he’s doing even more damage to his reputation.
I asked Broncos fans via twitter to chime in on what they think and hope should happen. Here’s a sample of the responses:
From @KMA55 “He needs to show up period, he’s under contract. Until that happens the Broncos should just keep the front office quiet.”
From @esmagnus “Brandon Marshall and Jay Cutler were our best players last year. I don’t understand the sense in trading them!”
From @nickstratton “B. Marsh has no leverage with his legal and health concerns and pending CBA restrictions. Make him play.”
From @jaredstill “Bowlen should trade #15 to the Cards for Boldin; both WR’s get paid, Cards take risk of 8/16 game suspension w/ nxt BM arrest.”
From @SteveOReilly “Pay Brandon!”
From @seangui “Won’t get equal in return from trade; injury, arrest issues. Give new contract-same $ this yr, addt’l yrs as top wr w/clauses”

http://blogs.denverpost.com/broncos/...marshall-talk/
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Old 06-26-2009, 08:44 AM   #7
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Thank you very much. I did not see this piece as I often forget to go to Lindsay's blog after reviewing the other tripe on dp.
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Old 06-26-2009, 08:47 AM   #8
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Ayers even had a pick 6 in OTA's, which is a good sign, shows his versatility (albeit they are in shorts) for a guy that played DE/standup in college. I am pretty excited about his upside, I suspect he will be our best OLB by mid season if he stays healthy.
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Old 06-26-2009, 09:07 AM   #9
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Any word on Alfonso Smith? I know DBs are hard to predict before the pads go on (pretty much like everyone else), but he may me the most interesting person to watch going into the season considering what we've given up for him.
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Old 06-26-2009, 09:19 AM   #10
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Nice piece. Cant wait for some of the guys here to attend camp and give us great updates
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Old 06-26-2009, 09:23 AM   #11
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Ayers even had a pick 6 in OTA's, which is a good sign, shows his versatility (albeit they are in shorts) for a guy that played DE/standup in college. I am pretty excited about his upside, I suspect he will be our best OLB by mid season if he stays healthy.
The biggest reason he was drafted was for his versultility (sp). I'm guessing in a 3-4 he'd be an OLB, during 4-3 a DE, and in Nickle and Dime a DT.
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Old 06-26-2009, 09:32 AM   #12
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A piece like this is somewhat decieving!!! These observations come from coaches watching players in shorts and no pads. I'll wait till training camp and pre-season before I worry about whether we passed up some of these players. Right now the only thing that can seperate rookies from each other is the preparation and work ethic. Whether they can translate that to the field when the lights come on is what will matter. Till then I can't wait till camp.
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Old 06-26-2009, 09:45 AM   #13
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I liked Ringer, Crabtree, Donald Brown, Ayers, Moreno, Tyson Jackson and Alphonso Smith, and Maualuga for future reference.

I hated Brian Orakpo, Mark Sanchez, Stafford, Hayward-Bey, Chris Wells, Lauranitus for future reference.
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Old 06-26-2009, 09:52 AM   #14
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Any word on Alfonso Smith? I know DBs are hard to predict before the pads go on (pretty much like everyone else), but he may me the most interesting person to watch going into the season considering what we've given up for him.
He is the new Jack Williams and I expect about the same production
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Old 06-26-2009, 09:53 AM   #15
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Lets hope we keep having strong drafts..i like that Ayers is already cracking the lineup
I wouldn't read too much into that, or really any of these reports. Until the pads come on then most of this outside of the receivers and corners is worthless. You also have to consider how crappy our defensive line has been for about a decade. There's a lot of players who would be "already cracking the lineup" on that lame unit.
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Old 06-26-2009, 10:00 AM   #16
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He is the new Jack Williams and I expect about the same production
Yeah - they are pretty much the same player. After all, they are both short. In fact, I totally expect Smith to be cut. Nice job McNumbNuts!
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Old 06-26-2009, 10:07 AM   #17
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I wouldn't read too much into that, or really any of these reports. Until the pads come on then most of this outside of the receivers and corners is worthless. You also have to consider how crappy our defensive line has been for about a decade. There's a lot of players who would be "already cracking the lineup" on that lame unit.
True, I an optomistic that he will be a good dlinemen, god knows we haven't drafted one of those in a few years. We shall see. I think Ayers is going to be a stud though.
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Old 06-26-2009, 10:09 AM   #18
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He is the new Jack Williams and I expect about the same production
I respectfully disagree.

It may take a year to see what he's got, but he is a proven playmaker. Didn't he have like 21 INT's in college? He has a nose for the ball, and I think that will become very apparent if the D-line starts to click.
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Old 06-26-2009, 10:12 AM   #19
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I respectfully disagree.

It may take a year to see what he's got, but he is a proven playmaker. Didn't he have like 21 INT's in college? He has a nose for the ball, and I think that will become very apparent if the D-line starts to click.
wasn't JMFW a ballhawk as well in college and supposed to be the next D-Will
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Old 06-26-2009, 10:14 AM   #20
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wasn't JMFW a ballhawk as well in college and supposed to be the next D-Will
Dude, Alphonso Smith was supposed to be a first round pick. The guy is much closer to terrel buckley, antione winfield. Has incredible instincts and ballskills Jack Williams is a small college guy that was considered a project. not to mention, its only his second year!

God damn, you just like to b****
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Old 06-26-2009, 10:16 AM   #21
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Dude, Alphonso Smith was supposed to be a first round pick. The guy is much closer to terrel buckley, antione winfield. Has incredible instincts and ballskills Jack Williams is a small college guy that was considered a project. not to mention, its only his second year!

God damn, you just like to b****
dude I'm not b****in just talkin I would be just as happy if he went all world as you and everyone else
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Old 06-26-2009, 10:22 AM   #22
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Dude, Alphonso Smith was supposed to be a first round pick.
99% of the mock drafts out there said otherwise.
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Old 06-26-2009, 10:23 AM   #23
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wasn't JMFW a ballhawk as well in college and supposed to be the next D-Will
Alphonso got so many picks in HS and College football you just have to believe he is special when it comes to getting his hands on the ball. He was so prolific at getting interceptions and has the stats that also back up that fact.

JMFW college career just not even close really. Not saying JMFW can't become a good player for Denver only that Smith is really something to be excited about.
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Old 06-26-2009, 10:27 AM   #24
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Alphonso got so many picks in HS and College football you just have to believe he is special when it comes to getting his hands on the ball. He was so prolific at getting interceptions and has the stats that also back up that fact.

JMFW college career just not even close really. Not saying JMFW can't become a good player for Denver only that Smith is really something to be excited about.
I choose not to get all excited about draftees and the fluff pieces the media writes until I see it on the field
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Old 06-26-2009, 10:40 AM   #25
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I like Ayers, I still think he ends up at the 3-4 DE in the long run, he has the body type to do it and with his quickness and base power he could be a serious weapon there.
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