KLEIN WAITING … IMPATIONATELY

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Collin Klein is living proof that being a finalist for a Heisman Trophy is no guarantee of being one of the top prizes in the NFL Draft. All signs point to free agency for the former Wildcat quarterback.

Collin Klein is … well, very Collin Klein-like when it comes to this week's National Football League Draft.

The former Kansas State quarterback simply says, "It's all going to work out like it's supposed to work out."

If that's as a sixth- or seventh-round draft choice, it's OK; if that's as a free agent, that's OK, too.

"I really don't know where I stand. It's hard to speculate," said Klein. "So many things can change day-to-day. I just really do feel like I'm going to get a chance, and that's all I want."

It's hard to imagine a finalist for the Heisman Trophy not being drafted, but that's where Klein's stock is, according to the NFL draft gurus.

As to what's missing in his game, Klein said, "I don't know. No one has been totally open whether good or bad. That's just the way this business works. I know in my heart I can play quarterback, so I just want an opportunity and make the most of it."

And, play quarterback is the only position that Klein wants to play.

He silenced all rumors about switching to wide receiver or tight end by saying, "There's no question about it, I'm a quarterback. I haven't and one team ask me about playing any other position. I have the work ethic and all the physical tools to do it. I feel very well equipped."

It's the quarterback position that Klein has tried to improve upon since playing his last game for K-State at the Fiesta Bowl. Since then he took part in the East-West game in Tampa, Fla.; spent two weeks working out in Denver with former NFL quarterback Jake Plummer; plus took part in the NFL Combine and K-State Pro Day.

"Working out with Jake was a great experience. He played at a high level for a long time," said Klein. "He didn't say anything magical, or that I haven't heard before, but it was a really good experience. He helped me quicken my release by making my throwing motion a little tighter, and he worked with my foot work, but it was nothing dramatic or crazy."

Overall, he said, "I feel like I made positive strides through each step along the way."

The NFL particulars on Klein had him listed at 6-foot-5, 226 pounds with a 32-inch arm length and 9 ¼-inch hand length. He was times in 4.72 in the 40, 2.70 in the 20 and 1.67 in the 10. His vertical leap was 29-inches and his broad jump was 9-3.

It left him ranked by CBS Sports.com as the No. 17 quarterback in the draft and the following analysis:

Pluses –
A big athlete with a thick frame and a powerful north/south runner. Makes smart decisions with the football and works through his progressions while showing mobility. He conveys impressive leadership and toughness with a gamer mentality to play through injuries.

Weaknesses –
Has a funky delivery with a hitch in his cocking motion causing a longer delivery and inconsistent accuracy on passes downfield. Delivery and accuracy need work, as does his ability to throw to receivers as they make their breaks. Physical running style leaves him susceptible to injuries.

Klein estimated that he talked to quarterback coaches with up to 25 teams at the NFL Combine, but had no visits with teams since then.

Klein laughed as he said that the questions varied from his personal life, to drawing up X and O plays, to "… wanting to know if I was a morning or night person."

For now, Klein said, "I'm very anxious to start a new chapter to sink my teeth into and get to work."

If it works out, Klein says, "That will be great. I know I'm equipped to do it."

And if it doesn't, he says, "I will have no regrets. I know that I gave it everything I had every game and every snap."

Until then, Klein said he will continue working out, and on draft day "… I plan on playing golf with my wife (the former Shalin Spani)."

As to who might win that match, Klein said, "Whew … that depends on the day. I'll have to bring my A-game."

The first round of the NFL Draft will take place on Thursday at 7 p.m., Rounds 2 and 3 will take place on Friday at 5:30, and the final four rounds on Saturday beginning at 11 a.m.

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