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As I said yesterday, there are nine collegiate wide receivers being spoken of as being potential high-round picks in the upcoming NFL draft. Here they are, along with their ages, sizes, and colleges:

 

  • J.J. Arcega-Whiteside – age ?, 6’3”, 225#, Stanford
  • A.J. Brown – age 21, 6’, 226#, Ole Miss
  • Marquise Brown – age 21, 5’10”, 170#, Oklahoma
  • Hakeem Butler – age 22, 6’6”, 225#, Iowa State
  • Parris Campbell – age 23, 6’1”, 208#, Ohio State
  • N’Keal Harry – age 21, 6’2”, 228#, Arizona State
  • Andy Isabella – age ?. 5’9”. 188#, UMass
  • D.K. Metcalf – age 21, 6’3”, 228#, Ole Miss
  • Deebo Samuel – age 23, 5’11”, 214#, South Carolina

Speed and Collegiate Honors

 

  • J.J. Arcega-Whiteside – 4.49 dash (Pro Day); second-team All-Pac-12 (2018)
  • A.J. Brown –4.49 dash, twice first-team All-SEC (2017, 2018)
  • Marquise Brown – 4.3 (est.) dash, first-team All-American (2018); first-team All-Big 12 (2018)
  • Hakeem Butler – 4.48 dash; second-team All-Big 12 (2018)
  • Parris Campbell –4.31 dash, first team All-Big Ten (2018), second team All-Big Ten (2017), third team All-Big Ten (2016)
  • N’Keal Harry – 4.53 dash, 2x first-team All-Pac-12 (2017, 2018)
  • Andy Isabella – 4.31 dash, Consensus All-American (2018)
  • D.K. Metcalf – 4.33 dash, no honors, due to injury-shortened seasons
  • Deebo Samuel – 4.48 dash, first-team All-American (2018); first team All-SEC (2018)

 

Andy Isabella WR Mass

Massachusetts Minutemen wide receiver Andy Isabella (5) runs past Georgia Bulldogs defensive back Christopher Smith (29) to score a touchdown after catching a pass during the second half at Sanford Stadium. Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Body of College Work

 

  • J.J. Arcega-Whiteside – in his 2 most productive years at Stanford, had 111 catches, 1,840 yards, 16.6 ave., 23 TDs.
  • A.J. Brown – in 3 years at Ole Miss went for 189 catches, 2,984 yards, 15.8 ave., and 19 TDs
  • Marquise Brown – made the most of his 2 years at Oklahoma: 132 catches, 2,545 yards, 19.3 ave., 17 TDs.
  • Hakeem Butler – in 2 productive years at Iowa State, had 101 catches, for 2,015 yards, 19.95 ave, 16 TDs
  • Parris Campbell – in essentially 3 years at Ohio State had 143 catches for 1,768 yards, 12.4 ave., and 15 TDs
  • N’Keal Harry – in 3 years at Arizona State, had 213 catches, 2,889 yards, 13.6 ave., and 23 TDs.
  • Andy Isabella – in 4 years at UMass had 231 receptions, 3,526 yards, 15.3 ave. and 30 TDs
  • D.K. Metcalf – in essentially 2 years at Ole Miss went for 65 catches, 1,215 yards, 18.7 ave., and 12 TDs.
  • Deebo Samuel – played 4 years at South Carolina, producing 148 catches, 2,076 yards, 14.0 ave., 16 TDs.

 

 

Parris Campbell TD Celebration 2018

Oct 6, 2018; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Binjimen Victor (9) celebrates with Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Parris Campbell (21) following his touchdown against the Indiana Hoosiers at Ohio Stadium. Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Gutekunst’s Choice

I don’t yet have a firm handle on how Gute’s brain works, as he’s only been the GM for a year. But we can make some deductions.

We know Gute is attracted to size, though perhaps the Pack is already top-heavy in the receiver department. Their big boys in this year’s pool are: Metcalf (6’3”, 228), Harry (6’2”, 228), Butler (6’6”, 225), Arcega-Whiteside (6’3”, 225), and A.J. Brown (6’, 226).

Gute has indicated he’s attracted to speed, and there are some burners this year: Isabella (4.31), Campbell (4.31), Metcalf (4.33), and Marquise Brown is estimated at 4.3 (missed combine with foot surgery).

Could he (prodded on by Coach LaFleur) be inclined toward a small, quick slot receiver? If so, there’s Isabella (5’9”, 188), Marquise Brown (5’10”, 170), and maybe Samuel (5’11”, 214).

If Gute treasures a strong record of college accomplishment, he’ll like the fact that Isabella is a Consensus All-American, and that Marquise Brown and Deebo Samuel are 1st team All-Americans – these guys are so accomplished that being a 1st team conference leader seems kind of ho-hum.

Bottom line: In his short time as GM, Gutekunst has proven he’s not afraid to take risks. D.K Metcalf is a freak of nature: 6’3”, 228#, 4.33 dash time – and he’s got other equally breath-taking combine numbers: 40.5” vertical jump, 134” broad jump, 27 bench presses. He’s a man-child at age 21.

But there are some big buts: he’s opted for the draft after just his redshirt sophomore year at Mississippi; he missed the latter parts of two seasons due to injuries, so he’s only recorded 67 receptions for 1,228 yards and 14 touchdowns in his shortened college career. This small a sampling renders him a considerable risk. As do the injuries.

However, if Gute and his crew are satisfied after lots of film study, if they like his character and work ethic (neither of which is questioned), and if they aren’t unduly bothered by his health history, none of the others has near the potential of this 21-year-old. I think Gute and his team will take the gamble on DeKaylin Zecharius Metcalf – no wonder why he goes by “DK”.

 

Julio Jones Atlanta Falcons WR

Julio Jones (11) catches the ball over Tampa Bay Buccaneers free safety Isaiah Johnson (39) during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

My Choice

I simply would not expend this rare # 12 selection on a receiver as small as Isabella or Marquise Brown.

N’Keal Harry had an impressive career at Arizona State – first team All-Pac-12 can’t be ignored. He’s big and tough, and at 21 he’s probably nowhere near his physical peak. Maybe if he dropped ten pounds, he’d bring that dash speed down from 4.53 to 4.48 or so? He’s be one of the last I’d eliminate.

A.J. Brown is nearly a carbon copy of Harry – three great years in college, and two times first team in his conference. Another 21-year old, his 226 pounds of muscle fits well on his 6’ frame, and he still came in with a 4.49 dash time. I like Brown over Harry by the smallest of margins – he’s my first runner-up.

When I scanned the collegiate careers of the other candidates, I wasn’t that impressed. Only two of them have four years of college experience; and four of them only had two “productive” years. The only guys whose college exploits make me feel really comfortable with are Isabella, Harry, and A.J. Brown. Admittedly I’m basing this on raw statistics – maybe some of these guys had lousy quarterbacks.

My initial reaction was to be doubtful about D.K. Metcalf, as his brief resume and his tender age makes him a risky choice at such an important juncture in Packers’ history. On the other hand, the reason this red-shirt sophomore cut his college career so short is that he’s such a freakish athlete he’s a cinch to be taken high in this year’s draft. I assume the foot injury he had in his aborted first year and the neck injury that prematurely ended his final year are fully healed.

My gold standard for a star NFL wideout is of course Atlanta’s Julio Jones. Metcalf is bigger. Jones ran a 4.39 at the NFL Combine. Metcalf is faster (4.33). Julio did 17 bench press reps. Metcalf did 10 more, placing him in the 99th percentile of wide receivers on that test. Bigger, faster, stronger than Julio – The choice is clear to me.

 

Check it out:

http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-combine/0ap3000001020405/Simulcam-Bye-bye-Julio-D-K-Metcalf-runs-by-Jones-in-40-yard-dash

 

Metcalf has great NFL bloodlines, through his father and grandfather, and his uncle Eric Metcalf played 13 seasons in the league. Eric was a small guy who variously was a running back, receiver, and punt and kick returner.

Scouts haven’t indicated any history of “character issues.” One guy feels he has traits of being a ‘diva,’ but it didn’t prove a negative for Deion Sanders. In fact, he’s even said to be a good student.

Yes, he’s unrefined, and his route running is a work in progress, but he’s got so much athletic ability that he’ll be a solid contributor in the pros from Day 1.

Let’s talk deep threats. DK averaged 18.3 for his college career. The guy’ stands about four inches taller than most DBs, his arms 34 7/8ths”) are another three inches or so longer, and his vertical jump adds another six or so inches to the equation. He can go a foot higher than the competition, and when it comes to who’s going to bring down a contested ball, it’s no contest.

Despite some trepidation, if I were the GM I could not pass up a player with such an unbelievable athletic profile. He could be a receiver for the ages.

Rodgers and Metcalf: a match made in heaven – unless one of the first 11 teams choosing before the Packers destroys the dream.

The only team that had a private pre-draft visit with Metcalf has been the Bills, who pick at # 9. I’ve heard four players mentioned as being Buffalo’s first-round target, and none is Metcalf.

 

Here’s some eye candy:

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Rob Born

Someone else said it first but I popularized it: “Athleticism is important in athletic pursuits.” It took three years, but the Packers finally listened. My new mantra: “Trading down is fine, but never trade up.”

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30 Comments

  1. holmer April 14, 2019

    I’m sorry, Rob, I don’t share your views as to the importance of a stud receiver. When you think of the Patriots, the receiver that sticks out is Gronk and for good reason. Not only does a great tight end stretch the field and create mismatches he also blocks like a demon and, with the Packers going to an outside zone scheme, a stud blocker at tight end who could also stretch the field is a must. The Packers can get a real good receiver, possibly, in the 3rd round. My position choices are, in order, The best defensive player on the board at 12, one of the two Iowa TE’s at 30, an offensive lineman in the 2nd and then a receiver.

    Reply
  2. holmer April 14, 2019

    Just an additional note concerning the first round. If it looks like they have to make a move to make sure one of the Iowa TE’s falls their way without losing #30 they should do it and use the other pick to address a great defender. I don’t think either TE is deserving of a #12 pick but one of the defenders does.

    Reply
    1. Ron Wolowich April 15, 2019

      I agree we can get Fant who can stretch the field he is an over sized wide receiver. I believe he can be taught to block

  3. Eric April 14, 2019

    I totally agree with Homler. Except in the Second round i would prefer a Saftey but OL would be ok. But at 12 we need a power edge rusher. Someone to rotate in with the Smiths. Keep fresh pass rushers in so our CBs don’t have to proect for 5 to 6 seconds.

    Reply
    1. Ron Wlowich April 15, 2019

      It would a be nice to put a defensive lineman that could tear up the offensive line and free up the smiths look out apposing QBs. with a top safety drafted to play beside Amos our defense could be down right scary

    2. Eric April 16, 2019

      Another reason why it WOULDN’T make sence to take a WR in first round is Rodgers won’t throw to him unless everyother WR on the roster with experience gets INJURED. So u talk about getting a player that will be an instant contributor and going with a WR that Aaron will never throw to. Yeah he will contribute this year maybe 400 yards if Rodgers lets him. LOL. A WR can only get what the QB will allow. It took Adams 3 seasons before Rodgers would really throw to him.

  4. Ferris April 14, 2019

    Unless Calvin Johnson is in this draft, don’t pick a receiver at 12. And unless Tony Gonzalez is there at 12 don’t pick a TE either.

    Reply
    1. Robster April 14, 2019

      I guess I failed to adequately describe DK Metcalf. We are all falling into the same trap, extrapolating based on previous players. I must admit I can’t say for sure he’ll be a contributor from Day 1. The fact is there has never been an NFL wide receiver with his kind of body. I once researched the combine results of over 600 WRs, and he’s in a class by himself, though I agree that Calvin Johnson is his closest comparator. Here are a few descriptions taken from scouting reports: impossibly chiseled, terrific strength, elite straight-line speed, ripped physique, absurd catch radius, high-points the ball beautifully, can make one-handed grabs and other circus catches, almost impossible to defeat in the air, corners will be at a major size/strength disadvantage in single coverage, explosive through breaks, a monster in the open field, has a tremendous second gear, he’s fluid enough to run hard angled routes, he’s big enough to win in the red zone, just scratching the surface of how good he can really be. I’ll leave it with this from SB Nation’s Retired defensive end Stephen White, who tells teams not to overthink it: draft Metcalf and let him do what other receivers can’t do.

    2. PF4L April 15, 2019

      Ruh Roh….It’s the Jeff Janis curse. :)

  5. PF4L April 14, 2019

    Two statements in this article sound troubling to me.

    “……the Pack is already top-heavy in the receiver department, (2011/14 this isn’t.)

    “…… he’ll be a solid contributor in the pros from Day 1. (famous last words)

    Whether Gute takes a chance, or plays it safe is inconsequential.

    The fact is….that boy better find 2 or 3 football players in this draft, then we’ll wait until they (hopefully) develop and transition into NFL quality talent.

    Best get that O line right.

    Reply
  6. TyKo Steamboat April 14, 2019

    I’m not sold on guys like Metcalf. You see a potential Julio Jones, I see a potential Corey Davis… & just wait until he runs a wrong route or drops a ball & diva Rodgers tears him apart.

    I need more production & less injury history. I was surprised to see Mel Kiper & Todd McShay both currently have Metcalf to the Packers at 12.

    I just want BPA…There will be a top-8 name that slides down to 12 & if there isn’t, I would rather trade-back a couple spots with a team like the Panthers or QB needy Redskins & accumulate an extra pick.

    1.) S
    2.) DL
    3.) ILB
    4.) TE
    5.) RT

    Reply
    1. TyKo Steamboat April 14, 2019

      Above I listed our top-5 positions of need IMO

      Additionally, I just want to add here that Mel Kiper says that there are 13 Safeties that could be in his top-5 at the position. Which basically means that there will be a plethora of Safeties there between rounds 2-5 to satisfy safety needy teams.

      This is being pegged as a very strong defensive line draft. A pick of a D Lineman in round 1 could add depth behind Lowry or Mike Daniels whom is in the last year of his contract.

      All-in-all I just want to see the Packers draft any 3 combinations of those 5 positions I listed above in rounds 1 & 2.

      I am a big fan of Dalton Risner the O Lineman from K-State but I doubt he will be there at pick 30

    2. PF4L April 15, 2019

      You lost me at ” Mel Kiper says….”

      I’d listen to a sober Howard, before Kiper.

  7. Howard April 15, 2019

    Rob, I do appreciate your articles. I don’t think any of the wide receivers should be taken early in the first round such as at #12. let’s discuss Metcalf. Rob I like that you put down the big buts (red flags) about Metcalf. I think it should be known that one of Metcalf’s two seasons cut short by injury included a broken foot. The Packers have had recent history with broken feet lately.
    The larger concern is the neck injury that cut Metcalf’s 2018 season short. I can’t for sure say Metcalf broke at least one vertebrae in his neck, but let’s see what his coach said:
    “D.K. Metcalf hurt his neck. It’s a little more serious than we thought,” Luke said. “He’ll be done for the season. Long term, he’s going to be fine. But I think it’s going to require surgery. We’re still looking to make sure that we have the very best care and everything for him. But it’s not a long-term issue. But it is going to be one where he’ll be done for the season. It has nothing to do with the spinal. It’s all vertebrae.” Is that meaning a vertebrae fusion surgery?
    I have a hard time believing the Packers would select a player high or at all with a recent vertebrae problem/break. The risk is to great for most teams, but the Packers would probably be the most cautious team, as we all know.
    I think Gutekunst will be looking to strengthen the Packers up the middle in the draft’s early rounds at the front 7/safety on defense and O-line/TE on offense.

    Reply
  8. Deepsky April 15, 2019

    I’m not sold on taking a receiver with pick 12.

    If you look at the receivers in the Pro Bowl, they come from all over the board with the most common round being the 2nd round. Yeah, there’s a handful of receivers like Julio Jones and Mike Evans who were high first round picks, but those guys are rare. There’s a lot of late round and even undrafted Pro Bowl receivers.

    If you look at the top defensive ends and outside linebackers in the Pro Bowl, at least half are top 15 picks. That’s the place where you find difference makers on defense.

    I could see 2nd round though which for the Packers would still be the 44th pick in the draft. Jordy was a 2nd round pick.

    Reply
  9. Kato April 15, 2019

    No one is addressing the elephant in the room. The possibility of the Packers taking QB at 12 (or trading up to take one). Drew Lock visited with the Packers. Could it be purely strategy to get teams thinking they are interested Lock in order to get a coveted defensive player to fall to them? Sure. It’s possible. Or, much more likely, they are actually interested in him. Of course, they may decide to stay the course with Rodgers and decide that Lock isn’t a franchise QB. It is likely he will not fall past the Broncos at 11, and I could totally see teams trading up for him, including the Packers. Regarding the bleacher report article, as I have always said, where there is smoke, there is fire. Of course the Packers and Rodgers will deny everything, but internally, they know something is up, and know the extent to which these issues were occurring. Their interest in Lock tells me that they are looking into moving on from Rodgers if the right QB is available in the draft.

    Reply
    1. PF4L April 15, 2019

      That’s only because we’re not drunk yet.

    2. Kato April 15, 2019

      And they tried to set up a meeting with Dukes Daniel Jones, another QB widely considered to be a first round pick. Now, why would they be interested in two first round QBs? The silence is deafening. Call me crazy, but moving on from Aaron Rodgers and giving the new coach a young QB seems to be on the table here. At least it is being discussed. Again, the organization probably has conducted interviews with players, and some of the issues with Rodgers have come to light

    3. Cheese April 16, 2019

      “Issues” with Rodgers, lol. Nevermind the plethora of issues everywhere else. The guy who’s been carrying this mess of a team on his back for the past several years is the problem.

      As above, so below…

      If the Packers choose a QB with a high pick it would have more to do with Rodgers being 35, his health history combined with the play of the O-line/playcalling, and deciding whether paying someone $32mil a year is worth it if your team isn’t even going to sniff the Super Bowl.

    4. Deepsky April 16, 2019

      Consider this.

      Wolf signed with the Packers and 3 months later he signs his franchise QB in Brett Favre.

      Thompson signs with the Packers and 3 months later he signs his franchise QB in Aaron Rodgers.

      Gutekunst does not have his franchise QB.

      Although, I think he will be gone by the 12th pick, I would not be surprised if the Packers take Drew Lock if he’s available.

    5. PF4L April 16, 2019

      Ok…lets pretend i’m smart enough to be an NFL GM….

      I’m going to extend our franchise QB 4 years, throw him a 57 million signing bonus, guarantee him over 98 million, have him signed through 2023.

      Then, some months later….i’m gonna make ya’ll notice me and find my new franchise QB in the first round. Some say finding 3 franchise QB’s in a row over a 30 year span hasn’t, and will never be done, EVER. Well……you haven’t met me. They call me Gute. I am my own man, i make my own decisions. As long as it’s ok with Murph.

      Could it happen, is it a possibility? Absolutely.

      But i’m looking for better odds. So i will be buying my Powerball ticket for tomorrow’s drawing.
      **************************************************************************************
      In other news…the Seahawks just signed Russell Wilson to the richest contract in NFL history. Rumor has it John Schneider is trying to move up in the first round to snag a franchise QB.

      More to follow as these story’s develop.

    6. PF4L April 16, 2019

      Deep….there are a few differences between the Favre and Rodgers situation
      1) Rodgers fell in Ted’s lap. (credit Ted for picking him though, 23 others passed).
      2) Favre wasn’t just signed to a huge deal. Rodgers recent guaranteed money, is equal to Favre’s earnings from the Packers over 16 years).
      3) Rodgers hasn’t threatened to retire for the last 9 years after every season.

    7. Deepsky April 17, 2019

      PF4L.

      Yeah, Rodgers fell into Thompson’s lap. There was a story out there that said a week before the 2005 draft Thompson realized no one was going to take Rodgers and he might fall. So he holed himself away and watched Rodgers videos for a week. So I agree, Thompson wasn’t looking for a quarterback but was simply ready. Gutekunst might not be technically looking for a QB, but Drew Lock could fall.

      As for contract, Favre had signed a ‘lifetime contract’, the largest NFL contract ever signed. I think it was around 2001.

      And I agree with you Favre jerked around the Packers the last few years with his constant retirement talk.

      On the flipside, Rodgers seemed to have lost a step last season, although we now know it was because of a broken foot and sprained knee. Still these injuries are concerning.

      I’m not saying the Packers should or will sign a QB. I think the Packers should hold off a couple years. This is a weak year for college QBs.

    8. Kato April 18, 2019

      I mean, sure. Right now, that Rodgers contract looks like a huge mistake. At the time, the team had him under contract another two year plus the franchise tag the years afterwards. There was no reason to rush into a contract. Now, the Packers don’t have flexibility, at least not without coming at a cost.

      Now, let’s talk theoretically here. Because Rodgers was on the roster Feb 8 of this year, a $19.5 million roster bonus was activated for next year (2020). Why, a team would structure something like that, I have no idea. Excellent work Russ Ball. Let’s say they decide to trade him. Pre June 1, a trade would result in nearly $60 million in dead money this year, but no cap hits in the future years. Post June 1, it would be $25 million in dead money this year, and $35 million next year. Not great, but this team is kind of a dumpster fire as it is. However, if they wait till next year, post June 1, it is $11.5 million in dead money for 2020, and $21 million in 2021. Palatable. Does it seem weird to move on from a QB a year after a mega contract? Sure. But if he is a locker room issue, which the organization knows the answer to that question, you rip the band-aid off. Sure, it will hurt for a couple years, and the team will be cash strapped a bit, and likely bad. But as a poster on this site said a year ago, this team is dangerously close to needing a full blown rebuild. I think we have reached that point. Makes no sense to carry a QB with a bloated salary and terrible personality through a rebuild. Hell, wait till next year if you want, see how he acts this year and the team has a miraculous turnaround.

  10. Mecca April 16, 2019

    Fun to do some mock drafts if you guys are ever bored:
    https://thedraftnetwork.com/mock-drafts

    Reply
    1. PF4L April 16, 2019

      Get off our lawn!!

      fk’n kids.

  11. PF4L April 16, 2019

    So many students….so little time.

    Reply
  12. Mitch Anthony April 16, 2019

    It so depends on who is still there at 12. Does Ed Oliver show up at 12? If so, there are good reasons to take him. Does Montez Sweat show up at 12? How do you pass on that? Does TJ Hockenson present at 12? Some good reasons for him at that pick too.

    Metcalf, I dunno. Howard made some good points regarding the injury history and right now this might just be a one or two trick pony on his route running resume. Athletic and human freak, you bet, I sure could be wrong but I’m inclined to pass for any of the above mentioned guys at pick 12. Would I be upset if they do make this the pick? Oh hell no, there are just too many needs.

    Harry would be likely there at 30, maybe even Brown (s). Very likely Isabella is around at 44 as well as Campbell or Samuel. I know Rob has made the case for a high pick wideout before and I agreed. I thought a strong look should have been taken at Calvin Ridley last year. Maybe they did but Alexander sure seems like a very good first pick from 2018. It sucks to be in such a hole – of needs – because of some of what Ted left behind, or rather, didn’t.

    Reply
    1. PF4L April 17, 2019

      This is why i call this the silly season. Fans wish, and speculate who the picks will be. Then the draft comes and rarely does it play out as speculated. Picks are made…it then becomes real, and i then check out scouting and draft reports and try to find knowledgeable opinions. Then we wait and they report to camp where we will be hearing fabulous reports from the local media. Then the regular season comes rolling along, and we see exactly what we got (if they play). And this year, Gute better pick some players who…can play.

  13. Tom April 20, 2019

    Over the past 30 Packer drafts only 1 wr drafted rd’s 4-7 went on to success: Donald Driver rd7. Adams rd2 Cobb rd2 Jordy rd2 James Jones rd3 Jennings rd3 Walker rd1 Ferguson rd2 Freeman rd3 Brooks rd3 Sharpe rd1. The past 4 drafts Packers only selected 1 wr in first 3 rd’s, 2015 Ty Montgomery rd3. I don’t know why the team has neglected offensive skill players since taking Adams rd 2 in 2014 but as history shows it’s rare to hit on a starting caliber wr or te in rd 4-7. I would move up from 30 and take AJ Brown as Cobbs replacement to go along with Adams and Allison. FYI Dorsey is adding so much talent on Browns offense similar to what we had just 5 years ago.

    Reply

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