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Injured Kapron Lewis-Moore hoping for the best

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Updated: March 25, 2013 7:02AM

INDIANAPOLIS — Kapron Lewis-Moore has had better days, too.

As his Notre Dame teammate, Manti Te’o, was on center stage in the middle of a media hurricane Saturday at the NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium, Lewis-Moore was seated at a much smaller interview table, but not feeling a whole lot better.

Despite his troubles, Te’o still is almost certain to be a first-round draft. But Lewis-Moore, the Irish’s other defensive captain, who was projected to be a mid- to late-round pick after a stellar senior season, is likely to go undrafted after suffering a torn ACL in his right leg in the National Championship Game.

‘‘To be honest, it is a little discouraging. It was pretty bad timing,’’ Lewis-Moore admitted. ‘‘But I can’t sit around and whimper and cry about it. I’ve just got to make the most of it. Unfortunately I can’t run or do anything. And I don’t think I’m going to be able to do anything on my pro day as well.’’

Lewis-Moore, who had six sacks, 8 1/2 tackles-for-loss, nine quarterback hurries and two forced fumbles in 2012, had surgery on his knee on Jan. 28. But he still attended the Combine. He measured in at 6-3 1/2, 298 pounds. And he will go through interviews with NFL teams. ‘‘The doctors are happy with my progress,’’ he said. But it still will be ‘‘6-7 months’’ before he will be ready to play football.

‘‘I knew the injury would hurt my draft stock. That’s something I can’t control,’’ Lewis-Moore said. ‘‘The best advice I’ve been given is, ‘Just be yourself. Be Kapron Lewis-Moore.’ That got me where I am right now. I’m just going to be myself — keep being funny, being cool and have fun with the process and make the most of it. Hopefully a team will take a chance on me.’’

Giant leap for Eifert

Notre Dame’s Tyler Eifert, considered the No. 2 tight end behind Stanford’s Zach Ertz, opened some eyes with a 35 1/2-inch vertical Saturday He also reportedly ran 4.62 and 4.60 in the 40-yard dash. Ertz had a 30 1/2-inch vertical and ran 4.72 and 4.65 in the 40.

But it’s the vertical that could push him ahead in the draft.

‘‘Testing history would show you that the vertical jump is probably the biggest single indicator of athletic carryover of performance into the NFL,’’ Bears general manager Phil Emery said. ‘‘So you want to look for those guys with those high verticals. It has more impact than the 40-yard dash does in terms of the physical things.’’

Looking at Buchanan

Illinois’ Michael Buchanan said he’ll go through defensive end and linebacker drills at the combine. Buchanan said he’s open to either position after playing both at Illinois, but has been training at linebacker in Arizona.

‘‘I feel equally comfortable playing either one of them,’’ said Buchanan, who saw more time at defensive end at the Senior Bowl.

Buchanan is often compared to Whitney Mercilus, a former teammate at Illinois who is now an outside linebacker with the Houston Texans. Mercilus was the 26th overall selection last year.

‘‘It’s just our body types,’’ said Buchanan, who measured in at 6-5 and 255 pounds. “Whitney is shorter, but a more solid guy. I’m taller and more lean. We’re very similar. We both have tremendous speed and we both have good agility.’’

Looking out for No. 1

Georgia outside linebacker Jarvis Jones, projected to go in the top 10 or 15 overall picks, said the Bears were among the teams to interview him at the Combine. The 6-3, 240-pound Jones is considered the top pass-rushing linebacker in the draft. He played in a 3-4 defense at Georgia, but said he is comfortable in a 4-3. ‘‘I’m just gonna get after you,’’ Jones said. ‘‘I’m gonna get after the quarterback every play.’’

Robinson: It’s academic

Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson, who is working out as a wide receiver and kick returner at the Combine, is preparing for the draft in Ann Arbor. Many athletes train in Florida.

‘‘First, because I’ve been working with the strength coach [Aaron Wellman] the last two years. And secondly is because I’ll be the first in my family to graduate from a four-year school. I graduate May 4. So I said I was going to stay there and graduate. That’s what I stuck to.’’

Contributing: Adam L. Jahns

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