Steve Atkins had hoped to be picked a little earlier, by a team playing in a warm climate. "But right now, I'm just happy to be drafted," Atkins said after the Green Bay Packers had selected him on the second round of the NFL draft yesterday.

Atkins, 6-foot-1 and 220 pounds from Spotsylvania, Va., set six Maryland records despite a career full of nagging injuries. He was the seventh running back selected yesterday, the 44th man picked overall, the 16th choice in the second round.

The Packers used their first-round choice to pick Eddie Lee Ivery of Georgia Tech, a running back who will play the same position as Atkins in Green Bay.

"Oh, my, yes, they're both going to play for us," said Packer spokesman Chuck Lane. "I would think they'll both be used primarily at fullback. We've got a 1,000-yard man, Terdell Middleton, coming back, but Steve and Eddie should get a lot of work.

"We think our situation is a good spot for a young guy to come into. Our worst days are behind us, definitely."

Atkins spent most of yesterday in his room in Ellicott Hall on the Maryland campus, waiting for the call that finally came just after 2:30 p.m.

"I'm happy, but a little surprise I went as late as I did," he said, as friends, dormitory neighbors and teammates constantly came by to offer congratulations.

"Yeah, I would have preferred to go where it's warm, but that's how it goes. I've played in the cold before and, if I have to, I will again. The Packers were very interested in me before the draft. They told me they'd try and get me if I was available.

"They didn't tell me where they want me to play. I'm supposed to go out there May 10 and talk with them. I'll find out then. I'll go out there with my agent. I haven't made a final decision yet, but I'm talking to Richard Bennett (a Washington attorney with a number of professional football clients, including former Cardinal back Terry Metcalf)."