Senior Bowl Blog: Monday
Well, today has been a busy day at the Senior Bowl. A ton have people have shown up from NFL teams as well as more media. This place is in full frenzy mode right now as the weigh-ins were this morning and practice starts in about 45 minutes.
There were some changes to the roster today. LSU WR Brandon LaFell, Oklahoma OT Trent Williams and TCU DE Jerry Hughes have decided not to participate in the Senior Bowl. All of which, in my opinion, are bad choices. Each were fringe first round guys and a strong performance here could have put them over the top. The current official rosters are in: North Team Roster, South Team Roster.
The weigh-ins took place this morning, or what everyone likes to call “The Meat Market.” Players are paraded into a room full of NFL scouts and media wearing just their underwear. Players get their arms and hands measured and heights and weights are recorded. This also gives the scouts an opportunity to see what kind of body type the players have. Are they physically fit? High body fat composition? Full results from the weigh in can be found here: North Team Results, South Team results.
Scouts from all 32 NFL teams were attending the weigh-ins this morning. Also attending were 49ers head coach Mike Singletary, Bucs head coach Raheem Morris and Hall of Famer “Mean” Joe Greene. Here are my observations from the weigh-in:
— Terrence Cody resembled his former team mate, Andre Smith, in physical makeup. However, I think Cody may have actually dropped a little weight and he weighed in at 370 lbs.
— Myron Rolle has a very impressive physique, especially considering he was out of football for over a year. He’s absolutely ripped.
— Perrish Cox was measured at 5’11 2/8″, bringing him below the 6’0″ height the school listed him as.
— Taylor Mays was impressive as well, measuring 6’3″ flat and weighing 231 lbs. Long arms and big hands, too.
— Dexter McCluster measured in at a hair over 5’8″ and weighed 165 lbs, but I think 100 of those pounds are his heart. More on that later.
— Selvish Capers looks lean and athletic, especially for his 6’6 5/8″ 304 lbs frame.
— Mardy Gilyard measured in at 5’11 5/8″, weighing 179 lbs. Cincinnati listed him as 6’1″ 187 lbs.
— Jared Odrick put on some pounds, but in a good way. He measured at just over 6’5″ and weighed 301 lbs.
— Mike Iupati has freakishly long arms, 35″ to be exact. At 6’5″ 325 lbs, long arms are an even bigger plus.
— Vladimir Ducasse is imposing, measuring in at 6’4 5/8″ and weighing 326 lbs.
South Team Practice
After the meat market, the first day of practices got under way. Because of the morning being tied up with the weigh-ins, both the North and South team practiced at the same time. The North team practiced at Ladd Peebles Stadium, where the game will take place and the South practiced in Mexico. Okay, it wasn’t that far away, but it felt like it on the drive to Fairhope stadium.
As I pulled into the parking lot for South practice, I realized this wasn’t an ordinary practice. The Senior Bowl allowed the general public to watch this practice and they came out of the wood work to see Tebow play. Because the fans filled the stands, NFL personnel and the media had to stand on the sidelines to watch. This made for a VERY packed house. Fans cheered any time Tebow connected on a pass and cheered even louder when Alabama head coach Nick Saban walked into the stadium. Former Alabama great and current NFL GM Ozzie Newsome and Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin were also in attendance.
- For all of the hype created about Tebow working on his game with a specialist (wait, didn’t we hear that before?), his game sure didn’t look much difference. Tebow had a lot of trouble getting the snaps from under center. There were times where I watched him fumble 3-4 center exchanges IN A ROW. Tebow clearly looks uncomfortable under center as even when he does get the snap right, he pauses and stands straight up before he takes his drop. Tebow also had his regular problems throwing the ball. His windup motion hasn’t shortened at all and he had a lot of trouble connecting on the deep routes. Tim, you’ve got a few more days to impress scouts. Your personality will only take you so far.
- The Miami coaching staff led practice with a lot of intensity, keeping on players to hustle and to pay attention while resting. They’re really putting the South players through the ringer.
- South Florida defensive end George Selvie looked weak at the point of attack while doing drills in the pit. He needs to develop more upper body strength and get a better initial “pop” when engaging blockers.
- Troy defensive end Brandon Lang, on the other hand, showed a solid initial pop. Lang was aggressive with blockers in the pit drills and held his own against several different offensive linemen.
- Terrence Cody also looked good in pit drills, looking strong and pushing the blocker back into the pocket on a regular basis.
- Dan Williams of Tennessee OWNED Jeff Byers in the pit drills, knocking him back on multiple occasions and making it look all too easy. Dan also controlled the line of scrimmage in team drills. His stock is continuing to rise.
- South Carolina OLB Eric Norwood loves to hit and it shows. He put good shots on several ball carriers in drills and doesn’t hesitate to stick his head in there on every possible tackle. Seemed to always be in the pile when he was on the field.
- Taylor Mays might have had the hit of the day. Mays showed his speed and range, covering almost half of the field going after a deep pass intended for the Citadel’s Andre Roberts. When Mays got to Roberts, he got there with authority. Mays layed Roberts out making the ball pop loose. I still feel that Mays has been over-analyzed by scouts and the media and should still be considered a top prospect.
Dexter McCluster might be small, but he’s not afraid of contact. He was lined up a lot as a running back and didn’t try to run around defenders, like some smaller running backs do. I plan on keeping a close eye on Dexter. He’s certainly exciting to watch.
Oklahoma State CB Perrish Cox had a great interception on Jarrett Brown that would have been taken back for a touchdown.
When Tim Tebow was rolling out of the pocket, he was chased down by Florida State OLB Dekoda Watson. Watson yelled at Tebow “Just like old times,” while chasing him down.
One NFL Scout was overheard calling the amount of fans showing up for practice “the Tebow effect.”
After practice, I was able to talk to Dan Williams for a few minutes. Williams said that he wasn’t phased by all the extra attention on Tebow and that Mike Johnson of Alabama was the toughest blocker he faced today. I’ll have the full text of my interview with Williams up later.
While I was talking to Williams, scouts were busy chatting it up with various players. Here are some of the teams I saw talking to certain prospects:
- George Selvie talked with a scout from the San Diego Chargers
- Garrett Graham talked with several Cleveland Browns scouts and then Minnesota Vikings scouts
- Brandon Lang talked with Houston Texans scouts and then Chargers scouts
- Taylor Mays had a long, private chat with a Carolina Panthers scout and then had a talk with a scout from the Bucs
- Antonio Coleman talked with a scout from the Houston Texans
- Dan Williams spoke to scouts from the Bucs
After talking to Williams, I attempted to leave the South practice. That’s right, attempted. It took me about 45 minutes just to get out of the parking lot, leaving me with little between practice and Media Night.
Media night was a success. I was able to interview the following players: Brandon Graham, Danario Alexander, Jared Odrick, Patrick Robinson, Jimmy Graham and Dexter McCluster. I also arranged to speak with Sean Weatherspoon. All of them had a lot to say. Graham talked about his confidence to get to the quarterback, Odrick talked about his versatility and how he found out about his Senior Bowl invite and McCluster was all energy. Dexter McCluster is easy to like and is a real spark plug. You can just tell how much he loves the game and he doesn’t shy away from any contact on the field, or questions in an interview. Full transcripts of these interviews will be up soon!
**Though I wasn’t there to see it, Wisconsin DE/OLB O’Brien Schofield tore his ACL today in practice after a devastating block by Vladimir Ducasse. Keep your head up O. **
Tomorrow I’ll be bringing you coverage of both the North and South practices. After getting to chat with Brandon Graham and Danario Alexander of the North team, I’m excited to see them in action.
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