MOBILE, Ala. - On the first official day of the Senior Bowl, the scouts and coaches gathered for the weigh in at the Mobile Convention Center. This is the first of many opportunities that the clubs will have to interact with the players as they prepare for the April 26th NFL Draft. What is outstanding about these practices is that the scouts will have to chance to see these players work with NFL staffs coaching the teams. The Oakland Raiders will be working with the North squad while the Detroit Lions will be with the South. For those staffs, coaching these players gives them a unique advantage because they get to interact with the players not only on the field but in meeting settings as well. These staffs will really find out what makes these players tick in what they can and cannot handle.
The Senior Bowl has always been the who's who of the college football crop but there are several notable players that decided not to be a part of the game. Players that took a pass on the opportunity to work for the teams were Monte Ball of Wisconsin, Star Lotulelei of Utah, Geno Smith of West Virginia, Manti Te'o of Notre Dame, Kenny Vacaro of Texas and Chance Warmack of Alabama. Other will miss the game because of injury, Matt Barkley of USC and Jesse Williams of Alabama.
Players that are here that I plan to keep my eye on are quarterbacks Zac Dysert, Mike Glennon and Ryan Nassib all will playing on the North squad. Braxton Cave and Eric Fisher offensive linemen, Margus Hunt, Alex Okafor and Brnadon Short on the defensive line. Already hearing some whispers about safety TJ McDonald as well so will study his week. On the South squad, Landry Jones, Tyler Wilson and EJ Manuel are the quarterbacks. DJ Flukar is a massive tackle that weighed in at 355, guard Larry Warford was down 10 pounds from his playing weight of 343 and looks like he is in good shape. Ezekial Ansah is on the South team as well and missed the weigh in this morning because he was still at the doctor's office so keep an eye on that.
Just from my early draft looks, it appears that the South squad has the better of the offensive line with Fluker, Lane Johnson, JC Tretter and Warford. Brandon Cave and Eric Fisher are the best guys on the North side but it always seems to work out where there are one or two players that catch the scout's eye and causes them to have to go back and relook at their reports. Several years ago there was a player named Mitch Marrow from Penn that set the Senior Bowl on fire as a defensive end. The Carolina Panthers drafted him in the 3rd round only to have him injury his back and never play again. You have to really be careful of the risers and fallers here at the Senior Bowl and understand it is one part of the process.