The General Notes feature a few guys I was happy to meet as well as who you should look into. Also I got a chance to interview some of the major prospects here and asked some intriguing questions, most of which I think could end up in your evaluations of these prospects. And finally, I took some team observations from the South practice today and which teams talked to whom.
-It was great to finally meet Chris Berry of www.PowerhouseGM.com this week along with Matt Miller of www.BleacherReport.com for the first time again. I had worked with Matt in past years at Bleacher Report and I plan on woring with Chris Berry in the near future, so it was great to meet those guys. I'm sure Matt will have some great Senior Bowl coverage as well, and check out PowerhouseGM, especially if you're a fantasy football fan looking for a little more.
-While I don't want to knock the Shrine Game, it's really amazing to me how much I enjoy the Senior Bowl more for it's hospitality and ability to help scouts/media so well, maximizing everyone's experience and opportunity. Really hats off to these people, and if (maybe when?) I try and run an event like this, I'll be sure to model it after the Mobile experience.
-For the rest of the week, look for more and more interview notes, press conference notes, team interest notes, and more here at the Daily Notes page. This may be the best resouce out there that you'll find for all the non-scouting yet VERY important part of this process.
-Quinton Coples of North Carolina was actually more talkative than I had imagined. He said that the team's struggles this year were from "just a lot of changes with the program. The coaches didn't do anything wrong, but it was just a lot to deal with. That's why I think we were inconsistent." He said that he, Kevin Reddick and Charles Brown were the leaders of the defense (not Zach Brown, Tydreke Powell), and that he doesn't feel the struggles were from a lack of focus or leadership. He did continue to reiterate that he can "definitely play a 5" technique in the NFL, which makes me wonder if teams are solely looking at him there.
-Brandon Weeden of Oklahoma State was an unplanned but too-good-to-pass-up interview for myself, and I got a chance to speak with the 28 year old, who looked noticeably more comfortable with media (and older too) than the other prospects. He made the point that he had "full field, multi-read offensive scheme" in college, so he's not worried about the transition to the NFL game in that aspect. He did mention that the terminology used was a bit simple at Oklahoma State and that will be a big adjustment in the NFL.
-Chris Polk of Washington was, I'll say, confident when I spoke with him briefly. His two best points were that I asked him where his forty time could be. "Oh man, it's 4.4s". I said "Really? High or low?". Polk: "Oh it's low man, like 4.42 I already ran." If that is true, that'd be awfully impressive for a physical back like that. So, naturally, I asked who was better, he or Trent Richardson. "Come on man, that's a no brainer man. It's me, easy."
-Being a small school cornerback, Ryan Steed of Furman is actually a bit unique because of the fact that he has the length-physicality combination that's rare in top flight small school cornerbacks. He said that he's worked in "multiple" schemes in college and is hoping to show that this week, despite the fact that the defensive systems put in place for these all-star games is generally pretty simple (usually just man, sometimes press, and Cover 3 defenses).
-On the topic of Ryan Steed, I asked Brian Quick of Appalachian State who was the "best cornerback he's faced in college". His answer? "Oh man, Janoris Jenkins easy. He can cover, he's physical, he was just really tough at Florida." I asked about Steed and he said he was very good, but it was Jenkins all the way. That opinion I happen to firmly agree with. He also said he's gained 9 pounds of muscle since the end of the season, and he does look thicker than he did on film.
-Mike Martin of Michigan, who's unbelievable think and powerful-looking in person despite us both being roughly the same height, mentioned that his weight room numbers, which he didn't exactly know what they were, don't always translate to the field. He said it "really doesn't matter what you bench or squat, but it's about being able to use that raw power to beat your man." He also mentioned he's been working hard on his pass rush and said that he feels he could play either a nose tackle or 3-technique in the NFL.
-Dan Herron of Ohio State said it was tough to come back from suspension but that he worked with the scout team a lot and those guys kept him motivated throughout the suspension. He said it was a difficult year and that it wasn't all that fun going through the coaching turnover and consistent questions around the program. He also said that Braxton Miller really started to show some leadership qualities toward the end of the year.
-Maybe my favorite interview of the night was Asa Jackson of Cal Poly. We've had Asa Jackson as one of our top 2-3 small school cornerbacks all season long despite Josh Norman, Ryan Steed, and Micah Pellerin getting all the love from others. He seems really eager to improve himself and maximize this opportunity, more than anyone else I interviewed, including other small schoolers. He said he's tried to work on "not getting beat with double moves", something he admitted he struggled with against quicker receivers in college. He also said that he really "likes to study tendencies" and "watches a ton of film" on the top receivers. While it may sound like a vanilla answer, a guy who's willing to admit what he needs to work on and has such a passion for watching film and performing well is harder to find than you think.
Based on what I saw after South practice, not a lot of team decided to battle the media for some prospects, but I did still see some observations about who was talking to who.
Minnesota Vikings - Phillip Blake (Baylor OC)
Baltimore Ravens - Keenan Robinson (Texas OLB), Emmanual Acho (Texas ILB), Janoris Jenkins (North Alabama CB)
Philadelphia Eagles - Jake Bequette (Arkansas DE)
San Diego Chargers - Nick Foles (Arizona QB), Juron Criner (Arizona WR)
Houston Texans - Dwight Jones (North Carolina WR)