Any time you drive and log more than 475 miles on the odometer, it is an exhausting day. That's what I did driving from my home in Bowling Green, Ky. to Mobile, Ala., the site of this year's Senior Bowl.
All the players are staying at the Riverview Plaza Hotel, which is the nicest hotel I have ever been in. I am definitely making my reservations a year in advance to stay there in 2010. The lobby and bar were packed while everyone was watching the Eagles-Cardinals game. There were many scouts in attendance from teams such as the Steelers, Ravens and Jaguars. I'm sure the rest of the middle-aged guys in there were scouts, but they were in casual clothing; not sporting any logos ? sucks for me.
Chris Steuber, draft analyst for Scout.com, was watching the game. Apparently, he is a HUGE Eagles fan. Any time the defense made a big play, you could hear him yell from the other side of the room. Can't wait to talk to him this week about what he likes and tear apart his mock draft - just kidding. But seriously, Mark Sanchez No. 1 in his mock update?
So, I had a Heineken at the bar and was chatting it up with some guy my age who works for a video software company. He is either a marketer or a developer - not sure which. Anyway, he is making presentations to sell NFL teams on their product, which is an advanced video program to use in practice and games. If I see him later on in the week I will get more info on the software because it seemed pretty cool.
The award for best dressed player for Senior Bowl week is Cal Poly wideout Ramses Barden. Maybe he can give me some tips if I can talk to him after practice.
While I was at the Riverview, I talked to a few scouts. The firs t scout I talked to is with an NFC South team. He gave me some information on how his organization does things during the draft. Teams divide their scouts up regionally (i.e. Midwest, West, Southeast, etc.). I already knew this, but he told me they also cross check regions on film to ensure the most accurate scouting reports possible.
He also said every regional scout for this NFC South team is scouting a certain position this week. For example, he has the linebackers. When I asked for his opinion on Aaron Curry, that's when he stopped talking. How come Sports Illustrated and The Sporting News can get this inside information (quoted anonymously), but I can't? Is WalterFootball.com not the No. 1 Draft site on the web? I think Walter and I might have to set up a booth here next year to spread the word and debacle the rest of the football-related Internet.
Another scout I talked to was a national scout for an AFC West team. He and I had an interesting conversation. A national scout is the head of all the regional scouts. The impression I got from this gentleman is his organization is VERY laid back, but not in a bad way. They will not have their big board up for everyone to look at until two days before the draft.
I was on the second floor while all the players were being interviewed, so I asked him what he looks for in an interview. The AFC West scout told me they already know the answers to the questions they ask, but they ask them anyway to see how their players react. Remember when Mario Manningham lied about his marijuana use? Exactly. The scout told me players sometimes have trouble when they ask questions that are not football-related.
I discussed with him the Trade Value Chart, and he said his team has their own point system they use, but he didn't know why the "official" one hasn't been updated. I want to seriously pitch my TVC. If it gets revised, I get my 15 minutes of fame.
Some interesting developments on the Senior Bowl roster: Eugene Monroe, James Laurinaitis, Jarron Gilbert, Duke Robinson, Javon Ringer, Louis Murphy, Tyson Jackson, Michael Johnson, Demetrius Byrd, Jason Smith and Curry (shocker) dropped out. Disappointed with Johnson, Smith, Gilbert, and Robinson not playing because I feel they have something to prove this week. Michael Oher certainly can see his stock soar with a great week because Smith and Monroe aren't here. No names worth mentioning were added, which shows how weak the depth in this senior class is.
Other notes are Nic Harris is listed as a linebacker, and Connor Barwin as a tight end, but I am sure that is a typo.
Going to get a good night's sleep and go to the weigh-in tomorrow, which is at 10:30 CT. All the scouts will be there and I am looking forward to that "buzz" in the air.