After coaches and scouts returned to their home towns from the Senior Bowl, the quality of the talent at Mobile was heavily discussed. Overall, a number of NFL coaches weren't particularly impressed. The one exception was the defensive linemen, and particularly the South's defensive line. North Carolina's Quinton Coples, Alabama's Courtney Upshaw and South Carolina's Melvin Ingram are all future first-round picks this April. Aside from them, there were a few other players who are strong candidates for the second day.
A few NFL coaches from teams that have drafted defensive linemen highly in recent years said that the South's defensive line was better than their team's defensive line. That was largely meant as a compliment of those prospects, and not an indictment on their players.
One position group that coaches expressed some serious disappointment in was the wide receivers. Arizona's Juron Criner was complimented as the standout of the group, with Cal's Marvin Jones playing better than expected. Otherwise, there were some players who were very underwhelming. That group was led by North Carolina wide receiver Dwight Jones (6-3, 226) and Texas A&M wide out Jeff Fuller (6-4, 217). They both have size, but struggled with route running. Houston's Patrick Edwards (5-8, 168), Arkansas' Joe Adams (5-10, 174) and Alabama's Marquis Maze (5-7, 184) all have major size concerns that hurt them significantly with coaches. There were a few other receivers who were decent - Iowa wide out Marvin McNutt and Appalachian State wide receiver Brian Quick - but coaches didn't feel there was a candidate to be a first-round pick with the wideouts.
The defensive backs, offensive linemen and linebackers received some praise. Right now, the players whom coaches are really speaking highly about are the obvious top of the draft underclassmen like Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon, LSU's Morris Claiborne and USC's Matt Kalil. Coaches feel that with each passing year, the underclassmen are becoming more and more the strength of the first round.
The final rumor that coaches believe is gaining steam is the St. Louis Rams trading down for a team that is desperate to land Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III. The Redskins, Dolphins and Browns are the usual suspects being discussed at this point.