With all the general managers, coaches and scouts in attendance for the Senior Bowl, there is a lot of chatter going around. Here are some of the highlights from the rumormill on Day 1.
WalterFootball.com has heard from sources that the Atlanta Falcons were extremely disappointed with the play of their interior offensive line last season. Second-year guard Peter Konz was singled out as one of those players that failed to live up to expectations. The Falcons' brass was extremely frustrated that quarterback Matt Ryan consistently couldn't step up in the pocket because of penetration down the middle. Atlanta will be looking to improve their interior blocking via free agency and the draft.
The Green Bay Packers have their defense as the priority of their offseason. It sounds as though Green Bay is more inclined to draft for defense early rather than offensive players like a new tight end or offensive line help. Sources with the Packers say they want to improve the speed and playmaking ability on their defense. Getting their defense more dynamic and faster is a top priority of their offseason according to sources.
The Packers are also interested in Stanford outside linebacker Trent Murphy. Green Bay has some edge rushers in Clay Matthews and Nick Perry, but both players have dealt with injuries. Murphy (6-5, 252) fits the mold as an edge rusher in their defense as he led the nation with 15 sacks last season. If Murphy falls to their second-round pick, that would be ideal for Green Bay.
Green Bay isn't the only team that is scouting Murphy hard. Murphy is also on the radar for the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers don't have a big need at the position, but with a plethora of picks, they could stand to get some pass rushing depth and that isn't a bad idea considering Aldon Smith's situation.
Multiple scouts have told WalterFootball.com that Alabama safety Vinnie Sunseri made a big mistake by entering the draft. They say that Sunseri will be lucky to go on Day 2 and is more likely to be selected on Day 3. Some scouts believe that Sunseri entered the draft out of fear that he was going to be beaten out for a starting spot next year. They say there is no way he would start over Landon Collins, a potential 2015 first-round prospect, and Alabama has a lot of other young talents coming up. Sunseri will be knocked out of pre-draft workouts from a torn ACL and could have used another season to improve his coverage skills under Nick Saban's guidance.
Sources with the Buccaneers tell WalterFootball.com that internally, many staff members expect director of player personnel Dennis Hickey to be let go after the draft if he has any years remaining on his contract. Many around the league and with the Buccaneers were surprised that Hickey wasn't fired with former general manager Mark Dominik and head coach Greg Schiano. Hickey took over running the Bucs drafts in 2006, and their poor performance in the drafts played a huge role in the Bucs' 28-52 record over the past five seasons. Sources with the Buccaneers say that Hickey's future will be up to the new general manager to decide, but many staffers don't believe he'll survive the post-draft turnover in scouting departments.
Some sources found it laughable that Hickey was interviewed for the Dolphins general manager position and believe that was further proof that Miami owner Stephen Ross doesn't know what he's doing. Some in the league view Hickey as a coach and general-manager killer. The Bucs are on their fourth head coach and will be on third general manager since Hickey was promoted to the director of college scouting in 2006. In the scouting community, Hickey has the reputation of making a lot of poor evaluations that have led to a plethora of busted picks for Tampa Bay.