2009 Senior Bowl Blog: Day 3

By Matt McGuire
Jan. 21, 2009
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Today was a great day to be an American draftnik. On Sunday, Rey Maualuga was wearing a “VOTE AND WON” shirt, so I’m pretty sure he was in a good mood going into this morning’s practice. I missed out on Barack Obama’s inauguration, but good for you that I caught a lot of the day’s football action at Ladd-Peebles. It was windy and the temperature felt like it was in the low 40s at practice in the morning.

I met up with Scott Wright again and scouted with him for most of the day. We both were highly impressed with Michael Oher’s performance, and we both feel like he is a near lock for the top 10. Oher displays so much talent and he is really answering some “finesse” questions by playing with a nasty attitude. Off the field he is very personable and treats me like he would anyone else. I’m really rooting for him especially since Eugene Monroe and Jason Smith dropped out this week. Being too scared to play shouldn’t be tolerated among the scouts. I feel like Oher could have dropped out too, but I am getting more sold on his competitiveness every day. Before long, I think a lot of haters will be eating crow.

Let me just say, wow, NFL Network reporter Lindsay Soto is really hot. Not only is she beautiful, but I think she is a natural journalist. Too often Rachel Nichols tries too hard and is extremely cliche. Sorry, Walter. Maybe we can double date sometime once they become our trophy wives.

I was about to go up and talk to ESPN reporter Michael Smith, but I missed my chance. I have been a big fan of his since he was with the Boston Globe and then Around the Horn. If I can get any NFL insider information about free agency from him I’ll post it in my blog.

Mike Mayock’s top five by position was recently released. There are no “Darren McFadden shockers” this year, but the draftnik community is buzzing about him having Jason Smith as his No. 1 tackle. I am going to have to ask him why he has him No. 1 considering he rarely does any run blocking.

While I was watching the receivers and defensive backs in the morning practice, I was approached by Larry English’s agent. His name is Jeff Reno (spelling?). He told me WalterFootball.com does a phenomenal job with our mock drafts, but he gave me a hard time for not having a 2010 NFL Mock Draft up yet. I assured him there will be one up by next week, and I was waiting for all the juniors to decide what their futures were. He told me he visits the site to get a feel for the prospects in the college game he has the potential to sign.

I met the guys from one of the best independent team sites on the Internet, PewterReport.com. They cover the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and simply do a phenomenal job. Yes, I have a membership to their site and it is well worth it if you are a Bucs fan like myself. They gave me some great inside information on the Bucs coaching situation. They told me Jon Gruden is by far one of the hardest-working coaches in the NFL, but he simply lacked social skills. He also is really hard-headed and makes up his mind on players without giving them a chance. It is pretty obvious why he was fired, but I still think highly of him in the right situation. The bottom line is Gruden can’t develop a young quarterback, period. You have better have a veteran in place (Rich Gannon, Brad Johnson, Jeff Garcia) if you want to keep Gruden from going insane.

On the second floor of the Riverview Hotel, where all the players and coaches stay, there is usually a lot of action taking place. Players are hanging out, interviewing with coaches/scouts, and getting approached by businesses such as Merrill Lynch about their financial futures. I happened to talk with a gentleman who heads Defensive Line Inc. This is a program a lot like Athletes Performance, and they refine techniques for players and improve their conditioning. Former Atlanta Falcon defensive lineman Chuck Smith coaches there, and he handed me a DVD and said, “DEFENSIVE LINE INC. BELIEVE THE HYPE!”

I have no idea what he expected me to do with this since I told him I just write for a Web site, but I just realized that I am repping his service on this blog update, so I guess he has psychic powers. Among players training at Defensive Line Inc. are Kyle Moore, Ron Brace, Cody Brown and Robert Ayers.

In the morning practice, I really felt Washington State receiver Brandon Gibson stood out. Lucky enough, I caught him before he went into the locker room.

MM: Brandon, you looked great in today’s practice with your route running. What are some routes you are most comfortable with?

BG: I think I do a pretty good job with verticals, stops and comebacks. I try to just focus on getting in and out of the breaks, then getting after the ball.

MM: Whom do you model yourself after in the NFL?

BG: I like Anquan Boldin’s physicalness, and I think he is a specimen. I really enjoy watching him play. Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne do a great job.

MM: No one is born as a great route runner. What do you do to work on those skills?

BG: I try to watch a lot of film. I always practice the end of routes and just focus as much as possible.

Brandon was a very well-spoken person and answered my questions quickly. I am really starting to take a liking to him, but I want to see him tear it up again tomorrow.

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