MOBILE, Ala. –
– Greetings from Mobile, where they claim one of the nation’s largest Mardi Gras parties but for this week at least is the home to the premiere annual College All Star game, the Senior Bowl.
– Practices got underway today and though I wasn’t able to arrive until early this evening, there is already some news to report in terms of the roster.
– First, a player I know many Rams fans are interested in is Alabama OT D.J. Fluker. The big man weighed in this morning, checking in around 6’5, 356 pounds but I’m told his 356 isn’t like former Tide tackle Andre Smith and Fluker is built much more solidly. Unfortunately, reports tonight indicate that will be all for him this week in Mobile and he has already taken off to head home and train for the combine and the draft.
– Also, a few players on the listed roster on the Senior Bowl website were late scratches. That includes Texas S Kenny Vaccaro and Wisconsin RB Montee Ball (also a St. Louis native).
– I’ll do a full roster check with the rundown tomorrow. Also, for those planning, we’ll have a Senior Bowl chat on Wednesday this week. I’m thinking a 12:30 Eastern time start so get your questions in now.
– One thing that jumps out about this Senior Bowl and this year’s draft in general is a lack of pop at the top. There’s not the usual clear cut top guys at many positions. That makes weeks like this one fun. There are a number of positions to watch this week where guys can start to separate from others.
– Perhaps no spot will be better for that than offensive tackle. Even without Fluker, Oklahoma’s Lane Johnson, Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher, Wisconsin’s Ricky Wagner and many more are still here jockeying for position behind Texas A&M stud Luke Joeckel.
– Spoke to Fisher at tonight’s media night. An impressive looking kid who is genuinely excited to be here and represent a MAC school. He takes great pride in following the footsteps of Joe Staley, the Super Bowl bound left tackle of the San Francisco 49ers.
– Coming tomorrow, I’ll have a big piece on Oregon OL Kyle Long, the brother of Rams DE Chris. He has an interesting story and he explains why he could no longer put off joining the “family business.”
– Long is an intriguing prospect in his own right. He started at left tackle for the Ducks but when injuries hit, kicked inside to guard. He can play both tackle spots and his versatility is valuable. As for playing for the Rams, he says he’d love to play with his brother but of course, he isn’t dead set on it and would be happy to play anywhere.
– Another interesting position that the Rams could have interest in is safety. Right now, there is no consensus on the top guy though Vaccaro seems to be the early leader in the clubhouse. Still, there is a lot of movement possible there and some contenders are in attendance. Guys like USC’s T.J. McDonald, Georgia’s Bacarri Rambo and South Carolina’s D.J. Swearinger are here and looking to make a statement.
– Spoke to Rambo, who aside from winning the awesome surname award, is here on a mission to prove he is more than just a ballhawk. I’ll have plenty on him later this week but Rambo said he knows the perception is that he can’t tackle and he has come to Mobile to prove that perception wrong. By the same token, he’s also not shying away from his ballhawking reputation. He believes that’s a God given skill that one can’t be taught.
– Baylor WR Terrance Williams was an interesting fellow in his own right. Williams credited his coaches for allowing the Bears offense to continue to thrive even without RG3 at QB. He also made it very clear that he intends to differentiate himself in what is a receiver class with no clear cut star. He wants to be the top wideout drafted.
– Georgia DT John Jenkins wins the early award for player who is the most overwhelmingly massive. He’s a large man.
– Michigan QB/WR Denard Robinson seems happy to be here and not upset with playing a position other than his normal quarterback spot. That’s a bit refreshing because not all players in his spot have moved as graciously. He cited Green Bay’s Randall Cobb as a prime example for him to follow.
– Rumor has it Purdue DT Kawann Short made quite the impression today.
– Oh, second prize in the massive human being contest is Kentucky G Larry Warford. I know there’s been a lot of talk amongst Rams fans about Alabama’s super impressive OG prospect Chance Warmack but Warford could be an interesting prospect. He’s big and physical and figures to be there into the second round. He’s the most touted interior prospect here this week and should be worth following.
– Some really talented RBs in the house this week as well, including UCLA’s Johnathan Franklin and Oregon’s Kenjon Barner, among others. Barner seemed like a genuine kid excited to be here and show the football world what he can do. He didn’t get a ton of credit for making that Oregon offense go but he had a heck of a year.
– Interesting to note, dismissed LSU DB Tyrann Mathieu aka The Honey Badger, is in town to meet with teams this week and do some damage control.
– Plenty more to come the rest of the week as I’ll be here through Thursday with multiple updates each day, insight from scouts and much more.
– The Rams contingent is here already though I’m told coach Jeff Fisher is not in attendance as he tends to other business (such as defensive coordinator hire). GM Les Snead and his group is here and doing the legwork though so we’ll try to catch up before the week is out.
– In the meantime, thanks for reading and talk to you all tomorrow.
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