Mobile's airport looked like an NFL convention Thursday morning as teams skipped the light contact work and walk-through Friday to get back home. The three days of full practices were the real meat of the event, and coaches and personnel departments can pour over practice and game tapes from their offices.
The top three prospects here this week – linebackers Dan Connor (Penn State) and Keith Rivers (Southern California) and defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis (Southern California) – all performed up to expectations. Others stepped up their games as well, while some just stepped on their own feet.
Here are the top three "Risers" and "Fallers" for the upcoming NFL Draft this April after Senior Bowl workouts:
TE Brad Cottam, Tennessee: His comeback from injury is almost as complete as his game. If he would have been healthy this year, he would be a large, 6-8 blip on the draft radar earlier in the year. Looks like he has regained his speed and maintained his blocking strength. He could end up a top-75 selection.
RB Justin Forsett, California: He'll always be small in stature, but he doesn't run that way as he's a nice balance of quickness and toughness. His huge hands (10.5") were a nice surprise, and he showed he could use them as a receiving threat out of the backfield this week.
North Quarterbacks: Chad Henne (Michigan) fought to get to the No. 3 quarterback position in the draft. A big game on Saturday, added to the bowl game against Florida and this week of practices, puts him in the running for an early second-round selection. Joe Flacco (Delaware) showed everyone he belonged, in terms of size, arm strength and accuracy. John David Booty (Southern California) won't get the hype that Henne or Flacco will, but he made most every throw and most every decision look effortless. He could easily outshine Henne and Flacco in Saturday's contest because a major question for both is their poise under pressure.
WR Adarius Bowman, Oklahoma State: Dropped several passes during the week and has never really been a burner. Flashed his potential as a big-bodied target at times, but he did nothing to stake his claim as a top-50 pick.
South Quarterbacks: All three quarterbacks for the South team struggled this week. And even though the practice time with their receivers is limited, the North quarterbacks appeared to have considerably fewer troubles. Erik Ainge (Tennessee) threw many ducks if the pass traveled more than 10 yards. Colt Brennan (Hawaii) looked like a rail, got the ball out late and did not live up to his ultra-accurate reputation. Andre Woodson (Kentucky) has a long delivery, which makes teams wonder if NFL corners will be able to jump his routes too often.