Most wouldn't have known by their clear lack of presence; they simply didn't show up in the lobby or the on the concourse. Several players breathed "Browns" and "Vikings" citing ghosts they had seen around the hotel but admitted they had not seen either club personally. Much like last year, it appears both clubs will show their game faces during the week, particularly after practice. They were flies on rice a year ago on Ladd-Peebles Field.
AROUND THE LOBBY: While the Browns remain low-key, other franchises continue to grab players and pull them away for interviews.When the Chicago Bears hit the floor, they ensured that they would have a long picnic-style table at their disposal. The intent was to bring as many players down as possible to fill out pre-defined questionnaires. Afterwards, the scouts would get some small talk in to make it more personal.
The New Orleans Saints had a shorter questionnaire to fill out and were able to pump through the players quickly, doing the preliminary work for the head scout to make decisions on a second sitting at a later time.
Atlanta relied on its scouts to take it to the next level. The scouts would meet with the players, talk a little about their background, get their numbers and setup a meeting at a later date (Monday night). The intent is to take the player out of the hustle and bustle of the Riverview Plaza Hotel and into a safer place where they can talk undisturbed.
The Jacksonville Jaguars put a similar strategy in place. Phone number was first on the list, room numbers and often a Tuesday night rendezvous to officially talk shop. They were a bit more forceful with their tactics.
Another end of the spectrum saw the Chargers. They were only interested in select players, taking advantage of the sheer number of prospects walking through. While they greeted every one in turn, they pulled aside a fraction of the players that other teams did. A shake of a hand was often all that took place before they moved on to find the meat of their prospect tree.
SCOUTING OPPORTUNITIES: The nation's top four senior offensive tackles prospects are in attendance, including D'brickashaw Ferguson, potentially a top-four pick in April's draft.
More than a half-dozen of the country's top defensive linemen have showed up in Mobile, including Mathias Kiwanuka of Boston College. The top guards, quarterbacks and running backs will be begin practicing on Monday.
PALMER NOT EMPLOYED YET: While former Browns head coach Chris Palmer interviewed with the New York Jets last Friday in excess of four hours, Scout.com has learned that reports of his being named the team's new offensive coordinator are premature. Palmer has not heard back from the Jets as of Sunday evening and in fact was never told specifically what his job title might be during the interview.MISSING IN ACTION: The Cleveland Browns, who have made upgrading their run defense this off-season a priority, will have one less prospect to watch as Senior Bowl week starts today in earnest.
Defensive tackle Claude Wroten, considered by many the top senior player at his position and a potential first-round NFL Draft choice in April, has had his Senior Bowl invitation revoked after being arrested earlier this month for felony possession of marijuana with intent to distribute earlier this month.
Those on hand for the 57th Senior Bowl feel the former Louisiana State player will watch his draft stock will drop immeasurably because of this. Wroten was previously considered to be among the top three defensive tackles available in the draft, along with Haloti Ngata and Gabe Watson.
Linebacker A.J. Nicholson of Florida State also watched his Senior Bowl invitation go up in smoke stemming from a sexual assault allegation in late December. Nicholson was suspended from playing in the Fiesta Bowl as a result of the charge.
FREE AGENCY WHISPERS: In other news, Scout.com has confirmed that the Indianapolis Colts will do all they can to keep receiver Reggie Wayne with the franchise. Whether it is signing the productive pass catcher to a long-term contract or placing the franchise tag on him before the free agent deadline in March, the team is determined to pay what it takes to retain his services.
On the other hand, the future of running back Edgerrin James is less certain. The price to re-sign him may be a little to steep and the possibility exists that the veteran back will find employment elsewhere in 2006.