Senior Bowl: Gruden To Look for O-Line Help

After a first full day of practice, the news flying around the Senior Bowl has been almost as furious as the hitting that took place this afternoon. Here are some additional notes on what's gone on today as well as a big fracas taking place over the NFL combine.

Last year at the Senior Bowl, Tampa Bay head coach Jon Gruden basically fell for running back Cadillac Williams. Having the ability to coach the former Auburn Tigers running back, Gruden had first-hand knowledge about the player and his tendencies.

While Gruden and his Buccaneers' staff will not coach at the Senior Bowl this year, one can assume Gruden will closely watch the talent assembled this week.

With questions regarding the overall play at the offensive tackle and interior offensive line position, proposed injury issues at the Senior Bowl could hamper the ability of a few prospects to impress.

There is some concern about the health of Marcus McNeill, the big offensive tackle from Auburn. Suffering from a back injury, the word is medical red flags will be raised between now and April, which will negatively effect McNeill's draft stock.

Another player rumored to be injured is Minnesota center Greg Eslinger. Originally slated to play in this contest, Eslinger pulled himself from the game. Sources from the Shrine Game on hand here in Mobile have told us Eslinger also pulled himself from that all-star contest last week.

Finally the big buzz here in Mobile is not about the Senior Bowl, rather the combine.

For years players and their representatives have complained about the slow turf at the RCA Dome, even though more and more players break the 4.30 second barrier in the 40-yard dash every year. There was talk that the field turf in Indianapolis was to be ripped up and replaced with a faster surface for the Colts. The thought process was it would be ready for the NFL combine, which begins in earnest on Feb. 22.

That may not be the case, though no one can say for sure. Some NFL team executives on hand say the turf will be replaced in time for the combine while others say it is not going to be replaced at all.


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