SDBoltReport.com's Senior Bowl Blog, Part I

SDBoltReport.com's Michael Lombardo reports live from Mobile, Ala., where San Diego scouts are eyeing the nation's premier senior prospects. Check out the latest tidbits, including a talk with Norv Turner, an interview with a top defensive line prospect and an LSU connection waiting to be reunited.

Q&A with DT Stephen Paea (Jan. 24, 10:15 p.m.)


DT Stephen Paea
Christian Petersen/Getty
Oregon State DT Stephen Paea (6-foot-1, 312 pounds) is one of the most intriguing prospects in the NFL Draft. A former rugby player, he moved to the United States at age 16 and played just three years of football before signing with Oregon State in 2008. He has quickly emerged as one of the nation's premier run stuffers and has the quickness to develop as a pass rusher.

After Monday's practice, I caught up with the mauler.

Michael Lombardo: How did it feel to get back on the practice field for the first time in almost two months?

Stephen Paea: It was awesome. I was just knocking off the rust today. I am going to come back tomorrow and start getting after the offensive linemen again. Things are getting better. It helps playing with the coaches of the Cincinnati Bengals, which is really an honor.

ML: How different is it working with pro coaches for the first time?

SP: It's different as far as terminology, that's the biggest thing about it. You can tell they are professional coaches; they have a different kind of attitude. They are trying to teach us to be professionals and we are learning as we go.

ML: What are you trying to show to all the non-Bengals coaches in attendance?

SP: I need to show that I have good athletic ability to get after running backs and quarterbacks. I want to polish up on my techniques and get after it.

ML: What has been the biggest question about your game and how do you answer it this week?

SP: I've been inconsistent. I didn't have a good first half of the season. I need to prove to everyone who thinks I'm not a good football player that they're wrong.

ML: How do you go about proving that point?

SP: I'll let my film speak for me. There is nothing I can say to persuade them. Everything is laid out on the field.

ML: What are your plans for the time between the Senior Bowl and the NFL Draft?

SP: I'll be training in Southern California with Ken Vick at Velocity. It's awesome; basic stuff, nothing new. Working out, watching my diet, things like that.

Sheppard Could Find His Flock (Jan. 24, 7:24 p.m.)


LB Kelvin Sheppard
Kevin C. Cox/Getty
The Chargers have several former LSU players on their roster, including Jacob Hester and Buster Davis. They could add another in the draft in the form of ILB Kelvin Sheppard. San Diego's top three inside linebackers are set for free agency, creating a likely need at that position.

In San Diego, Sheppard would be reunited with yet another former LSU player, Darry Beckwith. Beckwith spent most of last year on San Diego's practice squad but finished the season on the active roster.

Beckwith has been giving Sheppard advice on the pre-draft process.

"Darry is a great guy," Sheppard said. "He is very explosive and can really run for a bigger guy. I started alongside him for a year and was there with him for three years total. We talk and laugh ... we still stay in touch."

Norv Turner Excited for His Protege (Jan. 24, 3:33 p.m.)


Coach Norv Turner
Doug Pensinger/Getty
I spoke with San Diego Chargers coach Norv Turner today as he was attending the North Team practice. Although Turner lost two standout members of his staff when Ron Rivera became Carolina's head coach and Rob Chudzinski followed to become the team's offensive coordinator, he is excited for the opportunity awaiting his former pupils.

Rivera inherits a job that is the polar opposite of the one Turner took over in 2007. Turner took charge of a 14-2 team that had nowhere to go but down; that is certainly not the case in Carolina.

"There is nowhere to go but up," said Turner of Carolina. "[The Panthers] were terrible last season. What did they score, 16 touchdowns? That has to be an all-time record."

Michael Lombardo is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a long-time contributor to the Scout.com network. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 15 years and covered the team since 2003. You can see more of his updates by following him on twitter.


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