The most active teams today were the Giants and Dolphins.
The Giants reserve a room and ask every player to take a Wonderlick-type test, which the players hate as it is close to 300-questions long. Big Blue tried a new method of encouraging players to take the test this year; they had several attractive young women administer the test...(but it really didn't work!)
Besides that the Giants were very busy interviewing players, specifically linebackers and offensive lineman. We saw them escort Ohio State's Shane Olivea upstairs for a private interview amongst others and they also sat down for extended talks with Demorrio Willaims and Bryan Hickman. Two more players they seemed very interested in were quarterback Cody Pickett and defensive tackle Jordan Carstens.
Miami had a group of scouts that sat at one end of the check-in area and would just pull players over and sit them down of a one-on-one as they arrived. The Dolphins seemed to concentrate on the lines of scrimmage. Darnell Dockett and Tommy Kelly spent considerable time with the Fish as did Oklahoma State's Antonio Smith and Nick Leckey of Kansas State. Also of note; Miami spoke at length with Penn State cornerback Rich Gardner and went as far as having him sign a release to allow the franchise to do a background check on the cover man.
Darnell Dockett was possibly the busiest man here today as representatives for both the Bears and Seahawks spent considerable time with the athletic tackle. Jordan Carstens was also on the list for several teams as he met with scouts from the Dolphins as well as the Seahawks.
The early buzz here centers on two players, both receivers. Many in attendance were pleasantly surprised by the addition of Larry Fitzgerald into the draft and several have conceded he will be the first wide out selected. An equal amount seemed miffed that Lee Evans is not playing in this game, and though it was not confirmed he was on the final roster or declined an invitation, many are disappointed the Wisconsin wide out will not be playing next week.
Something that has really rubbed people the wrong way in Mobile is the fact that not a single player from the Miami Hurricanes has showed up. Several were invited and gave the impressions they'd would play next week but not a single Hurricane player accepted an invitation. With the exception of the three juniors none of the other Hurricanes are guaranteed to be early choices. Coaches we spoke with said Jonathan Vilma made a mistake as had he shown up and proved capable of handling the outside linebacker duties, (similar to what Brian Urlacher did five years ago) he (Vilma) would've moved into the top 10 choices. D.J. Williams had a lot to gain from playing here as did both of the offensive tackles. Many we spoke with said it was laughable that Vernon Carey did not make the trip as he has now locked himself out of the first round.
Another player who upset scouts by pulling out at the last second was Chris Perry, though the full story on his withdrawal is not yet fully told.
In fact Redskins scout Trevor Balke spoke extensively with Anderson. On his behalf Balke has a solid eye for talent on the line and was responsible for the Jets drafting Ryan Young in the seventh round five years ago. Prior to his injury of 2002, Young was an outstanding line prospect and started for the Jets as a rookie.
One thing we learned today; it is very unlikely that Drew Brees will be the starting quarterback for the San Diego Chargers next year. And though he is likely to be back with the club, people we've spoken with say the franchise will either draft a young signal caller or look to line-up a veteran behind center next season.
Several "sleepers" have been making the rounds during the Senior Bowl's early hours. Many may remember the name Jon Van Cleave, the former starting quarterback from Louisiana Lafayette who displayed good promise before leaving the program last season and sitting out the year. Well Van Cleave is back and was at the Adams Mark today. In fact the Dolphins had a lengthy talk with him during the afternoon.
Finally, you may also remember the name of Chris Coleman. We ranked the athletic tight end out of Alabama State very high coming into the season but he seemed to vanish into thin air. Well, low and behold we spoke with someone from the ASU program today who told us that Coleman was academically ineligible this season and was severely missed by the team. He also told us that we were not the only ones interested in Coleman as the Jets, Eagles and Chiefs have all inquired about him recently.