Senior Bowl Stream

Stream of consciousness columns are simultaneously refreshing and dangerous, particularly if you really do type up what you're thinking. Let's see if any turbulence erupts as we settle into our igloo for the Senior Bowl on the first Steelers-less weekend of the year. … And we're off …Ugh.

The announcers are Mark Malone and Sean Salisbury with Mel Kiper. Kiper's alright, and Malone I can handle, but Salisbury rubs me the wrong way. Of course, we're willing to be fair today. … Here's the sideline geek with Carson Palmer. Ask him why it took three poor years to finally get it. Must've been Paul Hackett's fault. … Speaking of which, Chad Pennington has a very weak arm. Let's see how he handles the upcoming adjustments. They couldn't adjust to Joe Montana, could they? … Going in, I'm expecting big things out of Palmer and Marcus Trufant in Mobile. They've drawn the raves this week. I also have the preconceived notion that Justin Fargas will make a fine all-around halfback. … Alright, where are the defensive backs? … Thank God I don't have to worry about offensive linemen, so pardon the lack hereof. … Fargas looks like an ideal third-down back. Kiper says mid-second round pick. Oh, yeah, there's Fargas' dad, Huggy Bear. We told you about him earlier. … Damn, Fargas wants it bad. … It's not hard to see that Palmer is a lock for the first pick of the draft. Tall, mobile, big arm, in charge. Hello, Marvin Lewis. Hello, Pittsburgh Steelers. He'll be around for a while. . … Could the Bengals actually screw it up? … Here's Dave Ragone, the left-handed QB from Louisville. Tough as they come, but here he is fumbling the first handoff. Man, the Steelers can't be serious about him. … Larry Johnson's running hard. Got knocked this week for a lack of explosion through the hole and running upright. The Steelers could get a crack at him. I have a feeling teams are tired of dealing with Penn State's limited access and will take it out on Johnson. Just a hunch. Would the Steelers take him? O, there's Ragone fumbling again, but back to Johnson, I'm still undecided. I know that assistants and ex-Penn Staters Dick Hoak and Kenny Jackson like him a lot, so I'll lean their way even though one scout defiantly calls him a mid-rounder. … David Duval missed wickedly on a short field goal. … The Steelers can pitch all of those reports on kickers. For a good three months they were scouring the globe. Jeff Reed came along and solved a big problem, cheaply. … I want to see more of Rashean Mathis, the corner/safety out of Bethune-Cookman. Curse the lack of TV dimensions. … That should've been dementia, I think. … Don't you hate writers who use "I" too much? I've finally found time to rip into that brand new Neil Young biography and the writer's using first person a little too often. … Big hits are being made; no names are being given; sideline interview to blame. Cliches. When will this ugly phase of sports journalism pass? … DeJuan Groce, the Nebraska corner, is big and looks quick enough here, but he supposedly had a lousy week. … Samantha Jo, 3, can't grasp the beauty of "Leave daddy alone, honey, he has to watch the Senior Bowl for work." … QB Kyle Boller, you're on the clock. …Big, flipped the short one out nicely, has a fastball, … Folks, we're not getting the names of any of the tacklers. Good thing the club doesn't have a great need for inside linebackers. … I wonder how the safeties are playing … Back to Boller, he's not the most accurate passer either. Kiper called him this year's Patrick Ramsey. I'd imagine the Steelers will have a chance. … Cecil Sapp is in the end zone with that misdirection flip Amos Zereoue made famous. Malone says Sapp can't block. Powerful little runner, though. … Interview of Sapp: dumb as a stump, gold teeth display. … QB Chris Simms, you're up. … Fumble on the first play. Get these lefties out of my face. … Kiper said 2nd or 3rd round for Simms, not a bad arm, mobile, could become Boomer Esiason with time, and his dad was a late-bloomer, too, so he could be worth time, another one the Steelers will have to take third and fourth looks at … Give me Matt Wilhelm as a back-up to James Farrior. The OSU MLB was a big factor in the national championship game, but is said to be too small. … So far, the quarterback whose stock has risen the most is Rex Grossman, who's not even in Mobile. Kiper has him going ninth. That's a little too high. … I've always liked Ernest Graham of Florida as a running back, and with Steve Spurrier they won when Graham was healthy. He's smallish, but runs inside as well as outside and is a natural pass-catcher. …Time for 5-foot-11 QB Seneca Wallace. Says he wouldn't mind playing CB. He, like Antwaan Randle El, was a one-man team. Is he similar to El in that he must change positions? Or is he the future centerpiece for the Mike Mularkey offense? … Wow a poll just before the half with 99,000 votes says Grossman should be the third quarterback taken. By the way, Wallace won't be. He just doesn't have what Doug Flutie had - the magic. … Please, please, please stop showing the hit on Willis McGahee. Maybe it's just me, but I couldn't watch that replay once. My wife thinks I'm a big wuss, but I shut my eyes every time that clip starts. … Looking ahead to the Super Bowl, I have the AFC -1, so I'm rooting for Tampa Bay to upset the Eagles. The Raiders, in my mind, would be favored by eight over the Bucs. … Here's Kliff Kingsbury. I hear his arm's weak. ... It is. … Well, he's taking a beating from the two-worst-QBs-ever-to-broadcast. Remember that, Sean, when you blast reporters "who've never played the game." We wonder if it's better to have played and sucked than to have never played at all … Funny, if Kingsbury threw 95 TD passes at Miami, he'd be judged as highly as Steve Walsh was. As it is, 5,000 yards at Texas Tech and a weak arm gets you the clipboard on a West Coast team. … Oklahoma's Andre Woolfolk sure gives a big cushion. Looks like a Steelers CB to me. … Gerald Hayes just rocked Fargas. Finally, a defensive player flashes across the screen. … Whoops. Check that. DE Mike Haynes of Penn State is having a big day. He's been the best front-seven player out there. You think of a guy like Haynes when you think about the fundamentals of drafting. The best teams in the long run don't draft for need. … Trufant won't be around for the 27th pick. Better think about a safety or a cornerback who can play safety. … The only quarterback who's piqued my interest today has been Boller, the Cal QB. … Shane Walton, CB from ND, makes a late bid for our affection by jumping a route near the goal line and running Simms' pass back for a touchdown. Nice play; TFY reported that he was beaten like a drum at practice this week, but worth another look I'm sure. … Larry Johnson is killing the clock. So is Boller, with one of those Maddox scrambles. Not real nimble but not too shabby, either. … Enjoy the playoff games.

--Jim Wexell


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