Hello From Mobile

For the sixth consecutive year, TFY Draft Preview begins wall-to-wall coverage of Senior Bowl week. From the start of weigh-ins tomorrow morning you'll be completely covered for the most important week of scouting prior to the draft. Tonight we start with Nick Saban's doings, the Jets and John Abraham, debates on Arkansas QB/WR Matt Jones and breaking news for draft weekend itself.

For a decade now the NFL has held both days of the draft at The Theatre in Madison Square Garden but that may quickly come to an end. Sources have told us there is a 95% a change in venue is in the works this April with almost a 50% certainty the draft itself may be held outside of New York city. Why you ask?

The Theatre at Madison Square Garden is owned by the Dolan brothers, who also control the Knicks, Rangers and Cablevision. The Dolan's previously battled to purchase the Jets after the death of former owner Leon Hess but lost out to Woody Johnson. Now the Dolan's are once again fighting...to keep the Jets and New York city from building a new stadium on the west side of Manhattan.

Looking upon the potential stadium and convention center as a threat to Madison Square Garden, the Dolan's have held no punches trying to stop the possible building of this facility and this has league officials, specifically commissioner Paul Tagliabue, up in arms.

The NFL commissioner has decided if possible he will pull this year's draft from the Dolan owned facility at the Garden and the league is presently looking for a suitable replacement elsewhere.

Many feel if another location cannot quickly be found there is a good chance this year's draft could end up in Philadelphia, a city reasonably close to the league's Manhattan offices and an area with several facilities to hold the event.

The Jets are ready for life with or without John Abraham. The team plans to franchise the oft-injured pass rusher, who played here in 2000, but hope to swing a deal and trade Abraham to another franchise rather then workout a long term deal. If they can't pull off a trade the expectations in Mobile are Abraham will be with the Jets next season.

Nick Saban is hard at work and the Dolphins new head coach is already scheduling interviews, the first of which will be with Mississippi State defensive tackle Ron Fields. Scouts in Mobile are raving about Fields as he is a physically impressive specimen who looks ready to start practice tomorrow.

On the player front, former Arkansas quarterback Matt Jones is ready to try his hand at a new position this week. The collegiate passer will move to receiver, the spot most scouts feel he is best suited to play at the next level. Yet some are saying Jones has a severely injured shoulder. So bad is the injury some predict it will send up several medical red-flags prior to the draft. The situation bares watching.

Early Notes:
As with any event such as the Senior Bowl, players are asked to move around to show their versatility. One move how ever, is the complete change of philosophy for one player QB Matt Jones of Arkansas University is being taught how to play the wide receiver position, under an hour by a Tampa Bay Coach on Sunday night.

When asked how tough it would be to teach him his new position, one Tampa coach said bluntly, "mind blowing".

Rob Petitti a natural left tackle out of Pittsburgh will practice at both tackle positions, though his preference is to stay at his natural left tackle position.

Petitti has been working out, over the last 3 weeks at right tackle in anticipation of a possible move.

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