I was able to catch up with Michigan quarterback Chad Henne earlier this evening and was really impressed by his confident, poised and thoughtful delivery during our interview. He had just completed an interview with a representative from the Carolina Panthers that lasted well over 45 minutes. I hadn't noticed anyone else taking that long with a potential draft prospect this week, so I think it's safe to say that you should put Carolina in the serious bidder category for Henne's services this April. He also told me that he's met with the Atlanta Falcons, the St. Louis Rams, had a "very good meeting" with the Minnesota Vikings, and that the Chicago Bears are "up there" as well. Henne showed off his strong arm and his tight spiral on a beauty of a long ball down the right sideline to California's Lavelle Hawkins during Wednesday morning's practice. Watch for the full audio of my interview with Chad here at Scout.com this week.
Wednesday evening Under Armour Senior Bowl media officials confirmed that UNLV linebacker Beau Bell and West Virginia running back Owen Schmidt would miss Saturday's game due to knee injuries they suffered this week. No further details were available regarding the severity of the injuries.
Scouts from both the Lions and Vikings looked visibly impressed Wednesday morning when California running back Justin Forsett squirted through a tight gap on the left side of the line and then proceeded to use a series of really quick cuts to elude defenders who tried to close in on him. The Detroit scout shook his head, seemingly in disbelief, and said, "There you go!"
A New York Giants scout was talking about how impressed he was with USC offensive tackle Sam Baker, saying he really likes the way he moves to maintain position against his attacker. A guard who has caught his eye is Oregon State's Roy Schuening, who he said has had a really nice week up through Wednesday's workouts. He also liked Arizona State center Mike Pollak, noting his handwork while referring to him as a "good technician." Following the morning practice session, the Cleveland Browns approached Pollak to talk and learn more about him.
I like what I've seen so far from Tulane RB Matt Forte, who is arguably the most punishing running back on the field in Mobile. His 6-foot-1, 219-pound physique has been impressive and puts opposing defenders on notice that they're not going to be able to bring him down without delivering a worthy hit. Forte drew praise from South team head coach Mike Nolan of the 49ers during Nolan's Wednesday night press conference. According to an NFL source, Forte's drawing the most interest from the Panthers, Browns and Texans so far, but I've also confirmed that he's been interviewed by the Colts and Saints while he's been in Mobile. One AFC East scout said he thinks he could be the most complete back in this draft, and regretted that his team wasn't going to be putting a high enough priority on running back in this draft to make a run at selecting Forte.
Virginia Tech's Chris Ellis
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USC defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis isn't the only Ellis on the North Team that is making a good impression this week. Virginia Tech's Chris Ellis has drawn compliments from scouts that are impressed with his quick burst. After a scout watched the 6-foot-4, 257-pound DE explode across the line and complete his arc towards the pocket, he said, "Man, he just beat that guy like a drum."
According to one NFL source I spoke to in Mobile, Hampton defensive end Kendall Langford is drawing quite a bit of interest from the Miami Dolphins. The Jaguars, who have watched fellow Hampton alumnus Justin Durant excel during his first year in the NFL, have also shown interest in him. A number of teams are seeing the 6-foot-6, 294-pound lineman as a great fit as a defensive end in a 3-4 defense. So others, such as Cleveland, Dallas, and Minnesota have been in touch. But one 4-3 team — the Philadelphia Eagles — are also inquiring about him. Bottom line, Langford is getting noticed.
Boston College OT Gosder Cherilus lost his cool during one-on-one drills during the Wednesday morning session and had to be pulled off a defensive lineman who didn't really appear to be all that interested in fighting in front of pro scouts. Gosder walked away from the altercation visibly disgusted, yanking his helmet off his head as he walked to the back of the line to await his next turn.
Following Wednesday morning's practice, the Saints were busy talking to three talented players, including DE/LB Bruce Davis out of UCLA, and Colorado cornerback Terrence Wheatley. But one Saints team representative spent most of his post-practice field time solely on USC cornerback Terrell Thomas. The Trojans' defender looked sharp on Wednesday, particularly on one play where he stayed so tight on Virginia Tech WR Eddie Royal that it looked like Royal was casting a shadow on the route. Thomas positioned himself perfectly, creating an impenetrable barrier that allowed him to easily knock the pass away from Royal.
Davis was also interviewed by the Cleveland Browns while Wheatley talked to the Denver Broncos after each of them wrapped up their discussions with the Saints.
Another Denver team official was spotted chatting with USC running back Chauncey Washington shortly before the players left the stadium to board their bus back to the hotel.