The Senior Bowl got under way this
morning with the measuring of the more than 100 players that have shown up in
Mobile. It is usually an affair highlighted by beefy lineman that broach
the 400-pound barrier but there was a twist this time around as many of the
prospects have seemingly been calorie counting and following a Weight Watchers
regiment the past several weeks.
Slim was the word of the morning as
the "wows" generally coming from the Alabama Ballroom at the Adams Mark
Hotel turned to surprise as senior after senior stepped onto the scale looking
as though they needed to be on a weight gaining diet. All three
quarterbacks for the South squad looked as though they've been drinking a lot
of Slim Fast recently. Kliff Kingsbury and Chris Simms who both measured in over
6-feet and 3-inches, tipped the scale at 203 and 216 pounds respectively;
especially Kingsbury who looked painfully thin. Even Carson Palmer who's
been on the rubber chicken circuit since winning the Heisman Trophy last month
was only 220-pounds at 6-feet four and a half inches. Possibly the most
surprising measurement of the day was LaMarcus McDonald, the tough, run stuffing
linebacker from TCU known for his intimidating style of hitting. Just
touching the scale at 6-feet, the skinny framed McDonald weighed only
Monday afternoon's practice got off
to a quick start for the Detroit Lions coaching staff, which was in charge of
the south team. Quarterback Carson Palmer looked solid all day. His
passes were crisp and his arm strength was obvious. Though not pinpoint
accurate with his throws, Palmer consistently placed the ball well all practice.
He had some difficulties late in the day but attributed the struggles to the
difficulty of handling the new offense given to him by Lions coach Marty
Mornhinweg. Overall it was a good performance by the Heisman Trophy
Palmer's Trojan teammate Justin
Fargas also impressed during the session. Known as a workhorse running
back that punishes defenders, Fargas carried the ball with a good degree of
intelligence, displaying great vision and finding the running lanes all day.
His week is off to a good start.
Torrin Tucker of Southern Mississippi
was easily the most dominant lineman of the afternoon. Quickly putting to
bed any consideration that he may be a soft player, Tucker drove-opposing
defenders off the ball and opened holes all afternoon. At one point his
intensity level got a bit out of hand as he engaged in fisticuffs with
Tennessee's Rahsad Moore, prompting Lions coach Charles Haley to jump in the
mix and break up the fray.
On the other side of the ball Ty
Warren was a load in the middle as the defensive tackle commanded double teams
all afternoon yet collapsed the pocket, pushing blockers into the backfield.
Warren's explosive playing style was also evident and he garnered the
attention of scouts on this day.
Florida's Taylor Jacobs was by far
the most active and consistent receiver of the day, catching everything thrown
in his direction and drawing a favorable response from the South's signal
callers. Jacobs is a natural wide out and not only displayed reliable
hands but solid route running skills and the abilities to pick up positive
yardage running after the reception.
Other prospects also received
positive reviews Monday afternoon. Central Florida pass catcher Doug
Gabriel is raw, talented and slowly turning into a complete wide receiver.
He flashed skill all day, beating defensive backs on several occasions down the
field or across the middle and enhanced his draft stock.
Kliff Kingsbury's lack of arm
strength is apparent but just as obvious is the feel and grasp he has for the
quarterback position. Many scouts were impressed with the poise and
patience Kingsbury displayed all afternoon as well as the touch and accuracy he
puts on his passes in both the short and intermediate field. For any team
that implements a spread offense, Kingsbury could be the guy to run the show.
North Carolina's Sam Aiken caught
the ball well all afternoon as did tight end Mike Seidman. Perhaps the
surprise of the day was the hands displayed by Mississippi State fullback Justin
Griffith. A player beset by injuries late in his career, the versatility
Griffith showed may help him sneak into the late rounds.
On the flip side a few prospects were
disappointing and did not help their cause. Talman Gardner continued what
has been an inconsistent career and after catching the ball well early in the
day, dropped a lot easy passes, seemingly fighting the ball in the afternoon.
Sammy Davis had a tough day and the cornerback from Texas A&M was beaten
several times on different areas of the field while defensive tackle Jarrett
Johnson of Alabama fought hard throughout the session but was handled by
blockers and got little penetration up the field.
All in all today was a smooth start for the south as the players build up to Wednesday's all important full contact practice which is always the most heavily attended day of Senior Bowl week.