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Senior Bowl week is a fascinating time. It’s when the entire football world descends upon this small little Alabama town called Mobile and it’s where some of the biggest stars of football’s tomorrow go to make their name on a national stage.
For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Mobile, Alabama holds a lot of significance. It was last year that they saw the player that would be their first round pick in O.J. Howard. The year before that they watched their future pass rusher in Noah Spence. In years before that they watched players like Ali Marpet, Donovan Smith and Doug Martin. All that to say the Buccaneers certainly pay attention to what goes on at the Senior Bowl – so you can make sure that we do, too.
The week starts off with official weigh-ins. College teams don’t always tell the truth (or maybe you could call it stretching the truth) when reporting how big or how tall one of their players might be. Official weigh-ins are useful because, for many teams, this shows which players may or may not reach thresholds of certain positions, say a cornerback not being tall enough or an offensive linemen being too skinny. Things like that.
All of that happened on Tuesday morning, and these were our takeaways from those results.
As you would expect from a prospect that comes from a school called Fort hays State, not many in attendance knew much about defensive tackle Nathan Shepherd. It’s tough to carry 330 pounds well, but Shepherd does. He looked like a beast during weigh-ins and, as you’ll read later, that translated to the field.
Chad Thomas was a player who was at last week’s East-West Shrine event and played well enough to get a call up to the Senior Bowl once a few defensive linemen dropped out. Thomas had great all-around measurables for a 4-3 defensive end.
It might be odd reading a weigh-in winner with such short measurables, but the important thing for Smith is that he came in over 200 pounds. That was very impressive. If he can still be just as explosive at that weight, that’s encouraging.
It’s one thing to be listed at 6-foot-7 on a team site; there are many prospects who are. But, it’s another thing to show up and officially be 6-foot-7 like Brandon Parker is. He’s a hulking offensive tackle who can prove a lot in Mobile by moving well with that big body.
Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for PewterReport.com. Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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