Random thoughts on the Bucs and the NFL at the Senior Bowl.
1. I can tell you this Bucs fans, the Senior Bowl is one amazing event. What if the NFL coaching staffs and front offices decided to throw a party with college players and nobody else came? The NFL Network is here, but precious few media beyond that, and even fewer fans. If you are a member of the media and you always wanted an opportunity to talk to just about any NFL coach or GM and ask some questions, this is it.
2. I’d try to describe the scene here better, but I just can’t. The first day Scott Reynolds and I were watching a drill called “the pit”, which pits an offensive lineman against a defensive lineman, one-on-one. We were watching the South squad and the San Francisco 49ers coaches working with them. What was so cool about it?Â Well, we were literally standing on the sideline about five feet from the action. You couldn’t just hear the pads pop, you could feel them!
3. You had me at hello, Ryan Kalil. Have you heard of him? Center for the USC Trojans. Won his one-on-one battles with great strength, balance and technique. Is smart and articulate when he speaks. Very tough. His dad was a center. If there is any shot this kid is there at the top of the second round, he would look very, very good in pewter and red for the next decade.
4. Antonio Johnson, I never heard of you, even though you played at Mississippi State. You only started five games your senior season, but you are a chiseled 6-3 and 303 pounds and have some nasty moves and a high motor. If you’re there on the second day of the draft, the two days of practice I watched you in lead me to believe you’d be a great Buc. Certainly can’t be any worse than Anthony Bryant, who was a failed project.
5. Do you know who I feel bad for? Chris Leak. What a class kid coming off a huge, huge win in the BCS Championship Game. But, he measured at under six feet in Mobile, which is a major red flag if you aren’t a running quarterback, and those of you who watched Leak during four years at Gainesville know that his Vince Young imitation will always need work. Worse, and I am admittedly no professional scout, I don’t see the zip on the ball I think scouts want to see for the NFL. I hope I am wrong, but I smell seventh round.
6. Chris Mortensen, if I were you and I wanted to know something about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, I would call Scott Reynolds or Jim Flynn in the future. It’s even toll free: 1-800-881-BUCS.
7. It was nice to see you, Larry Coker. I was a bit surprised to see you, and even more surprised to see you watching practice in your old University of Miami hat. What’s up with that?
8. Kareem Brown out of Miami has a real future if he maxes out his effort. He seemed to turn up during the big games in 2006 and disappeared during the uneventful ones. Very athletic for a defensive tackle, and he was so lean I was shocked to see he weighed 305 pounds.
9. What’s the deal with Mobile in January? Forty-five degrees and raining? You have really got to love football to watch some of these practices. It’s a good thing that Pewter Report does.
10. If you ever doubted Jon Gruden is an NFL rock star, you should watch him walk through the official Senior Bowl hotel and convention center. The poor guy can’t get 10 feet without someone asking him for a job or a group of coaches and scouts surrounding him … and this is while there are plenty of other NFL head coaches in the room. Say what you want, but the league is clearly voting that Gruden has got “it.”
11. One more name to tuck away: wide receiver Paul Williams from Fresno State. Ran the cleanest routes and never let a ball hit the ground for the North squad. Fared well against Leon Hall from Michigan, who projects as a first-round pick. For a lot more on the guys I mentioned (and others), read our Pewter Insider Senior Bowl stories this week.
12. Okay, last name, I promise. If you like Boston College linemen, and I do, then you will like guard Josh Beekman. I don’t want to say he would give Toniu “Two-Ton” Fonoti a run for his money in the “biggest calves in the universe” contest, but he’s in the same area code. Looks like the kid can play, too.
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