Friday, January 27, 2012

A few final thoughts on Senior Bowl practice

After Wednesday, the interest in Senior Bowl practice wears off, both from media and scouts, as players mostly go through walk-throughs. So there hasn't been as much news the last two days. 

Sports Illustrated got an inside look at Senior Bowl week from a former Chicago Bears staff member. Normally the the players are the stories all week, but this piece looks at the week from the other side. I recommend you read it for some background info 

As for the three Spartans in Mobile, Ala., all appear to have increased their draft stock. 

Kirk Cousins earned raving reviews all week, and ESPN has him as a third- or fourth-round pick, but's Pat Kirwan said that Cousins has been so impressive that he is a solid second-round pick

Before this week, Cousins said his biggest strengths wouldn't be shown in workouts, rather it was his intangibles and leadership that set him apart. But with his on-the-field success this week, Cousins is rounding out into a great prospect. According to MLive, the Seahawks, Bears, Falcons, Redskins, Vikings, Colts and Broncos interviewed Cousins this week. 

A fun tidbit from Some of Cousins' Senior Bowl teammates were required by their coaches to watch his Big Ten Kickoff Luncheon Speech.

"It's been whirlwind. From the moment we arrived, we were inundated with media requests and interviews with scouts and coaches," Cousins told Tim Brando this morning (which you can listen to here)

"This is a job now, and you have to be very professional about it, and that's not necessarily a concern of mine, but there certainly is a different feel to it, because you have to be very focused all the time, and this is about football now. It's not about your academics, it's not about getting a degree, it's about being the best you can be on the football field." also had Brian Linthicum and Trenton Robinson as possible third-round picks

Linthicum is the only one of the three not to get an invite to the NFL Combine (yet, at least), so the Senior Bowl workouts were most important for him. He showed great mobility and was one of the biggest tight ends in Mobile, but had some trouble with blocks. Given his size and athleticism, I think he's got great chance to succeed in the NFL. I said a few days ago he would be a steal in this draft, but that was before this third-round potential projection. 

He told MLive that two things he set out to prove scouts were that he could block on the line and that he was a downfield threat against linebackers and safeties. 

"I wasn't utilized (much) at Michigan State, but it's something I know I can do," he said.

Now, I don't take that as a slight against MSU. As a team that wants to run the ball and had three senior wide receivers — including the most prolific in school history — there just wasn't enough ball to go around. However, the fact that Linthicum didn't have a receiving touchdown this season was surprising. (He did have a two-point conversion catch in the Outback Bowl, if that counts). 

As for Robinson, I haven't heard much about him. He's been projected all over the place in the draft, so I don't know what to expect in April. But as mentioned before, Robinson does have the Combine and Pro Day to get more looks from scouts. Defensive back can be one of the most difficult positions to project success in the NFL. Robinson is the second-shortest defensive back in Mobile, but he certainly doesn't shy away from contact or anything.

As for the game itself, it will be broadcast at 4 p.m. Saturday on NFL Network. Don't look too much into the results. Coaches try to get everyone involved, so the stats often don't look great. The early week practices really were the most important part of the week for players.

I'm going to be out of town this weekend, so I'll DVR the game and then probably go back and see how the Spartans do. 

After Saturday, it's about getting ready for the Combine. The final invite list should be out any day now.

(Day 1 recap here, Day 2 recap here and Day 3 recap here)

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