Monday, December 22, 2014

What I Learned at the Senior Bowl

MOBILE, Ala. --- Waiting at Mobile Regional Airport Thursday afternoon to head back to Philly. Listening to a guy loudly recount details of his business meeting over his phone. "He didn't seem concerned -- even before dinner, before you know, he'd started drinking..."

What I Learned at the Senior Bowl

West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith is an early Heisman favorite. (Christopher Jackson/AP file photo)
West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith is an early Heisman favorite. (Christopher Jackson/AP file photo)

MOBILE, Ala. --- Waiting at Mobile Regional Airport Thursday afternoon to head back to Philly. Listening to a guy loudly recount details of his business meeting over his phone. "He didn't seem concerned -- even before dinner, before you know, he'd started drinking..."

Yes, I am leaving two days before the game. Many fans don't know this, but Mike Mayock is the only human being who actually watches the Senior Bowl in person. The rest is all CGI.

Scouts, coaches and reporters are here for the practices, which wrap up Thursday after four unforgettable days in a land where, if you want to listen to non-country radio, your options are limited to songs written before 1978, and people railing about Obama.

Here is some of what I learned in Mobile this year:

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1. The Eagles aren't drafting a quarterback fourth overall, unless West Virginia's Geno Smith, who turned down his invite here, absolutely performs legendary feats at the NFL Scouting Combine. Yeah, Malvern Prep's Ryan Nassib is a great story and we're all pulling for the local kid, but fourth overall? In last year's draft class of QBs he's a third-rounder. No thanks. Trade down and draft him? Sure.

2. That Georgia Southern safety I mentioned in the Thursday paper, J.J. Wilcox? Mayock liked him too.

3. Central Michigan offensive tackle Eric Fisher is exactly what Senior Bowl week is for. Showed he could block the SEC guys, now he's probably a Top 10 pick.

4. Denard Robinson, the Michigan QB turning into a wideout, has an awful lot of work to do on route-running, other basics of the position. I'd pass.

5. Trying to find something on the radio, I ran across an outdoors program that reminded me: If I'm hunting from my boat, I can't shoot at anything unless the propeller is stopped. Also, apparently there are lots of hogs in the delta this winter. So I would have guessed wrong on that.

6. The whole offensive tackle draft class apparently is real good. Which is why maybe if the Eagles can't get Luke Joeckel at 4, they should entertain trading down.

7. Dude who pushes the wheelchair passengers at Mobile Regional Airport plays the harmonica while doing so. Swear to God.

8. Rice tight end Vance McDonald was the best player here from a school named after a side dish.

9. THE wideout here was Oregon State's Markus Wheaton. For real. Very strong talent.

10. Every guy over 340 pounds, every year, there are questions about his "motor." Like you're gonna go drag racing with a dump truck. Duh.

11. Who am I to question Bob Dylan, but if I really got stuck here, I don't think I would have the "Memphis blues again." Or even for the first time.

Les Bowen Daily News Staff Writer
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