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Senior Bowl Caveat

The ratings are about to be turned upside down by Kiper and the gang, with the Senior Bowl winding down. Keep these things in mind, especially if you watched the game:

1. The practices Monday through Wednesday are considered much more important than the game. Most of the scouts were gone by Thursday noon, so use the early week reports to adjust your rankings;

2. Many organizations take the attitude that these events can only help players. Somebody who does poorly will have his career placed about a bad Senior Bowl afternoon;

3. Be careful not to drastically overvalue a good game or practice week. I heard Mel Kiper on ESPNews before the game. He mentioned the strong week Dominique Byrd had and how he might be a late 1st rounder now.

Pure hype. Byrd performed well and helped himself, but he was considered a third to fourth rounder before. He might be a second rounder now. The thought that a week will overshadow years of college play is crazy. But this type of thinking is what propels guys like Mike Mamula or David Rivers wind up in the top ten.

Back to Byrd. He's playing at a position that generally drops. And he still won't be the top rated TE. What's more, ranking is a zero-sum game; for every Byrd who crashes the top round, somebody ranked as a first rounder had to drop. We won't see 50 players taken it the first round, so which blue chipper is Mel willing to boot into round two?

That's whyI believe Gabe Watson's week will help him, but only a little bit. He has two years of play on/play off performance. He's in a drive for his first contract. Is your organization willing to value three days in Mobile over two years at Michigan? And if you do so and take Watson in round one, can you be sure he won't revert to his old habits once his huge bonus is in the bank?

My guess is most teams will say no to that last question. He'll likely go in round two, because he's got real talent, but I can't see him moving up unless an organization convinces itself he's it.

And that does happen. Drafting is a lot like falling in love. Some organizations develop mad crushes and act impulsively. They are usually the ones, far more often than not, who get burned.

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