The Senior Bowl is one of the landmark events of the off season in the National Football League. For the first time, NFL personnel gurus are getting an up close look at the talent available for the upcoming draft. Instead of having to rely on information provided by the various schools attended by these prospective professionals, the scouts are getting measurements all taken by a single source. This will allow teams to accurately compare measurables from players without having to worry about over or under inflated numbers being put forth by various athletic departments.
Scouts from all 32 NFL teams will be in attendance as will most, if not all general managers including Jerry Jones. They will have the opportunity to observe the best of the best seniors from college football being put through practice sessions by NFL coaching staffs. This year the practices will be run by the staffs from Jacksonville and Tennessee. These practice sessions are important because most impact making moments come there rather than on the field during the game itself. Players will see their stock rise or fall based on how they handle themselves over the next few days.
For fans, one of the benefits of an event like this is that the event is also widely covered by the "draft experts". One who falls solidly into the category of expert is Dane Brugler (give him a follow on Twitter @dpbrugler) who is already giving us some early news from Mobile. With Dallas needing to beef up the defensive front, it is likely that several defensive ends will be on the radar for the Cowboys scouts; these guys that Brugler has commented on should figure highly on the list.
Arkansas DE Trey Flowers was only 6-2 (1/4"), but his wingspan was gigantic at 84 (1/4"), easily the best out of the defensive prospects on the roster. Although he isn't an elite speed rusher off the edge, Flowers' ability to cast a wide net with his length is a big reason he's so effective as a run defender.
Missouri DE Markus Golden measured well at 6-2 (1/4") and 255 pounds, but his 31-inch arms were much shorter than expected. The ideal length that scouts look for in defensive linemen is 33-inches or higher so I wouldn't be surprised if Golden stands up and practices at linebacker this week. Regardless of the measureables, he is a well-rounded player who loves to compete
UCLA DE Owa Odighizuwa appeared better suited for a bodybuilder competition with his shredded body type and head-to-toe muscle definition. He measured 6-3 (1/2") and 266 pounds with huge hands (11 1/8") and ideal length (33 1/8"). Odighizuwa was definitely one of the "winners" of the South squad during weigh-ins.
There will be others that we will hear about as the week progresses. For now the best news is that the Cowboys front office is out looking at opportunities to make next season's edition of the squad better than the group that finished the season at 12-4 and advanced two rounds into the playoffs. Like everything with the team, this is an ongoing process. The NFL's silly season gets in to full swing with the Senior Bowl and the staff here at Blogging The Boys will be around to keep you informed every step of the way.