MOBILE, Ala. – When the prospect hears his name called, he makes the slow walk from behind the curtain to the middle of the stage.
There stands a black backdrop with a Senior Bowl official waiting. The prospect is dressed in nothing but black Under Armour spandex shorts. He faces a room of hundreds in attendance – scouts, GMs, coaches, personnel people, media, etc. The official makes sure the prospect stands up straight, but doesn’t tilt his head up.
“6-0-0-5,” he announces.
Measurements are taken to the eighth-of-an-inch. This particular prospect is 6-0 5/8.
Once the height is announced, the prospect heads over a few feet to a second official at the scale. He stands with his back to the crowd now, waits for the three beeps and then steps off.
“Two twenty-nine,” announces the official. “That’s two-two-nine.”
Those in attendance scribble down the numbers as the prospect walks off the stage, and the next name is announced shortly thereafter.
Welcome to the Senior Bowl weigh-in.
The kickoff event to this week took place at the Mobile Convention Center Monday morning and lasted about 90 minutes as 110 prospects got up on stage. Here are some notes, along with what you can expect this week:
* I sat with Jimmy Kempski of Philly.com and Tommy Lawlor of Iggles Blitz, two Senior Bowl veterans. We had trouble finding three seats together, but saw there were some openings up front and sat down. Shortly thereafter, we noticed everyone had yellow credentials while ours were orange. In other words, I’m pretty sure we were accidentally sitting in an area meant for NFL personnel people, not lowly bloggers. Luckily, no one noticed and we didn’t get kicked out.
* In the next few days, we’ll hopefully catch up with Howie Roseman, prospects and others down here. There are some specific guys I’m keeping an eye on. Outside linebacker/defensive end Trent Murphy passes a couple of Chip Kelly tests. Number one, he’s a big person, measuring it at 6-5 3/8 and 252 pounds. Murphy also has massive hands (10 7/8 inches). And he played his college ball in the Pac-12 at Stanford. Murphy had 15 sacks in 2013 and 23.5 tackles for loss. He is expected to be a first- or second-round pick. This week, he is listed as a defensive end, but Murphy played outside linebacker in college.
* One of the biggest guys here is Minnesota defensive lineman Ra’Shede Hageman. He measured in at 6-6, 318 pounds. The Eagles will look to add depth and competition on the defensive line, and Hageman is considered one of the most explosive athletes at that spot. Overheard from a scout after Hageman weighed in: “He’s huge, he’s strong. We need one of them.”
* There is only one Oregon player participating this week: wide receiver Josh Huff. He’s not especially tall (5-11), but is solid at 201 pounds.
* I don’t know why they make the kickers and punters participate in the weigh-ins. Those poor guys have to go up there in their skivvies in between jacked safeties and 300-pound linemen.
* Speaking of 300-pound linemen, overheard after Miami offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson (6-6 7/8, 331) weighed in: “He don’t buy his shirts off the rack.”
* Chris Davis of Auburn is on the South roster. As soon as his name was announced, I of course thought of his return against Alabama. It’s amazing how about 13 seconds can change someone’s life like that. Hopefully Davis goes on to make great contributions to society, but it’s likely that the general public will always remember him for that one return for the rest of his life.
* Here’s what the chart looked like for the players on the North team:
Let it never be said that my job lacks excitement.
Much more later and throughout the next few days.