We're in Day 2 of the Super Bowl, which includes on-the-field availability with every player on the two teams, and usually brings some interesting questions from the media. It should be an interesting day, and I'll have reports from both camps after the interview sessions are over.
However, here's some stuff to chew on while the interview sessions are going on.
I caught up with Rob Rang from nfldraftscout.com last night and got his assessment on some of the players who performed well at the Senior Bowl last week. As always, Rang offered a treasure trove of information on these athletes.
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Rang said the Seahawks were out in force during the week, including Jim Mora and the rest of his coaching staff, along with Seattle team president Tim Ruskell, vice president of player personnel Ruston Webster and the rest of the scouting department. Rang said Seattle probably had the biggest contingent of people at the game from any team, and noted that traditionally the New England Patriots bring a lot of staff members to the Super Bowl, even though they rarely have a high draft pick.
Rang also said not to take too much from the game itself. Not to discount how guys play during the game, Rang said, but most scouts get what they need to see during the practice drills during the week, and a guy's playing time could vary based on the rotations coaches set and trying to get guys in the game.
Here's some of the guys we talked about.
David Veikune, DE, Hawaii, 6-2, 255: Rang said the small, but speedy defensive lineman helped himself by showing good speed of the edge during practice drills, particularly against projected Top-10 pick Michael Oher of Mississippi. Veikune's performance may have moved him up to the first day of the draft.
Darius Butler, CB, Connecticut, 5-10, 185: Rang said Butler is really athletic and performed very well at the Senior Bowl, catching the eyes of several scouts there. Even more impressive, Butler missed four games at the end of the season with a sprained knee, but risked coming back early from the injury to compete in the Super Bowl. Butler is a four-year starter for the Huskies and a good character kid. He could be a late first, early second-round pick.
Brian Robiskie, WR, Ohio State, 6-3, 207 : Rang compared Robiskie to current Seahawks tight end John Carlson's situation last year, in that Robiskie isn't an elite athlete like Michael Crabtree, but he's a very polished route runner who could come in and contribute early in his career. Robiskie also is the son of NFL coach Terry Robiskie, and at 6-foot-3, would give Seattle a big target on the outside. Rang said could provide excellent value in the second or third round.
B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College, 6-1, 330: Rang said he was dominant during practice drills and described Raji as having "phone booth quickness." Raji has the ability to create havoc on the guards and center inside, but Rang said the dilemma for Seattle is he might be too much like Brandon Mebane, and doesn't possess the speed to pursue from tackle to tackle like a 3-technique guys should, like Tampa Bay's Warren Sapp.
Michael Oher, OT, Mississippi, 6-5, 309: Rang said he was challenged during the week, particularly by Tennessee's Robert Ayers and Hawaii's Veikune, and responded to the challenge by playing with toughness. However, Rang said there's still some lingering questions about his mental toughness and social skills which may send Oher down the draft board.
Coye Francies, CB, San Jose State, 6-1, 190: I was particularly impressed with Francies and the fluid way he moved breaking to the ball for a bigger guy. Rang agreed, and said Francies is talented. However, Seattle is unlikely to select him because of his background. Specifically, the incident that happened at that caused him to leave Oregon State, where Francies was arrested for having a loaded weapon, although the charges were later dropped. Oregon State head coach Mike Riley has vouched for him as a good character guy.
Other players Rang mentioned having a solid week include USC linebacker Clay Matthews Jr., who Rang said went from walking on at USC where his father and uncle played and built himself into a possible first-round draft choice. Rang also was impressed with Oregon offensive lineman Max Unger and safety Patrick Chung. Washington State receiver Brandon Gibson also had a good week before sustaining a hamstring injury midweek. Rang said Gibson did a nice job of creating separation out of his breaks, although he did drop a few balls during the week.
Another player to look for is Liberty running back Rashard Jennings. A transfer from Pittsburgh, Jennings is big (6-1, 235 pounds) and smart (a double major in business and sports marketing). Rang said he catches the ball well out of the backfield and blocks well.