Category Archives: Senior Bowl – NFL talent scouts

BREAKING OUT OF SHADOWS: Jimmy Garoppolo wants the opportunity to live up to Tony Romo comparisons

BREAKING OUT OF SHADOWS - Eastern Illinois QB Jimmy Garoppolo wants the opportunity to live up to Tony Romo comparisons - 2014 2015 NFL DRAFT 2014 2015

IRVING, Texas – The comparisons will follow Jimmy Garoppolo everywhere he goes.

They started at Eastern Illinois and will undeniably continue when he gets selected in the 2014 NFL Draft out of his specific college and at his specific position. But he’s not bothered when people link or associate him with Tony Romo.

“He set the standard,” Garoppolo said. “It’s up to us and the Eastern quarterbacks and all of the guys who go through there to live to that standard, really. That’s what I tried to do when I was there. There’s a benchmark set.”

Garoppolo doesn’t shy away from that challenge. He accepts, embraces and basks in it. He wants those expectations placed upon him and doesn’t find them unfair.

“I want to live up to that. I want to surpass that, really,” Garoppolo said. “Every quarterback should have that mindset. You want to be the best. You want to go win Super Bowls.”

He’s got to get drafted before he can do any of that, and he’s putting himself in the best position to do so by being as visible as he can to as many eyes as possible. Garoppolo played in the East-West Shrine Game on Jan. 18, where he was named the Most Outstanding Offensive Player, going 9-for-14 with 100 yards and a touchdown in limited action before heading over to Mobile, Ala., for Senior Bowl practices the following week.

BREAKING OUT OF SHADOWS - Eastern Illinois QB Jimmy Garoppolo wants the opportunity to live up to Tony Romo comparisons

The most important part of that Senior Bowl week might have been the practice time, where he worked with NFL coaches (Watch short video) and fielded questions from most teams, scouts and media members. Inevitably, some involved Romo.

Garoppolo won the Walter Payton Award in 2013 after throwing for 5,050 yards and 53 touchdowns and left college with 13,156 passing yards and 118 passing touchdowns in his career. The only other player to win the esteemed award from Eastern Illinois? That would be Romo, who finished his career as the school and conference all-time leader with 85 touchdown passes.

But most of the previous school passing records, once held mostly by Romo and current Saints head coach Sean Payton, now belong to Garoppolo, who set a school record with seven touchdown passes in a win against Illinois State in 2013.

“The surprising thing is Coach Payton actually had more records than Tony Romo, so a lot of people don’t know that, but yeah, a little fun fact for you,” said Garoppolo, who still respects Romo and what the Cowboys’ quarterback’s done for the school tremendously.

He said he’s been asked about a million questions about Romo throughout his career, particularly toward the end when the NFL became more and more of a likelihood, and he continues to answer those questions similarly.

“At first it was pretty cool, now I just kind of expect it,” Garoppolo said. “It’s fun. It’s a great comparison. He’s a very successful NFL quarterback, and that’s what I’m trying to be, so it’s nice to have that kind of comparison.

“The quarterback tradition at Eastern is very well known. I’m just trying to keep it going really and take it to the next level.”

Garoppolo’s all for putting Eastern Illinois on the map, which his famous quarterback predecessors did before and he’s doing now.

“All the publicity Eastern can get – we’re in the middle of Illinois, not too much people live there – it’s nice to get that little extra publicity,” Garoppolo said. “Every little bit counts. It’s a good stepping stone for Eastern, really.”

Before Garoppolo can get anywhere near the level of a Payton or a Romo, though, he’s got a long road ahead to prove himself as an NFL quarterback. He said he’s got to get used to the NFL footwork – the three, five and seven step drops – considering his offense in college didn’t ask much of that from him. He said Eastern Illinois ran the Baylor offense with a focus on fast tempo.

Garoppolo’s open to starting immediately or waiting and getting tutored, depending on when he gets picked. Regardless of when he starts, he knows what he can provide for his future team.

“They’re getting a very passionate, hard-working quarterback – some guy who’s going to be the CEO of the company and lead by example,” Garoppolo said. “The quarterback’s always asked to set the example on and off the field, and I think I do a good job of that.”

He’s been all over the place since his record senior season ended, but he said it was an easy decision to go to the Senior Bowl and not pass that opportunity up. He wants to face the best players and get compared to the best players around him, just as he has with the star quarterbacks who previously attended his school.

Don’t expect a breather for Garoppolo any time soon as he prepares for the biggest year of his life.

“I don’t think I’m going to get one,” Garoppolo said. “After this, I’m going to go back to LA and start training again for the Combine and then the Combine comes and Pro Day comes. It’s a process, but I knew what I was getting into and I’m having fun with it.”


Keep up-to-date with the Dallas Cowboys Draft picks and NFL Draft Prospects right here, on The Boys Are Back website!

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ROAD TO THE 2014 NFL DRAFT: NFL Senior Bowl 2014 recap | Ten players that shined in Mobile, AL

ROAD TO THE 2014 NFL DRAFT - Senior Bowl 2014 Calendar and Schedule

Bryan Broaddus, the official The Boys Are Back draft scout takes a look at 10 Players that Shined in the NFL Senior Bowl:

  • Aaron Donald/DT/Pitt

      Broaddus: Not many teams will like his lack of height but there is no questioning how he played this week. He was the most disruptive player for either squad. His film and work here gives him a nice platform into the Combine.

      Official The Boys Are Back ranking: #21 overall | Position rank #2 | Projected Round 1

      • Zach Martin/OT/Notre Dame

          Broaddus: Didn’t matter who he was facing, he was up to the task. Played left tackle but also took reps at guard where he was just as good. Plays with power and mobility.

          Official The Boys Are Back ranking: #12 overall | Position rank #4 | Projected Round 1

          • Josh Huff/WR/Oregon

              Broaddus: Love how this player physically looks. He carries himself well. Knows he is a good player and plays like it. Was always at the side of Falcons receivers coach Terry Robiskie after every play. Can tell this game matters to him.

              Official The Boys Are Back ranking: #108 overall | Position rank #16 | Projected Round 3-4

              • Derek Carr/QB/Fresno State

                  Broaddus: Physically is a good looking player. Was clearly better than any of the quarterbacks at this game. Has a command and presence while he is leading the team. Can make all the throws, quick with the ball and accurate.

                  Official The Boys Are Back ranking: #29 overall | Position rank #4 | Projected Round 1-2

                  • Jared Abbrederis/WR/Wisconsin

                      Broaddus: This guy catches everything thrown his way. Has deceptive speed and quickness with the ability to separate. Makes plays all over the field. Not afraid to catch the ball in traffic, love his toughness.

                      Official The Boys Are Back ranking: #96 overall | Position rank #14 | Projected Round 3

                      • Dee Ford/DE/Auburn

                          Broaddus: I really do like this player a great deal but I do worry about his lacks of bulk. He measured in weighing 243 pounds but he has those types of traits that these defensive coaches are looking for with his ability to go get the ball.

                          Official The Boys Are Back ranking: #18 overall | Position rank #3 | Projected Round 1

                          • Stanley Jean-Baptiste/CB/Nebraska

                              Broaddus: It was a game with nice sized corners and he was one of the biggest at near 6-3. Really thought he did a much better job when he could play press coverage than zone. Was able to move with and handle these receivers. Made plays on ball.

                              Official The Boys Are Back ranking: #86 overall | Position rank #11 | Projected Round 3

                              • Jordan Matthews/WR/Vanderbilt

                                  Broaddus: Doesn’t have the best speed or quickness off the ball but finds ways to get open. Very consistent in his route running and even better hands. Plays with some nastiness as a blocker. Is always going to be prepared as a player. Receivers coach told me that you can play him inside or out and it doesn’t matter.

                                  Official The Boys Are Back ranking: #49 overall | Position rank #8 | Projected Round 2

                                  • Jack Mewhort/OT/Ohio State

                                      Broaddus: There was a reason why that the rushers on the North squad didn’t have the most productive practices this week because of Zack Martin and Jack Mewhort. Showed nice balance and base. Plays with power. Can get movement. Not a slow footed blocker at all. Helped himself each day with work.

                                      Official The Boys Are Back ranking: #61 overall | Position rank #8 | Projected Round 2

                                      • Michael Sam/DE/Missouri

                                        • Broaddus: I honestly don’t know where you play him but you need to find a place for him. He is not a linebacker which they tried him at this week during these practices. He is a put his hand on the ground get after the passer. Not athletic enough to drop but when he rushes, he is hard to block. Might be the defense’s version on a 3rd down receiver. Relentless.

                                          Official The Boys Are Back ranking: #90 overall | Position rank #9 | Projected Round 3


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                                          ROAD TO THE 2014 NFL DRAFT: Senior Bowl 2014 | NFL Draft Prospects showcased in today’s game on NFL Network

                                          ROAD TO THE 2014 NFL DRAFT - Senior Bowl 2014 Calendar and Schedule

                                          Future stars of the NFL will hit the field in Mobile, Ala. for the 2014 Reese’s Senior Bowl at 3:00 this afternoon. Check out the pro football talent scouted by the Cowboys and imagine how some of these young men might fit on the Dallas Cowboys 2014-2015 roster.

                                          Last year’s Senior Bowl class produced a whopping 10 first-rounders, three top-five selections and the No. 1 overall pick.

                                          1. Injuries forced many top prospects to pass on the Senior Bowl: Top talents like Michigan OT Taylor Lewan and UCLA LB Anthony Barr were among the 19 invited players that weren’t healthy enough to participate.

                                          2. Nine invited prospects made a “business” decision to stay at home: Alabama QB AJ McCarron made headlines prior to the week when he announced he would pass on the Senior Bowl opportunity on the advice of his agent. He wasn’t the only player to make that choice. Top prospects C.J. Mosley and Khalil Mack were among the other healthy prospects that elected to pass on the Senior Bowl experience.

                                          3. The upcoming draft will feature a record number of underclassmen: This Senior Bowl crop will be competing for draft positioning with one of the most talented underclassmen groups we’ve seen in a few years.

                                          Potential first-rounders

                                          While there likely won’t be any top-10 picks to emerge from this year’s game, don’t be surprised if six players hear their name called in the first round of the upcoming 2014 NFL Draft.

                                          Notre Dame offensive lineman Zack Martin (70) - 2014 Senior Bowl - NFL Draft 2014

                                          1. Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame #70): He was outstanding all week long. He has enough athleticism to play tackle, but he has Pro Bowl potential as a guard.

                                          2. Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh: His combination of quickness and power was a matchup nightmare for opposing offensive lineman. He doesn’t have ideal size, but he held up well in the team and run periods.

                                          3. Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia: He has ideal size and quick feet. He’s not a great knee bender, but he held up well in 1-on-1 pass-rush drills. He creates a lot of space in the run game.

                                          4. Ra’Shede Hagemen, DT, Minnesota: He had an up-and-down week, but he flashed enough to keep his name in the first-round conversation. He’s a size/speed freak with a huge upside.

                                          5. Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State: He was the best quarterback in Mobile, and teams that met with him really like what they heard. He has a big arm and he was accurate throughout the week.

                                          6. Dee Ford, DE, Auburn: He was the most explosive edge rusher throughout the week. Most teams I’ve spoken with have him rated as a second-round prospect, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he snuck into the bottom of the first round because of his pass-rush skills.

                                          Odds and ends

                                          Best position group: Offensive line

                                          Worst position group: Running back

                                          Stock on the rise: Weston Richburg, C, Colorado State

                                          Stock on the decline: Cyril Richardson, OG, Baylor

                                          Wildcard player: Seantrel Henderson, OT, Miami

                                          Three to imagine in a Dallas Cowboys jersey

                                          The Reese’s Senior Bowl is regarded as the crown jewel of the college all-star season, with elite prospects dotting the rosters at every position. Given the importance scouts place on the performance of players in highly competitive matchups, the practice week and game tape provide the answers to many of the questions evaluators have about the top prospects in the 2014 class. With that in mind, here are three guys with a lot riding on their performance this weekend:

                                          Ra'Shede Hageman - DT - Minnesota - 2014 Senior Bowl 2014 - 2014 NFL Draft 2014

                                          Ra’Shede Hageman, DT, #99 Minnesota (photo above)

                                          It’s hard to find a talented interior defender blessed with Hageman’s size and athletic gifts. Measuring 6-foot-6, 311 pounds, Hageman glides across the field like a gazelle, yet flashes explosive strength and power at the point of attack. While scouts are certainly fascinated by his physical tools and unlimited potential, Hageman’s marginal production and inconsistent motor keep him from rating as an elite prospect at the point. Now, Hageman has changed the perception of his game by dominating the competition in practice this week, but scouts need to see him take it to another level when the lights come on to solidify his standing as a mid-to-late first-round selection.

                                          Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB, Nebraska

                                          The league is trending toward bigger corners on the perimeter after watching the Seattle Seahawks make their way to Super Bowl XLVIII behind a physically imposing secondary that features long, rangy athletes on the outside. Jean-Baptiste is a former wide receiver turned cornerback with impressive physical dimensions (6-3, 220) and ball skills. He has been the top cornerback in attendance, displaying a refined game that is ideally suited to play in a scheme that features press-man coverage extensively. Although Jean-Baptiste has made a strong case to be in the discussion as a borderline Day 1 selection, a spectacular performance in the game could send the Nebraska star flying up the charts.

                                          Dee Ford - DE - Auburn - 2014 Senior Bowl 2014 - 2014 NFL Draft 2014

                                          Dee Ford, DE/OLB, Auburn (photo above)

                                          Scouts pay close attention to players who dominate the practice week at the Senior Bowl. Ford has not only thrashed opponents in drills, he has produced a number of disruptive plays that would qualify as game changers at the next level. Although he flashed that kind of potential occasionally at Auburn, no one expected him to destroy the competition with his speed, burst and athleticism off the edge. In doing so, Ford has convinced several scouts and coaches that his skills translate well to the NFL as a designated pass rusher. If Ford can continue to display the quickness, burst and rush skills in the game that he has shown throughout the week, Ford will be one of the fastest risers up the charts heading into the combine.

                                          Two quarterbacks to watch

                                          Derek Carr - QB - Fresno State - 2014 Senior Bowl 2014 - 2014 NFL Draft 2014

                                          Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State

                                          The NFL scouting community has been buzzing about Carr’s potential as a franchise quarterback since his emergence as a standout playmaker the past two seasons. He has lit up the Mountain West Conference for 9,086 yards and 87 touchdowns against only 15 interceptions. Most impressively, he has displayed a lively arm to match his superb athleticism and improvisational skills. Yet, some scouts still question his poise and composure within a muddied pocket. This was one of his biggest flaws discovered in his 2012 tape (junior season), and it reappeared in a disappointing showing against USC in the Las Vegas Bowl. With another opportunity to show his wares against a squad with NFL-caliber players at every turn, Carr needs to show scouts that he can deliver pinpoint throws with defenders in close proximity. In addition, he must show coaches that he has the poise to work through his progressions to find an open receiver with the pocket crumbling around him. If he can withstand the pressure, while making a few accurate throws downfield, Carr could leave the Senior Bowl rated as the top senior quarterback in the draft.

                                          Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech

                                          There are some scouts who believe Thomas is better suited to play tight end at the next level, but his combination of size and arm talent makes him too enticing to disregard as a quarterback. Thomas has enjoyed an up-and-down week of practice, but his flashes have been impressive enough to keep his name in the mix as a developmental quarterback prospect. With the NFL ushering in a new wave of athletic quarterbacks, Thomas’ performance in the game could significantly impact his chances of getting a legitimate shot to play his preferred position as a pro.

                                          ROAD TO THE 2014 NFL DRAFT: Senior Bowl 2014 | NFC Championship Game should help steer 2014 Dallas Cowboys draft

                                          ROAD TO THE 2014 NFL DRAFT - Senior Bowl 2014 - NFC Championship Game should help steer 2014 Dallas Cowboys draft

                                          Most of the Dallas Cowboys brass arrived in Mobile, Ala. for the 2014 Senior Bowl on Monday.

                                          We’d like to think Jerry Jones and the team’s front-office personnel was watching closely when the 49ers and Seahawks slugged it out for the NFC Championship the night before.

                                          During the game, it was pretty clear what needs to be done in the upcoming draft and even free agency.

                                          Actually, it has been clear to everyone just by watching the Dallas Cowboys 2013 regular season.

                                          This team needs Dee-fense. And plenty of it.

                                          It’s not just because they were the worst in the NFL and worst in team history. Those are reasons enough to go draft defense in the first three to four rounds. This team needs a defensive tackle, a pass-rusher, an outside linebacker and a safety. And a good cornerback wouldn’t hurt either – you can never have too many.

                                          After watching the 49ers and Seahawks it was very clear that the Cowboys have plenty of offense to win a Super Bowl. Sure, there are some natural improvements that need to be made, but that’s with any team.

                                          The direction the offensive line is going is very positive and the running game went from a liability early in the year, to average by the middle of the season to pretty much becoming a team-strength by seasons’ end.

                                          People love what the 49ers and Seahawks did to get young, athletic and cheap (for now) quarterbacks. But they can do that because they’ve got a defense and running game to lean on.

                                          Russell Wilson is a good, young quarterback, but he fell into the perfect situation for him. I don’t think he could go win the game if he was on the Bucs or the Browns or even the Cowboys. Russell Wilson had the No. 1 defense in the NFL on the other side. Imagine if he had the worst.

                                          Ask yourself if you’d rather have Wilson and the Cowboys’ team or Romo and the Seahawks’ team. Do the same with the 49ers and Colin Kaepernick. That one might actually be a little different because there are some fans who wouldn’t mind seeing Kaepernick in Dallas.

                                          Either way, the point is that if those teams can get to the Super Bowl – or really close – with that type of offense, the Dallas Cowboys can do that as well.

                                          Just give them some help on defense.

                                          Those defenses are nasty. The only thing nasty about the Dallas Cowboys defense is the stats and the yards it gives up.

                                          The front four of the 49ers or Seahawks, you’ll see brute strength that seems missing with other squads, particularly this one here in Dallas. You don’t see arms and triceps like you see with those teams and players.

                                          That was a very physical football game and we knew it would be. Jason Pierre-Paul said something about blood being shed in the Cowboys-Giants game back in late November. But that one had nothing on this past battle between the 49ers and Seahawks, which has arguably become the best rival in football right now.

                                          The Cowboys are going to keep all of their defensive assistants. That’s what’s coming out of Mobile this week at the 2014 Senior Bowl.

                                          Monte Kiffin is returning for his second year, at least give him some help. You can draft defense in the first three picks, if not four or five and you’d be OK.

                                          The only exception I could see to that is taking an offensive guard in the first round.  That would be the only position to consider with that 16th or 17th pick. Guards have good value there and you’ve seen the benefits of taking Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick early and really building something from the ground up.

                                          Dallas can get by with Ron Leary and Mackenzy Bernadeau, and maybe Brian Waters if he decides to come back. But you can’t get by with plucking guys off their couch and into the defensive-line rotation.

                                          If Sunday’s game in Seattle showed us anything, it’s that defense really does win championships – at least conference ones. But it also showed this offense is plenty good enough to win.

                                          ROAD TO THE 2014 NFL DRAFT: Senior Bowl 2014 | Checking out defensive linemen is the top priority

                                          ROAD TO THE 2014 NFL DRAFT - Senior Bowl 2014 - Checking out defensive linemen is the top priority

                                          MOBILE, AL — My plan was to follow three defensive linemen on the North squad to try and get a better feel for how they moved around live. The three players that I chose were: Aaron Donald, Ra’Shede Hegaman, and Rasheed Martin.

                                          After the team broke from stretching, I knew I was following the right group because Will McClay was doing the very same thing. My seat was in the press box, while McClay was within four feet of the drills that the Falcons coaches were putting the players through.

                                          It was interesting to see how these players went through the drills. Donald and Martin were the smoothest and moved the best. Hageman was better straight ahead and struggled a little more with the side to side stuff.

                                          When the group went to the one-on-one drills as they worked against the offensive line, all three did a nice job of playing with some power. Donald for his lack of height and bulk, played with outstanding leverage against Cyril Richardson, who can be a load to deal with. Donald didn’t give an inch against Richardson and that was impressive.

                                          Rasheed Martin measured well this morning at 272 pounds and despite his long build, he battled the massive tackle, Seantrel Henderson to a stalemate on several reps. I remember studying these two last week when Miami and North Carolina hooked up during the season, with Henderson getting the best of Martin plenty that day. It was a nice bounce back for Martin with a ton of eyes on him.

                                          There is no doubt that Ra’Shede Hageman looks the part. At 6-6 318 pounds, he is a full grown man. What I was worried about was his ability to get off the ball quick enough. His first few reps were not impressive than the defensive line coach, got on his rear and you saw a different player. He can be a very hard man to block and there were times when Richardson and Brandon Linder really struggled with him.

                                          Like Donald because of Mike Nolan’s scheme, they both saw action playing as the one and the three. Where Hageman did struggle is when he did get up the field and had problems finding the ball. He would make a great move, look to be in position, than the ball would go right by him. Thought he could have shown more awareness there. 

                                          When Mike Smith took his squad to the team period, this is where Donald really shined. His quickness and power were difficult to block. Centers Weston Richburg and Tyler Larsen had a handful to try and slow him down. He played the majority of the day on the offensive line side of the ball. It didn’t matter run or pass, he was in the middle of the action. I thought his technique was spot on the entire day, arm over, rip move, two hand bull, he was on.

                                          Of the three, Aaron Donald looked the most ready to play from the opening snap of practice and I am sure that Will McClay noticed that. His motor was running and he was on a mission. I did like some things that I did see from Ra’Shede Hagaman once the coach got in his face and his intensity picked up. Kareem Martin needs to do a better job of not rushing down the middle when getting after the quarterback, because then he has no shot. Martin is a better player when he can attack the edge and I sure they will point that out tonight in the film sessions.

                                          Overall it was a good start to the week for Ra’Shede Hegaman and Kareem Martin but a great one for Aaron Donald. It will be up to Donald to build on that and he could separate himself from the others because tomorrow morning, we get to all come back to the field and do it again.


                                          SEE FOR YOURSELF – VIDEO:

                                          ROAD TO THE 2014 NFL DRAFT - Senior Bowl 2014 - Checking out defensive linemen is the top priority - Video - Three to Watch

                                          Senior Bowl | Three To Watch | Defensive Line (Watch Video)

                                          Check out three of the top defensive lineman from the North roster during Monday’s Senior Bowl practice in Mobile, Alabama.

                                          ROAD TO THE 2014 NFL DRAFT: Senior Bowl 2014 | What to be looking out for this week

                                          ROAD TO THE 2014 NFL DRAFT - Senior Bowl 2014 Calendar and Schedule

                                          MOBILE, Ala. – With the Dallas Cowboys staff in Mobile for the Reese’s 2014 Senior Bowl, here are some things that us scouts (you) should be looking out for …

                                          Pro Coaches

                                          What I have always loved about the Senior Bowl from a scouting point of view, is how both squads are being coached this week by current NFL coaches. Part of having poor records during the season, Mike Smith from the Atlanta Falcons and Gus Bradley from the Jacksonville Jaguars staffs will lead the North and South squads this week. What is outstanding about this is that you get to observe these players out of their college element and functioning during the practices run by these coaches. 

                                          I was reminded this week from Monte Kiffin how when he was on Jon Gruden’s staff in Tampa and were coaching the game in 2005, when coaches on Bill Parcells staff in Dallas asked if Kiffin a 4-3 coach, could give DeMarcus Ware some reps during the practice at outside linebacker to see if Ware who was a 4-3 end at Troy could stand up and play on the outside. Kiffin had no problem with the request and the Cowboys were able to get a good look at Ware which helped them in their draft evaluation of him.

                                          Outstanding Competition

                                          Of all the college all-star games that are played after the season, the Senior Bowl does the best job of putting these rosters together. Phil Savage the director of that game is a former NFL general manager having worked in Baltimore and Cleveland. Savage and his staff have an outstanding eye for talent and when you go through these rosters, you will see a nice mix of players.

                                          What Savage has done is not only assemble talent from the major conferences around the country, but also he has players from schools like Lindenwood, Saginaw Valley, Eastern Illinois and North Dakota State. It was always interesting to see how the players from these schools work with these coaches and players from the major programs. Keep an eye on players like cornerback Pierre Desir, wide receiver Jeff Janis, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, and offensive tackle Billy Turner. Garoppolo seems to be the player that most draft fans have interest in.

                                          There are always two or three players that might not be on your radar now but by the time this week is over, you will have a pretty clear understanding if these kids can play or not. Scouts will be tracking these players this week to see how they are responding to this experience.  

                                          Defensive Line On Review

                                          This will be a good week, for the scout’s around the league to get a good look at this current group of college defensive linemen. I remember very well this time last year, when defensive end Ziggy Ansah of BYU impressed all those that watched him practice and play in this game. Matter of fact, it was the Lions that were coaching in the game, that ended up drafting him in the 1st round.

                                          Looking at this current group, this is an important week for guys like Will Sutton, Ra’Shede Hageman, Aaron Donald, Marcus Smith, Kareem Martin, Trent Murphy, and DaQuan Jones. What I have learned from these Cowboys defensive coaches is that with the defensive line, it’s all about the quick twitch more so than the overall size. Kiffin told me that it was rare this season to have a guy like Jason Hatcher with his height to play as a one technique in this scheme.

                                          The player that has that Hatcher like size would be Hageman but on tape, I don’t believe that he has that quick twitch that Kiffin would be looking for, but we will see if that might have changed as he goes through this week. Aaron Donald will be measured Monday morning as will Will Sutton, who both would be perfect three techniques. What is interesting about Donald and Sutton is that they both are right at 6 foot tall and that is not a problem for Kiffin, as long as they both have that quick twitch that we have talked about.

                                          Two guys that I will be keeping my eye on in this group, is Marcus Smith and Kareem Martin. When I studied Smith this past week, he is a player that Will McClay (Head of the Dallas Cowboys Pro Scouting Department) and his group will be looking to project him to end from an outside linebacker. I believe that Smith can put his hand down in this scheme and rush the passer plus handle in the edge in the running game. He should get some reps this week rushing the passer in various drills and I am sure that this trait will show.

                                          Martin is a straight defensive end, that has the length and the range to be effective in this Kiffin scheme. He can chase the ball, he gets up the field and he can defeat blockers one-on-one. Trent Murphy is a guy that has a very similar skill set and I would expect people to be talking about his play as the week goes along. 

                                          There will be players in this game that other teams will not want because of their schemes but this Cowboys scouting staff and coaches will covet and how they view these players will be critical.

                                          Courtesy: Bryan Broaddus | Football Analyst/Scout

                                          ROAD TO THE 2014 NFL DRAFT: Senior Bowl 2014 Calendar and Schedule

                                          ROAD TO THE 2014 NFL DRAFT - Senior Bowl week begins today - Senior Bowl 2014 Calendar and Schedule - Senior Bowl logo button

                                          IRVING, Texas – Members of the Dallas Cowboys hit the road Sunday for the 2014 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala.

                                          It’s time to check out some of the best and brightest players from college football’s senior class as they prepare for the 2014 NFL Draft.

                                          Expect detailed notes, features, and videos throughout the week including a wrap-up after each day of practice. We’ll attempt to keep everyone well-informed on players to look at.

                                          Last year, Dallas Cowboys NFL draft picks Terrance Williams, J.J. Wilcox, and B.W. Webb were all members of the South squad at the Senior Bowl. The annual event features a plethora of players who will undoubtedly be selected in the top few rounds of the upcoming draft. It’s where tackle Eric Fisher helped his draft stock, eventually going as the first pick in the draft last year.

                                          With needs across the defense and particularly on the defensive line, defensive tackles such as Minnesota’s Ra’Shede Hageman, Pittsburgh’s Aaron Donald, Arizona State’s Will Sutton, and Penn State’s DaQuan Jones will all be players Dallas Cowboys fans should take note of.

                                          Outside pass rushers such as Auburn’s Dee Ford, North Carolina’s Kareem Martin, and Arkansas’ Chris Smith will also garner a lot of attention, in addition to the quarterback class which features Fresno State’s Derek Carr, Clemson’s Tajh Boyd, and San Jose State’s David Fales, among other notable players.

                                          There are sure to be more surprises in store and players that jump off the field and catch scouts eyes, as we cover the Senior Bowl action through Thursday.

                                          The full schedule for the week of the 2014 Senior Bowl, which culminates in the game Saturday, Jan. 25, can be found here and below. Players weigh-in is followed by the North and South team practices. The teams will practice through Monday – Thursday before getting ready for the game with a walkthrough Friday.


                                          2014 Senior Bowl calendar and schedule

                                          ROAD TO THE 2014 NFL DRAFT - Senior Bowl 2014 Calendar and Schedule

                                          Monday, January 20

                                          8:30am-10:00am Weigh-In Mobile Convention Center
                                          Exhibit Hall
                                          INFORMAL INTERVIEWS AVAILABLE OUTSIDE EXHIBIT HALL AFTER EACH PLAYERS’ WEIGH-IN PROCESS IS COMPLETED
                                          1:00pm-3:00pm South Team Practice Fairhope Stadium
                                          INTERVIEWS AFTER PRACTICE ON FIELD
                                          3:00pm-5:00pm North Team Practice Ladd-Peebles Stadium
                                          INTERVIEWS AFTER PRACTICE ON FIELD
                                          6:30pm-8:00pm Player/Media Night Battleship USS Alabama
                                          MEDIA EATS AT 6PM
                                          7:30pm-8:30pm FCA Coaches Fellowship Renaissance Riverview Plaza
                                          Mobile Bay II
                                          8:30pm-11:00pm NFL Club/Player Interviews Renaissance Riverview Plaza
                                          First floor meeting rooms
                                               

                                          Tuesday, January 21

                                          9:30am-11:30am North Team Practice Ladd-Peebles Stadium
                                          INTERVIEWS AFTER PRACTICE ON FIELD
                                          1:30pm- 3:30pm South Team Practice Ladd-Peebles Stadium
                                          INTERVIEWS AFTER PRACTICE ON FIELD
                                          5:00pm News Conference
                                          COACHES/SELECTED PLAYER
                                          Renaissance Riverview Plaza
                                          Mobile Bay II
                                          6:30pm-8:00pm AT&T Seafood Jubilee Mobile Convention Center
                                          MEDIA INVITED
                                          7:30pm-8:00pm FCA Coaches Fellowship Renaissance Riverview Plaza
                                          Mobile Bay II
                                          8:30pm-11:00pm NFL Club/Player Interviews Renaissance Riverview Plaza
                                          First floor meeting rooms
                                               

                                          Wednesday, January 22

                                          9:30am-11:30am North Team Practice Ladd-Peebles Stadium
                                          INTERVIEWS AFTER PRACTICE ON FIELD
                                          11:30am-1:30am PNC Bank Senior Boil Ladd-Peebles Stadium
                                          Corporate Tent Village
                                          1:30pm-3:30pm South Team Practice Ladd-Peebles Stadium
                                          INTERVIEWS AFTER PRACTICE ON FIELD
                                          5:00pm News Conference
                                          COACHES/SELECTED PLAYER
                                          Renaissance Riverview Plaza
                                          Mobile Bay II
                                          6:30pm-8:00pm FCA Rally
                                          Mobile Convention Center
                                          8:30pm-11:00pm NFL Club/Player Interviews Renaissance Riverview Plaza
                                          First floor meeting rooms
                                               

                                          Thursday, January 23

                                          9:00am-11:00am Community Service Project Selected Schools/Hospitals
                                          WILL ALERT MEDIA TO LOCATIONS FOR PHOTO/STORY OPPORTUNITIES
                                          2:30pm-4:30pm North Team Practice Fairhope Stadium
                                          2:30pm-4:30pm South Team Practice Ladd-Peebles Stadium
                                          INTERVIEWS AFTER PRACTICE ON FIELD
                                          6:30pm-8:30pm Player Banquet BattleHouse Renaissance Hotel
                                               

                                          Friday, January 24

                                          10:30am- 11:30am North/South Team Walk Through Mobile Convention Center
                                          COACHES HAVE OPTION TO CLOSE/CHECK DURING WEEK
                                          3:00pm-7:00pm Coca-Cola Meet The Players Mobile Convention Center
                                          INTERVIEWS/TV LIVE SHOTS MAY BE CONDUCTED AS PLAYERS SIGN
                                          3:00pm-7:00pm al.com/Press-Register
                                          Reese’s Senior Bowl Experience
                                          Mobile Convention Center
                                               

                                          Saturday, January 25

                                          10:00am-1:00pm Baumhower’s Restaurant
                                          Tailgate Challenge
                                          Stadium Parking Lot
                                          11:00am-2:00pm Food For Less Tailgate Party
                                          MUST HAVE PASS TO ENTER
                                          East Parking Lot
                                          Ladd-Peebles Stadium
                                          1:00pm Stadium Gates Open Ladd-Peebles Stadium
                                            IBERIABANK Corporate Tent
                                          Village opens
                                           
                                            PRESS BOX OPENS  
                                          2:30pm Pre-Game Show Begins Ladd-Peebles Stadium
                                          3:00pm Kickoff Senior Bowl 2014 Ladd-Peebles Stadium
                                          Post Game Postgame interviews Under West stands near lobby entrance (approx. 50yd line)

                                          BUTTON - NFL Draft Prospects - The Boys Are Back website

                                          DALLAS COWBOYS COACHES ROSTER: Jerry Jones moving forward with both coordinators in 2014 | Jason Garrett focusing on filling empty coaching staff positions

                                          DALLAS COWBOYS COACHES ROSTER - Jerry Jones moving forward with both coordinators in 2014 - Monte Kiffin and Bill Callahan remaining as Dallas Cowboys coordinators

                                          MOBILE, Ala. – The Dallas Cowboys coaching staff roaming the sidelines at the Senior Bowl will look familiar.

                                          Team owner/general manager Jerry Jones said nothing has changed with his coordinators and “there’s nothing there at all” regarding potential changes. He added that he plans on all the coaches still under contract staying aboard.

                                          “The status of it is nothing,” Jones said. “The status is the contracts that are there, everybody’s here. That’s the way you ought to read it, not anticipate anything. I wouldn’t anticipate a thing.”

                                          Jones stuck by Jason Garrett throughout the 2013 season and even after the end of a third straight 8-8 season, but the Cowboys’ head coach is entering the final year of his contract and it doesn’t appear that deal will be extended hastily. Jones said he hasn’t had any thought about that at this point in the year.

                                          “I don’t pay any attention to lame duck status, what you call lame duck status,” Jones said. “I don’t have that term, because I don’t know that there’s such a thing. We’ve got huge, a lifetime, of work ahead of us over the next few weeks. To even consider that needs anything more than an agreement to do this year is not a big thing to me. It’s just too much takeaway from what we’re trying to do right now, which is just get cranked up for 2014.”

                                          Then again, that doesn’t mean he’s lost belief in his head coach or that the pay day won’t come. He said he wants to be there when it does happen.

                                          He gave, and has continued to give, Garrett multiple years to develop his system and get it in place. The same may be going for his coordinators with another year to make adjustments.

                                          “I had a guy tell me one time how to be successful, that no human can be right over 50 percent of the time on any decision, but it’s the ones that cut their bad ones off quick and let their good ones run long (that work out),” Jones said. “That’s hard to do. That’s hard to accept quickly to cut a bad decision off quick.

                                          “We all know the adage of the gold miner that walked away and the other one that took one more swing and hit the pick and found the gold stream. So, you don’t want to quit. It’s easier said than done to let your mistakes go short and your good decisions long.”

                                          It’s getting close to decision time with many veteran Cowboys players and staff members. Most of the focus this offseason has centered on defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin and offensive coordinator Bill Callahan, who don’t appear to be going anywhere.

                                          Jones said he doesn’t have to convince people on staff that it’s a good decision to keep Kiffin. He only had to convince “the man in the mirror.”

                                          “Did we discuss and get input on a lot of things? Absolutely,” Jones said. “But what we did not do is have a big debate or management session regarding Monte Kiffin. We didn’t do that. That decision was made last year.

                                          “When you look at the fundamentals of a Monte Kiffin and you look at the fundamentals of his work and you look at what he is and you look at the fact that you decided scheme wise that you liked that competing in the NFL today, then that weighs you from cutting that short. The answer is I didn’t want to cut it short over on defense and some of the same principles are true with cutting it short on Jason, on going on when I talk about I want to be here for the pay day, and this is pay day time for Jason.”

                                          Everything appears to be status quo regarding the coaches still under contract in Dallas, from the head coach down to the assistants.

                                          At some point this offseason, the focus will begin to turn to the contracts of players. But Jones said the team isn’t working on any restructures yet and it’s too early at this point in the year to focus on that. 


                                          RELATED: Jason Garrett focusing on filling empty staff positions

                                          DALLAS COWBOYS COACHES ROSTER - Jerry Jones moving forward with both coordinators in 2014 - Jason Garrett focusing on filling empty coaching staff positions

                                          MOBILE, Ala. – The Dallas Cowboys coaching situation seems to be clearer.

                                          Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett spoke about the job security of Bill Callahan and Monte Kiffin today, just one day after team owner/general manager Jerry Jones affirmed that the offensive and defensive coordinator were still under contract for 2014.

                                          Garrett, who is beginning his fourth year as head coach, reiterated Jones’ stance from Monday afternoon, though he added that staff evaluations are still ongoing following the 2013 season.

                                          “Like he said, those guys are under contract. We’re always trying to figure out ways to do better, and that starts with us as a coaching staff,” Garrett said. “We’ll keep looking at what everyone’s roles are and how everything settles down.”

                                          Whether or not those roles would change going forward, though, Garrett declined to say. There has been some (media) speculation that Kiffin and Callahan’s positions could change despite remaining with the Cowboys, but Garrett did not add to it.

                                          “Those guys are under contract, and we feel good about that,” he said. “We’re always going to try to do things that are in the best interest of our football team, so we’ll keep looking at how we can be better as a staff and what roles everybody is in and what we’re asking them to do. But those guys are really good football coaches.”

                                          Instead, Garrett said the current focus was on filling the empty positions on his staff. The Cowboys lost tight ends coach Wes Phillips to the Redskins last week, and they parted ways with assistant special teams coach Chris Boniol after the season.

                                          “We do have some coaches who are out of contract, and we’re trying to get those things settled,” he said. “We’re just in the process of those conversations right now.”

                                          Reports indicated earlier in the week that the Cowboys would replace Boniol with Carlos Polk, who served as an intern under special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia last season. Polk, who also worked with Bisaccia on the Chargers’ coaching staff, confirmed Tuesday that looks to be the case – though his contract isn’t finalized.

                                          “It has not been finalized, but he’s someone who really was a good addition to our team this year. Bisaccia has some history with him in San Diego, and he really came in and played a very prominent role for us on that special teams unit,” Garrett said.

                                          Former Giants tight ends coach Mike Pope has also come up as a potential replacement for Phillips. Pope coached in New York for 23 seasons and was a member of all four of the team’s Super Bowl staffs before the Giants fired him last week.

                                          Pope was coaching in New York when Garrett was a quarterback with the Giants from 2000-03, providing a logical connection.

                                          “There are a number of guys that we’ve talked about in that situation. Mike is a good friend of mine and obviously a very good coach,” Garrett said.

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