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Friday, January 25, 2013
Bulldogs well represented at Senior Bowl

By David Ching

ATHENS, Ga. -- No school is better represented this week at the Senior Bowl than Georgia, which sent six players to Mobile, Ala., to participate in college football’s premier postseason all-star game Saturday.

In addition to serving as a high-profile job interview for an assortment of NFL scouts, general managers, coaches and other personnel reps, this week’s Senior Bowl practices are also a mini-reunion for the six Bulldogs in Mobile who scattered throughout the country to prepare for the draft.

“We have a great group of seniors that worked really hard,” safety Bacarri Rambo told RecruitingNation’s Alex Scarborough this week. “All of us deserve it. We did a lot for the program and the program did a lot for us. We just want to represent the team well and the program very well.

“I’m happy to see my guys. I hadn’t seen them since we left the bowl game. It just feels good to sit down and catch up with them.”

Joining Rambo at the Senior Bowl are nose guard John Jenkins, defensive end Cornelius Washington, receiver Tavarres King and fellow defensive backs Shawn Williams and Sanders Commings.

Jenkins -- who weighed in at 359 pounds Monday -- seems to have the best draft prospects of the bunch, with ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. projecting him as a first-round pick in a mock draft last week. Jenkins, the No. 16 draft prospect according to ESPN Scouts Inc. and the No. 20 prospect on Kiper’s “Big Board,” came to Mobile to solidify that standing among NFL player personnel.

“I do question [players who choose not to compete in all-star games],” Jenkins said. “Let’s be honest, we’re in front of a lot of people -- head coaches, GMs, owners. So why not come here and showcase your talent? If there’s a question for you, or any question about you, then come out here and prove people wrong. That’s why I’m here.”

Jenkins and Washington both garnered praise this week from ESPN analyst Todd McShay, who also observed that Commings is better suited to play safety in the NFL than cornerback, which he played for most of his college career. But he certainly seems suited to play safety, as Kiper ranks all three UGA defensive backs at the Senior Bowl among his top five senior prospects at the position.

He ranked Williams second behind only Texas’ Kenny Vaccaro, with Rambo fourth and Commings fifth. Scouts Inc. ranks all three among the top 100 prospects in the draft, with Williams at No. 54, Rambo at No. 91 and Commings at No. 94.

“We came out here and show our talents and answer the scouts’ questions they have about our talent,” Rambo said. “I feel like everybody should have come out if they had an opportunity to come here. It’s a great honor to be here.”

Meeting with scouts is nothing new for players at a program the size of Georgia’s. NFL personnel make regular stops on campus throughout the year to get an up-close look at future pro players. Those interactions helped the Bulldogs better understand the interview process that will take place at all-star games, the scouting combine and in other pre-draft meetings.

“That’s something that we had as younger guys to get a head start to talk with the scouts and GMs and the coaching staff,” Rambo said. “That’s one thing everyone should have taken advantage of to sit down and talk to them so when we get to the NFL combine that we already know what they’re going to ask and how to feel and how to be confident going into the meetings.”

But while those interviews with league execs are no doubt important for the respective draft prospects, perhaps nothing is more valuable than a solid week against other top players in Mobile. More important than the game itself, a good week of practice can improve a player’s draft stock exponentially, while a bad week can do just as much damage.

That’s why Jenkins said he was approaching this week’s workouts with bad intentions.

“My style of play is to just go at it, don’t even look back,” he said. “Whoever I put my hands on they’re going to have to suffer the repercussions.”