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Senior Bowl: Opting out for the week

1/21/2013

MOBILE, Ala. -- They had the weigh-in at the Mobile Convention Center this morning in the gigantic hall with scouts from NFL and CFL teams filling the chairs and bleacher seats set up in front of the stage. More than 100 players crossed the stage as their names, heights and weights were called out to scouts with pens, laptops and iPads at the ready to record the official numbers and whatever notes came to mind.

Let's start with the players who were invited, but were not here by their own choice.

Own Choice

RB Montee Ball, Wisconsin

OG Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina

QB Geno Smith, West Virginia

DS Kenny Vaccaro, Texas

ILB Manti Te'o, Notre Dame

DT Star Lotulelei, Utah

OG Chance Warmack, Alabama

Geno Smith is probably the most notable. We understand why he didn't come. It would have been good to see him. There was a good opportunity for him to show what he could do here. He's a good athlete, he moves his feet well and he can make all the throws. Like many top QB prospects, he chose not to.

There's always concern that when you come here, you won't have a great week. You're throwing to new receivers and there's a new offense to pick up. There can be some bumps, even if you're really talented.

Montee Ball's absence also may stand out, because he's not a first-round prospect, but there's nothing left for him to show. Why take more hits? If you don't know what he is after 1,000 offensive touches in college in the last four years, you need another profession.

Medical absences

CB Johnny Adams, Michigan State

OLB Kiko Alonso, Oregon

CB Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State

QB Matt Barkley, USC

DE Cornelius Carradine, Florida State

TE Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame

CB DJ Hayden, Houston

OLB Brandon Jenkins, Florida State

DE Dion Jordan, Oregon

TE Travis Kelce, Cincinnati

OT Brennen Williams, UNC

DT Jesse Williams, Alabama

Kansas State ILB Arthur Brown was in Mobile, but is no longer here because of injury. BYU's Ezekiel Ansah was at the doctor's office during weigh-ins.

Then there are the guys who have canceled within the last 72 hours. It makes scouts angry to no end. It's sort of immature. You need to investigate with each of these guys as to why they're not here, but these guys are the ones who are considered to have stood up their dates.

Last 72 hours

WR Tavon Austin, WVU

LB Jonathan Bostic, Florida

OT Reid Fragel, Ohio State

OC Khaled Holmes, USC

S D.J. Swearinger, South Carolina

Weigh-in Thoughts and Observations

• Fresno State RB Robbie Rouse, 5-5 ⅞, was small, tiny. We can go through the guys in the NFL around that height -- Darren Sproles, Jacquizz Rodgers -- but there aren't many. Rouse needs to be quick and fast, and height isn't a big deal for running backs, but when you're at 5-5, you're worried if you can keep him on the field on offense at all. At some point, unless you complete scheme and make sure he's in no way in a one-on-one blocking situation, you're always worried about that. Defenses will exploit that and try to attack you.

• Syracuse OL Justin Pugh, one of two non-seniors -- a first in Senior Bowl history -- checked in a little smaller than we thought he would at 6-4 ⅞ and 301 pounds.

• Alabama OL D.J. Fluker, the other non-senior with Pugh, did as well as anybody at 6-4 ⅞ and 355 pounds with 36 ⅜-inch arms and 10 ¼-hands. He has enormous arms. And that wingspan. Fluker doesn't have the greatest feet , but he uses that enormous build to his advantage.

• Georgia DL John Jenkins was a wide as a city block at 359 pounds, the highest weight here.

• Central Michigan OL Eric Fisher looked great. We liked his demeanor. He was all business. He looked like a tight end at 6-7 ¼ and 305 pounds.

• SMU DL Margus Hunt was a freak of nature at 6-8 ¼ and 277 pounds.

• Oregon OL Kyle Long, son of Howie, brother of Jake and Chris, looked to be in great shape, well-proportioned at 6-6 ⅛ and 304 pounds.

• Syracuse QB Ryan Nassib measured out at 6-2, and that's a good thing. There was concern that he'd be around 6-1, but once you hit 6-2 a lot of the concern about height goes out the window.

• San Jose State tight end Ryan Otten (6-5 ¼ and 235 pounds) looks frail.

• Missouri Southern DL Brandon Williams carried a lot of weight (341 pounds) on a small frame (6-1 ⅞).

• Purdue DL Kawann Short didn't look terrible, but had a lot of baby fat (308 pounds) and not that great a build (6-3 ¼). He did have broad shoulders, though.

• Wisconsin OL Ricky Wagner was well-built with a wide back. His weight (310 pounds) fit his body (6-6 ⅛).

• Arkansas WR Cobi Hamilton is lean (199 pounds) and doesn't have a wide body (6-1, ¾).

• Cornell OL J.C. Tretter had a broken nose, which he got in one-on-ones during training.

• Tennessee TE Mychal Rivera was lean in his lower body and confirmed that he's small (6-3 ¼ and 237 pounds) as I thought. He is a less impressive version of Aaron Hernandez, who is a good player, but Rivera has an underwhelming physique.

• Virginia OL Oday Aboushi looked great and carried his 310 pounds well, but he doesn't have exceptionally long arms (32 ¾ inches).

• Clemson DL Malliciah Goodman looked really good with long arms with 35 ¾, almost 36 inches, and had 10 ¾ hands, which are meat hooks. He can play left defensive end in a four-man front or five-technique in a three man front. His size (6-3 ⅝ 277 pounds) is perfect.

• Georgia WR Tavarres King had a really good frame at 6-0 ¼ and 193 pounds. A nice, compact build.

• Rice TE Vance McDonald had great measurements at 6-4 ⅛ and 262 pounds with 34-inch arms and 10-inch hands. Those are good numbers.

• UCLA DL Datone Jones had a thick lower half and broad shoulders with a lot of mass at 6-4 ⅛ and 280 pounds. He'd be good as a five-technique lineman.

• Ohio State LB John Simon doesn't have a ton of athleticism as a linebacker, and in terms of size, he's kind of a tweener at 6-1 .5 and 256 pounds. He has a wide back, as wide as we've seen. But because he's in the middle with his size, this week of practice will be important for him.

• North Carolina DL Sylvester Williams looked a little sloppy at 313 pounds, but he has a strong lower half.

• At 6-2 ⅛ and 211, USC DB T.J McDonald will always win the weigh-in ...

• Elon WR Aaron Mellette -- who played some games against the big boys and crushed a talented Vanderbilt secondary two years ago, but struggled against North Carolina this year -- is a player to watch. He looked good at 6-2 .5 and 216 pounds.