Commentary

Flacco continues to improve; North return men are impressive

A steady rain didn't mean Thursday's Senior Bowl practices were a wash, as scouts got to see how players handled the wet conditions and also saw valuable special teams action.

Updated: January 24, 2008, 9:44 PM ET
By Scouts Inc.
MOBILE, Ala. -- Thursday is "get out of town" day at the Senior Bowl for most NFL general managers, coaches and scouts -- and for good reason. The practices are shorter, less physical and special teams driven. A steady rain, which began overnight Thursday and isn't forecast to stop until early Friday morning, only adds to the ghost-town feeling in Mobile. To the credit of the coaching staffs, though, they ran productive practices and the players had no choice but to respond.

[+] EnlargeJoe Flacco
Dan Anderson for ESPN.comJoe Flacco is keeping up with the big boys after a slow start in Mobile.
One advantage to a rainy day of practice is the chance to evaluate the quarterbacks' ability to throw in wet conditions. Of the six signal-callers on hand, Delaware's Joe Flacco and USC's John David Booty were the most efficient. In fact, Flacco has improved every day since his tough start on Monday. After struggling with the center exchange that afternoon, Flacco has shown no problems handling the quarterback-center exchange -- in his defense he did spend the majority of his time at Delaware working out of the shotgun. Flacco is deceptively mobile, throws well on the run and has the strongest arm of the signal-callers in Mobile this week. Don't be surprised if he is one of the stars in Saturday's game or if he comes off the draft board as early as the second round.

In injury news, USC TE Fred Davis (ankle), East Carolina RB Chris Johnson (shoulder), West Virginia FB Owen Schmitt (knee), Michigan S Jamar Adams (Achilles) and Michigan OLB Shawn Crable (back) are the latest additions to an unusually long list of players bitten by the injury bug. Schmitt is out for Saturday's game. There's no word yet on the availability of the others, but if there is any chance of re-injury the player will be strongly advised by his representation -- and wisely so -- to sit this one out.