The 2009 Senior Bowl was full of story lines, including the list of highly ranked prospects who elected not to participate. That list was headlined by Wake Forest OLB Aaron Curry, Virginia OT Eugene Monroe, Texas DE/OLB Brian Orakpo, Baylor OT Jason Smith and Ohio State CB Malcolm Jenkins and OLB James Laurinaitis, all of whom rank among Scouts Inc.'s top 25 NFL draft prospects.
Injuries also thinned the talent crop. Georgia Tech DE Michael Johnson (shoulder) and Michigan State RB Javon Ringer (knee) were among those declining invitations as a result of injury. Several others, including CB Mike Mickens (Cincinnati), S Louis Delmas (Western Michigan), RB Arian Foster (Tennessee), OT Ramon Foster (Tennessee) and WRs Mohamed Massaquoi (Georgia), Brooks Foster (North Carolina), Brandon Gibson (Washington State) and Kenny McKinley (South Carolina) had their weeks cut short by a variety of minor injuries suffered during practice.
As a result, NFL coaches and personnel officials were left to evaluate what scouts and many others consider to the weakest crop of Senior Bowl participants in a decade. For comparison purposes, the 2008 Senior Bowl boasted 11 first-round draft picks. This year's group could see as few as seven participants come off the board in Round 1. And with fewer big names at the top of the list, the overall depth in the game was lacking as well.
Still, there was still a lot to learn from the weeklong scouting experience in Mobile, Ala. The following is a review that features our top five participants, five prospects on the rise and five who failed to make the most of their time in Mobile.