The general managers, scouts and coaches have left and the campers have moved in to the parking lot of Ladd Peebles Stadium. Tomorrow they kick off the game and decide the winner. But who were the winners and losers from practice? And what else was being talked about around Mobile? Here’s a final word from Senior Bowl practices.
Vinny Curry left a positive impression on scouts and coaches during Senior Bowl week and improved his draft stock. His athleticism, quickness and natural pass rush skills are all very appealing. Curry has been criticized by some after a low pre-season Wondelic test score yet in talking with him you’d never know it.
I spoke with Curry at length after Wednesday’s practice and found him to be very bright, articulate and really a nice person. He easily recalled articles and comments which were written about him six months ago in detail. I asked Curry if he was ready to play linebacker at the next level. He told me he has been training for the position and was slightly disappointed he did not get to work at linebacker during the Senior Bowl to show scouts what he’s capable of. In speaking with Curry I got the idea he’s an easy guy to root for. There’s no doubt in my mind he will quickly make the transition to 3-4 outside linebacker if necessary.
One player that’s not impressed scouts this week is defensive lineman Billy Winn. At one time considered a potential first round pick, Winn looked awful in weigh-ins on Monday then could not get off a block all week. You can see the underlying athleticism and quickness in his game but its just a matter of applying them on a consistent basis. Someone we spoke with close to the situation affirmed Winn is not much of a worker and all too often relied on his natural skills to make plays in college. I was told he’s training back at Boise State for the combine.
Nebraska cornerback Alfonzo Dennard is another who leaves Senior Bowl practices with falling stock. Though a personal favorite of mine, Dennard struggled to stop anyone in practice and was constantly beat. He seemed stiff and slow to react. Its been thrown around that a move inside to safety must now be considered for Dennard.
Zebrie Sanders also is watching his draft stock take a tumble after a poor week. Sanders just had trouble staying on his feet and opponents had him twisting in the wind all week.
Before the practices even started the conversation turned to Arizona State junior linebacker Vontaz Burfict. Separate sources, including one close to the program, told me Burfict’s decision to turn pro was likely centered around the fact he was looking at potential eligibility problems in 2012. Everyone I spoke with said Burfict’s struggles in 2011 are directly related to the fact teammate Brandon Magee never took the field during the season after tearing his Achilles in August. I was told Magee, a leader on the ASU defense, was the one who made sure Burfict was properly positioned on the field and made him aware of assignments. This further confirms my report from the Shrine Game last week where different sources told me, “It’s a matter of Burfict not diagnosing plays correctly if put to the test, amongst other things.”