2006 Senior Bowl

DD Comments live and direct from Mobile, Alabama

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Offensive players that need a big game to leave a favorable impression at the Senior Bowl:

QB Darrell Hackney ~ UAB -- Hackney has a plus NFL arm, but his lack of accuracy continues to be a huge problem. Also, he measured in at 5' 11", which is way too short for a pocket quarterback in the minds of some scouts. Will need a big game to sooth some doubts.

WR Derek Hagan ~ Arizona State -- Upon talking to our man down in Mobile, a great deal of the conversation revolved around the need for us to re-arrange our wide receiver rankings after this week....Hagan has been our top wideout in the Senior class since he ran a 4.45 40 at ASU 's 2005 Pro Day, but he has struggled mightily in Mobile at times. Could redeem himself with a good game and a solid 40 time at the Combine, however.

WR Jason Avant ~ Michigan -- Another wide receiver that has struggled catching the ball. Avant is not considered a real fast receiver, so dropping the ball too much is not a good way to impress scouts....Avant has talent, so we can't let one tough week totally cloud our opinions.

OC Ryan Cook ~ New Mexico -- Our man in Mobile, a former D-3 lineman, just hasn't been impressed with some of the interior lineman in Mobile and Cook is one of the players he pointed out several times in phone conversations. He said he was a decent player, who would probably get a shot in the NFL, but he wasn't real impressed.....Our man in Mobile said Mike Degory of Florida and Marvin Phillip of Cal have also looked sluggish at times, so all three need to have a big game to impress.


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LB Demeco Ryans put RB Andre Hall on the deck yesterday in a very "whoa" moment in the stadium - didn't wrap up or go low, just cleanly decked him. Ryan is a hitter that loves to put people down and is taking full advantage of the small gray area between "pop" practice and "full speed" - let's be real coaches and scouts love that crap. Violent! The hype on that guy is real.

Memphis PK Stephen Gostkowski was getting a lot of careful observations from CHI staff. He has an interesting technique can kick it straight ahead old-school style and he can hit with that from 40+ - but most of the time he uses soccer style. Again his long kicks yesterday (57,57, 56) were wind aided - he is not super accurate but will probably draw a paycheck on the next level due to simple positional scarcity.

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Florida State defensive tackle Broderick Bunkley looks thick and mean but didn't practice yesterday due to a minor injury. If you consider he's probably more highly regarded at this point than Darnell Dockett in 2004, but less highly regarded than Tank Johnson in 2005, he's probably on the cusp of round one and two. It's not real "likely" he'll make it into the first round, but it also wouldn't totally shock us if he did. NFL GM's love prospects that look, act and play like Bunkley - his talent and motor are not in question - he's just got to deal with the other 45 prospects with first round grades this year.

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North Carolina State defensive end Manny Lawson is having a great week of practice. He picked off a screen pass yesterday, displaying great speed and quickness in the process. Lawson is extremely fast and scouts love that he used to be a sprinter. Reportedly possesses a 45" vertical leap, which is off the charts for a defensive lineman. As a track star for North Carolina State, he has long-jumped 24 feet (second in the ACC) and triple-jumped 41 feet

Despite the fact that some teams like him as a defensive end and others like him as a linebacker, he 's not going to make it out of the first round if he keeps flashing his skills at this rate. Also, we talked with Lawson at length this week and heĎs very outgoing and likeable, so we expect him to ace any interview with NFL executives.

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Clemson cornerback Tye Hill has displayed his sprinter's speed and ball skills all week in Mobile. Thatís pretty much the package GM's look for. Heís our top rated cornerback right now pending workouts. Even though Hill is only 5-9 and 185 pounds, heís very strong and has a tremendous vertical leap, which should help him against bigger receivers at the next level.

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DD.com Photos from South Wednesday:

D Williams, B Croyle, D.J. Shockley
Brodie Croyle
C Griffin, T Williams, T Howard, G Blue
11-on-11's
Pat Watkins
Greg Blue
Sinorice Moss
Brodie Croyle II
F Roach, G Wilkinson, T Howard
Cedric Griffin
11-on-11's group 2
Andre Hall, Sinorice Moss
11-on-11's group 3
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SENIOR BOWL SOUTH PRACTICE NOTEBOOK (Weds)

A stiff wind tore through the stadium this morning, and was affecting the quarterbacks; this gave the scouts a good chance to measure arm strength under tougher conditions. I didn't catch what the actual wind MPH was but it was to the point where the kicker #32 Stephen Gostkowski hit 3 times from 57 yards with the wind at his back but only 2 of 3 from 43 yards going into the wind.

#12 Brodie Croyle had another quality practice, throwing strikes into the wind. Very nice play action fakes during 11-on-11 team drills. Great week of practice gets better.

#73 Marcus McNeil was extremely solid in pass rush drills. #94 Kamerion Wimbley has been very successful with the outside rush against other players (and had another good day overall) but against McNeil he's just so large it seems like it takes a couple weeks to run around the guy. Great footwork for a man his size, stock is on the rise - the Panthers spoke with him at length.

As a brief aside these scouts from different teams are usually friendly with one another and record these interviews digitally, it would not be surprising if some were trading interviews to keep their intentions somewhat secret from the other 30 teams.

The running backs were led by #20 Deangelo Williams and #10 Joseph Addai, both having high level weeks. Also of note was the burst of #38 Andre Hall and the soft hands/speed of #21 Jerious Norwood.

#98 Elvis Dumervil was giving certain OL fits during pass rush drills. He has a relentless style and explosive moves (spin, push-pull) that some of the players have had trouble with. Still an undersized player but he has enough believers that someone will probably take him before the second round is over.

#47 Mark Anderson keeps turning heads with his play here in Mobile - very good in run support and has a complete arsenal of pass rush moves, often employing them in combination. Beat #74 Eric Winston with a nasty swim/rip/spin (the first time Winston has been really beat all week - he's also having a great week and looking like the top 5 player he was before the ACL tear in 2004.

#91 Manny Lawson had another great practice, intercepting a screen pass and generally looking sharp in drills. He was seen talking with the Cowboys and Chiefs after the session.

#83 Sinorice Moss had a very good day, making an acrobatic catch in the end zone and displaying breakaway speed after the grab. He isn't the type of player that can "go and fight" for a wayward ball but if the ball is delivered accurately he is very dangerous.

#19 Marcedes Lewis has very soft hands the size of catcher's mitts and is a fantastic target in the red zone - doesn't body catch at all. Meanwhile, #82 T.J. Williams continues to be inconsistent.

#52 Broderick Bunkley and #9 Skyler Green sat out the practice with minor injuries and hope to be participating tomorrow.



******** last updated: 1/24/06 ********

DD.com Photos from South Tuesday:

McNeil and Scott
Croyle
Toeaina, Winston, McNeil
Ryans and Roach
T Jennings DB Drills
Minter
McNeil versus Lawson
Elvis versus Winston
Williams versus Jean-Gilles
11-on-11 group 1
11-on-11 group 2

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SENIOR BOWL SOUTH PRACTICE NOTEBOOK (Tues)

Watching the South, there are certain players that initially stand out as covering alot of ground. In the defensive backfield #22 Kelly Jennings and #6 Cedric Griffin both had serious wheels and showed above average recovery speed in passing drills.

From the LB corp, #40 Thomas Howard looked very quick indeed. Great in agility drills when he's not overthinking - can shuck blockers, if they catch up to him... Takes instruction well and definately looks the part. A lump of clay ready for NFL coaches to mold and one could tell when at the end of the practice he was surrounded by the following teams: Redskins, Bucs, Steelers, Jets, Giants, Dolphins and those are just the ones I saw on the field... I'd bet dollars to donuts there are teams swarming him at the hotel as well. Coming from UTEP he's a bit of an unknown quantity compared to these other well known players, that coupled with the speed factor make him an interesting prospect for many. Stock watch: late first/early second on our board.

Another player who can flat out book is #94 Kamerion Wimbley. Aggressive in drills, slightly faster than others at the position (and it's a stacked group overall). Had several "sacks" in 11-on-11 (not real sacks as not only are QB's contact free but the players are instructed to let the QB's throw the football so that WR/DB get reps). His obvious football speed coupled with his buff appearance at the weigh-in has to give his stock a healthy boost.

#20 Deangelo Williams has been putting on a clinic in Mobile. Today he was doing the jitterbug all over the field and it's a pleasure to watch. His anticipation, vision and ability to find odd cutback angles are uncanny - and he's not doing this against bums - he's making very good defenders grab air with consistency. The fact that he measured in a couple inches short is not really an issue, at least it's not one for me. He's an elite talent and solidly so.

Another RB who had a good day was LSU's #10 Joseph Addai. He's not as flashy as Williams but shifty, quick and fast. He has a great bounce to the outside to get the corner and he also can work north/south up the field. Stock rising and he's shaping up to be a great value pick for someone.

The rock-star of the South practices is clearly #12 Brodie Croyle, who had a relatively decent day, looking sharp on out passes and a quick delivery. His height isn't optimal but that didn't stop Belichick and his phalanx of assistants from forcing their way through the media circus to spend a good 10 minutes talking with Croyle. One can't read these guys too closely but they seemed to be genuinely interested and impressed. Perhaps it's a smokescreen but also it's possible the Patriots want to address their backup QB situation and light a new fire under Tom Brady all with the same move.

#42 Spencer Havner ran high in agility drills but proved much more comfortable in game situations. It has been said he is a two down backer, I don't believe this to be true based on his performance in coverage. Not in the same class as Greenway and Hawk but can be had at a far smaller cost, which may make him a better value if he lives up to potential.

#35 Demeco Ryans has been having a good week and exhibited plus body control, acceleration and change of direction. Pending workouts a polished and legit player who's stock is hovering mid to late first round/early second.

From the defensive line, #47 Mark Anderson was explosive in drills and showed a nice first step in pass rush. #52 Broderick Bunkley is a wide load who can move well down the line in pursuit, has a high motor and can stuff plays before they build momentum. Both of these players have what can be described as a nasty temperment on the field, and at various times this was praised by the 49er's coaching staff (who runs the South practices).

During 1-on-1's #74 Eric Winston was efficient, agile and quick. Had a low center of gravity and quality technique. All told possibly the second best OT in Mobile. Was given attention by Chargers and Jets after practice.

#77 Max Jean-Gilles can get pulled off balance but can recover and rarely was beat outright. Had some serious battles with Bunkley and I would call the Heavyweight slugfest a draw. Extremely strong and as advertised, a physical marvel in the mold of Cowboys great Larry Allen, but missed his blocking assignment once during 7-on-7's.

#71 Jon Scott was seen at RT, LT and longsnapping for punts and his versatility has to be a plus with scouts and coaches. He is nimble enough to run with the South's quickest defenders in pass protection and strong enough to push unwitting LB's practically into the second row. Although Wimbley beat him once, most of the time got the better of his opposing number.

#73 Marcus McNeil had some battles with #91 Manny Lawson during 1-on-1's and the results were mixed. One rep Lawson got McNeil off balance and beat him handily, the next, McNeil engulfed Lawson and buried him in the turf. Overall both players had good days and show alot of upside. McNeil isn't the most agile OT on the field but does well enough to get by on reaches and pulls, but on the other hand is an absolute monster at the point of attack. Lawson drew attention from Chiefs, Panthers, Chargers and Bears after the session.

Word around the campfire, the Bowl might be bringing in another player: DE Julian Jenkins from Stanford. We will know more tomorrow and will be able to confirm or deny this rumor at that time.

#21 Julius Norwood has very soft hands, good burst and was featured as a punt returner during special teams practice. Has quickness and that extra playmaking gear that scouts love. Another real burner at PR is #83 Sinorice Moss, who had a relatively positive week so far. He's not huge but that wasn't exactly a secret going into the week. Not a first round pick, but still will have a legit shot to carve out a niche at the next level.

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SENIOR BOWL NORTH PRACTICE NOTEBOOK (Tues)

The North morning practice kicked off with RB/LB blitz pickup drills. #18 Chad Greenway made his mark early with a helmet-removing hit on #38 Terrence Whitehead that had the relatively full stadium buzzing. It's hard to use the word "smooth" when describing an athlete with as much violence surrounding him as Greenway but make no mistake, this player is smooth.

Another player who turned heads in the drill was #27 Brian Iwuh. Later in the day, was excellent breaking up a screen and covering RB's out of the backfield in general. I had him pegged as a possible safety convert after Monday but if he keeps it up he will convince someone he can be a backer at the next level.

Generally we try to keep it positive but the sub-par nature of the North WR play cannot be glossed over. Without naming names several highly regarded athletes couldn't catch a cold today. Again the best hands were displayed by the TE, #85 Klopfenstein (who caught another long gainer) and #86 Byrd (who was very consistent).

#77 Davin Joseph had a bounce-back practice after Monday, creating huge holes in 7-on-7 and holding his own against the rush. He showed patience and balance handling good spin and rip moves.

#91 Tamba Hali, #94 Mathias Kiwanuka and #78 Gabe Watson were very stout against the run, especially in pursuit down the line. All three players had multiple tackles for loss and displayed above average quickness and agility for their respective positions.

It should be noted that besides the obvious Cutler hoopla, Watson has done the most to help his draft stock out of all the participants this week so far. In 2003, current Viking DT Kevin Williams came out of nowhere to have a great week and turn his 3rd round stock into a high first round stock. Watson isn't having quite as good a week, but then again he isn't exactly coming from "out of nowhere." Early to mid first round to a team in dire need of a 2 gap NT seems more realistic with every day that passes.

#72 Jeremy Trueblood has been working at RT and even there can be beaten when smaller players (and everyone is smaller than Trueblood) get into his body. He doesn't have great leverage or balance and can get pushed back or pulled forward. Also jumped false start on several occasions. Still a first day pick based on all the other things he does well but not likely first rounder.

#14 Daniel Bullocks and #4 Jamille Addae both had pretty interceptions, both against #6 Charlie Whitehurst, whose below average delivery speed seems to have become a liability as the week wears on.

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DD.com Photos from South Tuesday:

McNeil and Scott
Croyle
Toeaina, Winston, McNeil
Ryans and Roach
T Jennings DB Drills
Minter
McNeil versus Lawson
Elvis versus Winston
Williams versus Jean-Gilles
11-on-11 group 1
11-on-11 group 2

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DD.com Photos from North Tuesday:

Demetrius Williams
Greenway in LB Drills
Tye Hill jamming Avant
Kiwi versus Brick
Dusty versus Setterstrom
11-on-11 group 1
11-on-11 group 2
Greenway no helmet
Belichick and Saban
A Phillips versus Avant (punt)

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SENIOR BOWL NORTH PRACTICE NOTEBOOK (Tues)

Today the last shall be first as we want to present a really quick update on who the teams were talking to after practice:

Several members of the NY Jets staff were seen bee-lining it to the crowd gathering around #6 Jay Cutler, who had another sharp, crisp practice and is defining himself as the star of the North. KC Chiefs were also paying attention.

#85 Joe Klopfenstein (who has been longsnapping for punts) - Bears
#73 Daryn Colledge - Falcons, Browns
#76 Duece Latui - KC Chiefs
#18 Chad Greenway (another great practice) - NY Giants
#52 D'Qwell Jackson - Steelers
#80 Jason Avant - Panthers
#56 Charles Spencer (very good in 1 on 1's) - Browns
#78 Gabe Watson (draft stock soaring) - Dolphins, Chiefs, and Dallas
#95 Victor Adeyanju - Browns
#2 Demetrius Williams - several Panthers and NO Saints

Check back during the afternoon for breakdown of "actual football" observations.

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DD.com Photos from North Monday:

Whitehurst and Cutler warmup
Players warming up
Cutler and Bell
7-on-7 group 1
7-on-7 group 2
Stovall vs Hunter
Blackmon and Phillips
11-on-11

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SENIOR BOWL NORTH PRACTICE NOTEBOOK (Mon part II)

We talked about the dueling #6's in our last part, now let's talk about the dueling #1's.

#1 CB Anwar Phillips had a great practice, turning alot of heads. He was in on several pass breakups - fast, has a nice break on the ball and smooth hands in drills.

#1 Will Blackmon was sticky in bump and run, showed good quickness and had he been lining up at WR, might have been the North squad's best at that position.

The North WR corp overall was pretty sub-par with some ugly drops throughout the session, the best potentially being #21 Maurice Stovall, who showed good hands, body control and nice route running.

During passing drills #8 Tye Hill had an acrobatic one-handed INT in the end zone that turned plenty of heads. Definately the best coverage CB on the squad - he showed great body positioning, ball skills and showed off his sprinter speed on several occasions.


The linebackers and safeties were thrown together for backfield coverage drills and out of the group, #18 Chad Greenway distinguished himself as the most talented in pass coverage, even among the North safeties. Greenway was absolutely mugging people in passing drills, but within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage. Very active in run support, shucking blocks to get to the ball carrier. Talking to him and watching him interact, Greenway strikes one as a real throwback player who just loves to play. Even if his stock rose to the point where he didn't have to play this week, it's questionable whether he'd pull out of the game - just because he seems to enjoy it so much.

More from RB/TE/S/LB coverage drill: #52 D'Qwell Jackson also had several good reps, breaking up the pass and exhibiting his sideline-to-sideline range. The best coverage safety on the North might not be playing safety yet - #27 Brian Iwuh - running with the linebackers, for now.

#86 Dominque Bryd may have the best hands on the squad, catching balls that were outside, low, behind - and making it look easy. #85 Joe Klopfenstein also had a very efficient day and seemed more fast than quick - a quality north/south runner after the catch.

While the D'Brick/Kiwi main event got all the headlines, the undercard was just as exciting: #55 Nick Mangold vs. #99 Dusty Dvoracek. These guys were going all out and the results were spectacular. There were no decisions it was all about going for the knockout.

In one particular series, Mangold got beat for a sack with a nifty swim move, but during the next rep rebounded to pancake Dusty. It went back and forth like this all day. Both players went all out, proved alot and, at this rate, won't make it past the end of the first day.

Other standouts from the OL/DL drills were #73 Daryn Colledge, who had a nice kick out block in 11-on-11's and #91 Tamba Hali who showed explosive first step. Both beat their opposing number with regularity.

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SENIOR BOWL NORTH PRACTICE NOTEBOOK (Mon part I)

#6 QB Jay Cutler is a legit game manager with upside. Had more than enough arm on the 15-20 yard outs and a smooth deep ball. Delivered short and intermediate dump/swings with accuracy. Not alot of wasted motion. Footwork good. Threaded the needle to Klofenstein on a 25 yard go during 11-on-11's. No real bad mistakes - a very nice practice. Carries himself well and when he walks in the room everyone knows he's there - charisma.

Not to be outdone, the other #6 Charlie Whitehurst looked good as well. A shrewd GM might be thinking Cutler's nice but why not take Whitehurst two rounds later? Similar players today, both efficient and looked the part of a pro QB.

#12 Michael Robinson wasn't really in the same class as a passer as the other North QB's. The question is not if, but when he takes reps at WR. It would be in his interest to take some in Mobile to show the pro's his versatility.

#66 D'Brickashaw Ferguson was good to very good: Multiple false starts (not uncommon among both sides of the line, the players were amped up) Had some real battles with #96 Mathias Kiwanuka, who has a blinding quick first step.

Best practice overall? In my eyes was DT #78 Gabe Watson. The knock on this player is he's lazy - well he certainly did not look lazy, threw himself into everything 100% - even stretches. At least 3 tackles for loss or just "breaking up the play" against the run in 11 on 11's. A monster during 1 on 1 pass rush drills (at least 2 genuine "sacks") utilizing bull, push pull and rip techniques. Surprisingly flexible and fast.

More to come as we break down the notes and the night continues...

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DD.com Senior Bowl news: Tennessee cornerback/free safety Jason Allen, who injured his hip midway through the 2005 season, is walking around at the Senior Bowl in Mobile with press credentials (like the players playing in the game) and seems to be in a good frame of mind and almost fully healed from his unfortunate injury, which some considered real serious at the time it occurred.

Itís doubtful that Allen will play or practice at the Senior Bowl this week, but heís seems to be on the fast-track towards being fully recovered, which is good news for teams that need help in the secondary.

Archive Note: Please check our January 10th blog notes for insider info on Jason Allen.

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DD.com SENIOR BOWL news: WEIGH-IN

The League is takes precautions that the recorded hand/arm lists are not distributed to agents, hence we cannot post the entire list. However here are some general observations, highlights and lowlights:

Tallest player: OL Jeremy Truebloood, Boston College - 6'7 & 3/4"
Shortest player: TIE - WR Sinorice Moss, Miami, CB Tim Jennings, Georgia - both 5'7 & 3/4"
Heaviest player: OL Max Jean Gilles, Georgia - 358 lbs
Lightest player: CB David Pittman, Northwestern St (LA) - 177 lbs
Largest hands: OL Davin Joseph, Oklahoma - 11 & 1/4"
Largest arms: OL D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Virginia - 36 & 1/4"

Players that aced the eyeball test:

NORTH:

WR Jason Avant - Michigan
WR Maurice Stovall - Notre Dame
LB D'Qwell Jackson - Maryland
DE Mathias Kiwanuka - Boston College
S Anthony Smith - Syracuse

SOUTH:

RB Joseph Addai - LSU
RB Deangelo Williams - Memphis
WR Sinorice Moss - Miami
DE/OLB Manny Lawson - NC State
DE Kamerion Wimbley - Florida State
DB Pat Watkins - Florida State
LB Demeco Ryans - Alabama

Players that had difference between listed and real measurements:


NORTH:

QB Michael Robinson, Penn State: listed 6'2" was 6'1"
RB Mike Bell, Arizona: listed 6'1" was 6 feet even
WR Jason Avant, Michigan: listed 6'2" was 6'0 & 1/4"
OL Marvin Phillip, Cal: listed 6'2" 298 was 6'1" 307
OL Ryan O'Callahan, Cal: listed 363 was 347
OL Deuce Lutui, USC: listed 6'5" 375 was 6'3" 338
OL Davin Joseph, Oklahoma: listed 6'4" was 6'2"
DE Darryl Tapp, Virginia Tech: listed 6'2" was 6'1"
LB Chad Greenway, Iowa: listed 6'3" was 6'2"
LB Jon Alston, Stanford: listed 6'1" was 6 feet even
LB Abdul Hodge, Iowa: listed 6'1" was 5'11 &1/2"
LB D'Qwell Jackson, Maryland: listed 6'1" was 6 feet even
S Jamille Addae, West Virginia: listed 5'11" was 5'9 & 3/4"

SOUTH:

QB Brodie Croyle, Alabama: listed 6'3" was 6'2"
QB Darrell Hackney, UAB: listed 6'1" was 5'11"
RB Deangelo Williams, Memphis: listed 5'10" was 5'8 & 1/2
WR Ben Obomanu, Auburn: listed 6'1" was 6'0"
DT Jesse Mahelona, Tennessee: listed 6'2" was 6 feet even
DT Kyle Williams, LSU: listed 6'2" was 6'1"
DE Elvis Dumervil, Louisville: listed 6'0" was 5'11"
CB Cedric Griffin, Texas: listed 6'1" was 6 feet even
S Greg Blue, Georgia: listed 210 was 220

(NOTE: only differences of 1 whole inch or more/10 pounds or more - also this is not necessarily a down-grade of draft stock, sometimes the true measurement was better)

Other Observations:

Jay Cutler has an air about him.
Brodie Croyle looks in the face like Joe Willie Namath re-do.
Ryan O'Callahan, Charles Spencer and Jon Scott looked soft.

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