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Danny O'Neil covers the Seahawks for The Seattle Times.



January 25, 2010 at 7:56 PM

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Senior Bowl: Day One thumbnail sketches

Posted by Danny O'Neil

  • Taylor Mays is big. Really, really big. Like if you lined him up next to Leroy Hill, you might say Mays is bigger. He's taller, and while his legs aren't as thick as Hill's, his shoulders are just as square.

    All through last season, there was talk that Mays' stock may have declined as he returned for his senior season. Consider Monday the first day in correcting that trajectory because he was measured 6 feet 3 while standing barefoot, he's 231 pounds and he showed he's got some range to go with his power when he broke up a pass intended for receiver Andre Roberts of the Citadel in the South team practice.

    Two months from now, there isn't going to be any talk about Mays going in the late first round. Not with the importance that NFL teams now place upon playing safety. Not after NFL scouts get an up-close look at Mays' physique and if goes and runs 40 yards in 4.3-something you're going to have to use a snow shovel to get the scouts' tongues up off the floor.

  • Tim Tebow is the focus of so much attention here that it might make Brett Favre feel a little jealous. He is seen by people here as the biggest question in the draft evaluation process. Can he play his way into the top half of the first round? Maybe some team will convince itself he's the guy, but if he did something that compelling on Monday, I wasn't watching when it happened.

    Tebow has what Jim Zorn referred to as an "elongated release," which is a very technical -- and polite -- way to say that he doesn't throw like you'd teach it. Then again, neither does San Diego's Philip Rivers. But Tebow also had difficulty taking the snap from under center, always a question for spread quarterbacks.

  • The top two defensive tackles in this year's draft are Ndamukong Suh of Nebraska and Gerald McCoy of Oklahoma. Neither are here at the Senior Bowl, which means that Terrence Cody of Alabama just might be the biggest tackle prospect -- emphasis on the word big. He weighed in at 370 pounds on Monday, and then put his shirt back on as he got off stage. But he's an undeniable force at tackle, someone teams will be looking at this week.

    Another top tackle prospect at the senior bowl is Dan Williams of Tennessee.

  • LaGarrette Blount of Oregon is here at the Senior Bowl, and he weighed in at 245 pounds, and looked every bit the big back that has become increasingly popular with NFL teams as a second or third option out of the backfield.

  • Cornerback Perrish Cox of Oklahoma State was impressive during Monday's workout. He showed the competitive mano-a-mano feistiness teams like in that position.

  • One of the people who will be focused on more as the week progresses is Mike Iupati of Idaho. He's rated as the top guard available in the draft by NFLDraftScout.com, which is the site Rob Rang works for and one I refer to very consistently.

    It has been said Iupati didn't allow a sack this entire season. Now, at the Senior Bowl, he's going to face a higher caliber opponent. How will he deal with that? I attended the South team practice Monday afternoon. He will play for the North so Iupati is someone I will be watching closely Tuesday. But the first thing is that he's just as big as advertised, weighing in at 6 feet 4, 325 pounds. He's also got a fascinating story that will be explored in more detail later this week.

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