The Senior Bowl kicks off today at 4 p.m. ET (NFL Network), and it is one of the notable events leading up to April's NFL draft.
Sharing a few thoughts from a Patriots perspective:
1. Senior Bowl website is extensive. The official website of the Senior Bowl is extensive, and it was the place I started when beginning the process of becoming more familiar with some of the prospects in the game. Former Browns general manager Phil Savage, who is the executive director of the Senior Bowl, had extensive reports after each day of practice leading up to today's game. NFL Network's Mike Mayock and ESPN.com's Todd McShay also do a great job laying the foundation. Over the next few months, taking the time to gain the perspective of scouts/general managers will be part of the process as well.
2. Receivers and defensive backs. In terms of areas to focus, I spent a little more time on defensive backs and receivers, with the idea of picking out a few prospects that I'm interested to learn more about because I could envision the Patriots tapping those positions. Texas receiver Marquise Goodwin looks like a wideout who can "take the top off a defense" and has me wondering if he could be this year's Torrey Smith. The Patriots could use that type of presence and it seems like there could be a few options in this draft. At cornerback, Washington's Desmond Trufant is the type of cover corner that could potentially be a fit. It's probably not a fair comparison, but when I looked into UConn's Blidi Wreh-Wilson, the recent injury history had me thinking of Ras-I Dowling. If I'm the Patriots, I'm probably staying away from cornerbacks who have been banged up based on recent history.
3. Jon Robinson is Patriots' point person. When the Patriots' front-office structure is highlighted, it is often noted that Bill Belichick, Ernie Adams and Nick Caserio play key roles. But Jon Robinson shouldn't be overlooked. He's the Patriots' director of college scouting and this is his time to shine. One of the things to respect about Robinson is that he doesn't come across as a self-promoter (some in that position are always projecting their next move), but just a down-to-earth football guy who is organized and knows his stuff.