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Tuesday, January 21, 2014
What's hot from Senior Bowl practices

By Mike Rodak

MOBILE, Ala. -- Both the North and South teams held practices Tuesday in preparation for the Senior Bowl. Here is what's hot:

Whaley in attendance: Buffalo Bills general manager Doug Whaley was spotted at the afternoon (South) practice, while former Bills general manager Buddy Nix was part of the group taking in the morning (North) practice. Nix later sat with Whaley at the afternoon session, along with several Bills scouts.

Thomas stands out: One player who caught the eye during the North team practice was Clemson's Brandon Thomas. He isn't currently ranked in the Scouts, Inc. top 150 players, but that could soon change. Thomas put on a clinic during one-on-one passing-rushing drills. He's listed at 6-foot-3 and began his career at Clemson as a guard. Thomas is currently projected as a mid-round pick and could be on more teams' radars after Tuesday's performance.

Carr clear-cut best QB: There are six quarterbacks participating in the Senior Bowl, and Fresno State's Derek Carr has stood out above all others. It's a weaker quarterback class in Mobile this week -- Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater, and Blake Bortles are all underclassmen, and A.J. McCarron is not participating -- so it has given Carr a chance to shine. On the flip-side, the buzz around some of the other quarterbacks this week has been less positive. From a Bills' perspective, they could be in the market for a mid-round quarterback prospect. Carr will almost surely be off the board by then.

Defensive gems: On the defensive side, Minnesota defensive tackle Ra'Shede Hageman and Auburn defensive end Dee Ford were some players that caught our eye Tuesday. The Bills have a minimal need along their defensive line, making both longshots to land in Buffalo, but the first set of practices have supported the claim that this is a stronger draft along the defensive line.