Thursday, January 24, 2008

Pre-Draft Prep | by Pat

It's Senior Bowl week down in Mobile, Alabama -- the New Hampshire primaries of the NFL Draft season (if you'll pardon an election year metaphor). Some of the best seniors in the country are down South to showcase their talents on the field, as well as meet and greet with team reps from all over the NFL.

The Irish sent four players to the event, but tight end John Carlson had to bow out after a battle with an illness that saw him lose 15 pounds in 8 days.

"The important thing is he's finally starting to feel like himself again," Carlson's father, John Sr., said via telephone Monday night. "He wanted to play in the Senior Bowl in the worst way. He knew how important it was for him to be there. He would have loved to have shown people what he can do. But he's also smart enough to know that sometimes the best-laid plans don't work, so you have to move forward."
With Carlson out, that leaves a trio of domers in Tom Zbikowski, John Sullivan, and Trevor Laws. Before they even hit the field though, they have the ever popular weigh-in. Zibby had some comments about what has to be the least pleasant part of the draft process, the official weigh-ins.

Wearing only their skivvies and the occasional awkward smile, they were weighed and measured as the scouts looked on and listened attentively when the results were announced over the sound system. The measurement process is extremely specific, measuring players' height to the 16th of an inch, their weight, their wingspan and the sizes of their hands."It's something you've got to go through. Obviously walking through a roomful of 200-plus middle-aged guys is not the most fun thing to do, but it's part of the job," Zbikowski said. "They've got a job to do and they've got to be thorough with what they want as a player, to see what type of body you have and what your height and weight is."

There haven't been many updates on the three so far, but Trevor Laws has been noticed by a few different writers covering the event. SI had this to say...
Trevor Laws, DT, Notre Dame: Laws does not possess top NFL dimensions -- he measures just 6-foot, 300 pounds -- yet there is a lot to like about his game. He has played with a non-stop motor every day and is constantly around the ball.
...while the Ledger-Enquirer mentioned a few specifics from a Monday practice session.
Laws is very strong, athletic and quick off the snap. He has really impressed scouts with his athleticism and non-stop motor. He showed off his hops on Monday when he elevated and batted down a pass from 6-foot-6 QB Joe Flacco.
If you want a inside look at some of the battles from the practice week, here is video of both John Sullivan and Trevor Laws in the OL vs. DL drills and Zibby in the TE vs. Safeties drill.

For even more of an inside take on the week, Trevor Laws has started up his own blog. He's been adding short updates during the week about training in California with Sullivan and Carlson, rooming with Zibby at the Senior Bowl, and watching Sullivan battle in practice while fighting through an illness. It's definitely an interesting thing to see another former Irish great start up his own blog and share his post-ND career thoughts. Check it out.