Saturday night’s Senior Bowl completed a week of intense NFL auditioning for some of the nation’s top upperclassmen. MetroNews talked with Mike Herndon, reporter for The Mobile Press-Register and Alabama Media Group, who recapped the performances of several notable players:
West Virginia center Joey Madsen, a four-year starter who missed the Pinstripe Bowl with academic issues, was back in action this week. How did he fare?
Herndon: I thought Joe Madsen had a decent week and probably helped himself. I’ve seen other reports that were less than flattering, though pretty much everyone had trouble in one-on-ones against North Carolina defensive tackle Sylvester Williams. Still, in a week where the top center prospects — Alabama’s Barrett Jones, Wisconsin’s Travis Frederick and USC’s Khaled Holmes — were not in Mobile, I thought Madsen and California’s Brian Schwenke had the best week of those here. The fact that Madsen was a four-year starter is a factor noted by scouts in the overall evaluation, but it’s not as important as what they see from him in the Senior Bowl, the combine and his game film.
(In a related note, Madsen spoke with TribLive radio in Pittsburgh this week regarding the academic woes that kept him out of WVU’s 38-14 bowl loss to Syracuse:
“I messed up. I should have been going to classes and doing the right thing,” Madsen said. “Things didn’t go my way, and I screwed up a little bit.”
“There were some family things. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer before the season. I didn’t focus in. I dug myself a hole, and I couldn’t get out of it. I talked to all the guys and told them I was sorry. There’s still real good relationships down there.”)
Oklahoma’s Landry Jones had terrific career numbers tempered by occasional head-scratching interceptions. How did he look this week, particularly in comparison to other quarterbacks?
Herndon: Landry Jones, much like his career at Oklahoma, had an inconsistent week. He looked pretty good in practices. I noticed very little separation between him and the other two South quarterbacks, Arkansas’ Tyler Wilson and Florida State’s EJ Manuel, during the week’s workouts. All three seemed fairly crisp and accurate – and better, as a group, than the North’s trio of North Carolina State’s Mike Glennon, Syracuse’s Ryan Nassib and Miami (Ohio)’s Zac Dysert. But Jones did not look comfortable in the game and struggled all night, completing just 3-of-9 passes for 16 yards and getting sacked twice.
How about other Big 12 players?
Herndon: Kansas State receiver Chris Harper may have helped himself as much as any receiver in Mobile this week. He showed great ball skills in practices – particularly Wednesday, when he seemed to catch everything. … Texas defensive end Alex Okafor flashed great quickness and pass-rush moves in one-on-ones. He and UCLA’s Datone Jones were the best pass-rushers I saw here. But Okafor got dinged at some point during the week and did not play in the game. … K-State linebacker Arthur Brown did not practice or play due to injury.