Showcase attracts top college talent

Updated: January 19, 2004, 3:28 PM ET
By Nolan Nawrocki | Pro Football Weekly
The week after the conference title games, nearly every NFL scout, scouting director, general manager and coach make their annual pilgrimage to Mobile, Ala., to take a look at the top senior pro prospects.

No other all-star contest features as many first-day picks as the Senior Bowl. Nearly 85 percent of the players in attendance last year made opening-day rosters of the 32 NFL teams, and 14 were first-round picks. The importance of the game itself pales in comparison to the week of practice and interview sessions that offers NFL scouts and talent evaluators an opportunity to closely examine the prospects.

Small-school players get an opportunity to prove they can match up with bigger, faster competition. After practices, between meals and late into the evening, each team conducts interviews, asking an onslaught of questions to measure players' football intelligence, work ethic, attitude and character. Some players will be grilled about off-the-field issues. Others will really need to prove themselves on the field. Each player gets a chance to work with NFL coaches.