Back from Mobile, Ala., for the Senior Bowl, General Manager Brian Xanders sat down to discuss his scouting trip to the annual college all-star game.
Xanders, the personnel staff and the coaching staff were all in Mobile from Monday to Wednesday, and the team is now working toward the NFL Scouting Combine.
Why is the Senior Bowl an important part of draft preparation?
“First of all, for our scouts, it’s a great opportunity to meet and interview players for the first time. When they’re on campus, they’re playing football and they’re going to school. But this is a great chance to meet them one-on-one. We get in on Sunday morning and then really chase down players, assigned by scout, and we interview them on all of the questions that we have on their background, football character and personal character.
“The second reason is it provides the first live exposure for a lot of our coaches. They can see the velocity of the football, to see them catch, to see them compete against good players, to see them in person, their body types, see how they work and compete in groups.”
What are you looking for when you watch practices?
“We saw four practices — two North and two South. I’m looking for guys that stand out in terms of athleticism, explosion and quickness, and it’s in all positions. Defensive backs, receivers, defensive line, the quarterbacks, running backs — you want to see some traits that project to the NFL.”
Are you happy with what was accomplished in Mobile?
“We got a lot done. We got the interviews in and we met as a staff. It’s a great opportunity to get everybody together and start the process for 2012.”
What was said in the full staff meeting?
“Just, ‘Here’s the plan, here’s what we’re working on, here’s your assignments — go execute the plan.’ It was good to get down there. It’s one of the first steps in the process.”