The practices are over and now it's time for the 2011 senior class to lace 'em up and get out there for the final college game of their collegiate careers.
I don't think there will be a highly inspirational speech from either Chan Gailey or Marvin Lewis ... well okay, maybe Gailey. For one reason or another this particular Senior Bowl, maybe because the talent is so closely packed, seems like one of the coaches, even if it's an assistant of sorts, should give a motivational speech. The speech that comes to mind for me is a quote from one of the all-time greatest football movies and true stories in the history of college athletics. Here is a speech from Coach Dan Devine from the movie Rudy...
The point of the feed is to illustrate that some of these players, regardless of if there is a really good motivational speech before the game by either coach or not, will latch on to this very concept. This is the last game, their last chance to shine in a game before the draft.
There will be the NFL Combine in February, and some of that process will influence where certain, but not all, players will be selected in this years draft. Some players will simply not participate because their draft stock is as high as it is going to get.
One thing in regards to the draft last year really got under my skin. I think any and all quarterbacks that are entering the draft should have to throw barring major injury or legitimate excuse; like a death in the family, or major illness. It is arguably the most important position on the field. The quarterback is usually and most often seen as the leader of the team. He is the guy the rest of the team looks to, to lead them to the promise land. With there being several teams in this years draft that may be shopping for a new field general, and there being so many of the 2010 quarterback class opting not to throw, I think it should be made mandatory for them to do so.
Aside from the draft, this Senior Bowl will feature a few quarterbacks that possess some intrigue.
The North Teams quarterbacks include Colin Kaepernick, Ricky Stanzi, and Jake Locker who entered this season with very high expectations. I imagine that we will see Locker in there for a majority of the time, but the other two from the North Team will be very intriguing in their own right.
The South Teams quarterbacks have been seen throughout the week as "game manager" types. However, Greg McElroy looked really impressive according to much of the media. The other two, Christian Ponder and Andy Dalton had some positives through the course of the week of practices as well. Come game time, it's still up in the air as to who will emerge as the best of the group for the South.
It will, to say the least, be very magnetizing for most fans of pro teams with a need at the quarterback position. But the enticement of this game won't end at the quarterback position.
Below, I will highlight some of the positional players that we as 49ers fans should be keeping watch of.
Jake Locker (North Team - Washington)
Colin Kaepernick (North Team - Nevada)
Ricky Stanzi (North Team - Iowa)
Andy Dalton (South Team - Texas Christian)
Greg McElroy (South Team - Alabama)
Christian Ponder (South Team - Florida State)
Richard Sherman (North Team - Stanford)
Joe Lefeged (North Team - Rutgers)
Jaiquawn Jarrett (North Team - Temple)
Jalil Brown (North Team - Colorado)
Kendric Burney (North Team - North Carolina)
Curtis Brown (South Team - Texas)
Marcus Gilchrist (South Team - Clemson)
Shareece Wright (South Team - Southern California)
Johnny Patrick (South Team - Louisville)
Titus Young (North Team - Boise State)
Austin Pettis (North Team - Boise State)
Vincent Brown (North Team - San Diego State)
Dwayne Harris (North Team - East Carolina)
Niles Paul (North Team - Nebraska)
Dane Sanzenbacher (North Team - Ohio State)
Leonard Hankerson (South Team - Miami)
Ronald Johnson (South Team - Southern California)
Jeremy Kerley (South Team - Texas Christian)
Greg Salas (South Team - Hawaii)
Jock Sanders (South Team - West Virginia)
Courtney Smith (South Team - South Alabama)
Jeremy Beal (North Team - Oklahoma)
Mason Foster (North Team - Washington)
Mark Herzlich (North Team - Boston College)
Cameron Jordan (North Team - California)
Ryan Kerrigan (North Team - Purdue)
Pierre Allen (North Team - Nebraska)
Sam Acho (South Team - Texas)
Allen Bailey (South Team - Miami)
Nate Irving (South Team - NC State)
Pernell McPhee (South Team - Mississippi State)
Von Miller (South Team - Texas A&M)
Brooks Reed (South Team - Arizona)
Kelvin Sheppard (South Team - LSU)
Chris White (South Team - Mississippi State)
K.J. Wright (South Team - Mississippi State)
Note: There are a ton of other players not listed here that could potentially jump out and present themselves as viable options as draft picks. Feel free to discuss as the game unfolds.
Enjoy the 2011 Senior Bowl!