The Senior Bowl practice week is in full swing, which allows teams to observe and interact with players. With three months until the draft, teams are in the midst of finalizing 2012 NFL Draft boards that likely started developing shortly after the wrap of the 2011 NFL Draft. Generally speaking, all 32 teams send scouts and personnel folks to town to assess the players. The 49ers have scouts on hand as noticed by Alfie Crow from Big Cat Country. Apparently the scouts generally wear team apparel at the Senior Bowl.
While getting measurements on players and seeing them run around in a variety of drills are important, there is a certain value to speaking with a player either in a formalized interview or a simple sideline chat during practice. While it is hard to define what will make an impression on a personnel person, I can imagine brief conversations with a player can at least give people an inkling about their personality or give them something to research a bit more over the next few months. I've never been to the Senior Bowl, but I have a feeling that the chats and interviews this week are much like cover letters. They often won't win someone over, but they can definitely hurt you.
Meeting with a player does not guarantee much of anything because teams will meet with a lot more players than they draft. Although chance encounters are possible, I have to think a meeting, even on the sideline, has to mean at least some level of interest, no matter how small.
The Senior Bowl isn't some bold predictor of draft picks, but the 49ers have taken a fair number of players from the All-Star Game. In 2011, Senior Bowl alum on the 49ers roster included Kendall Hunter, Colin Kaepernick, Ronald Johnson and Ian Williams.
After the jump I've posted the modest list of players who have met with the 49ers in some form or fashion.
According to Alfie's observations, 49ers people chatted with the following players:
- WR Juron Criner, Arizona
- WR Marvin McNutt, Iowa
- LB Keenan Robinson, Texas
- DT Brandon Thompson, Clemson
The folks at WalterFootball.com also have someone down in Mobile and he reported the 49ers spoke with:
- RB Doug Martin, Boise State
- LB Bobby Wagner, Utah State