I spent Sunday through Wednesday in Mobile this week for the Senior Bowl. It’s always the best week of the year, the game’s ‘outdoor party.’ Everyone from around the game is there, and it’s a relaxed atmosphere. What’s more, the people of Mobile are hospitable and engaging and the hotel staff is excellent.

Here are a few stories, observations and items from Mobile.

  • I know a lot of people who read this blog are hoping to work in the NFL someday. If you do — or if you just want to go to the game to see what all the fuss is about — make sure you’re there Monday to Thursday. Scouts start showing up Monday night and leave Wednesday or Thursday, and most agents follow them. It always amazes me when people who should know better arrive Thursday and leave after the game. By Thursday, the show is ending.
  • Here’s a story from this week’s game. A player was strolling through the lobby of the Renaissance Riverview Plaza Hotel when he stopped briefly to talk to a financial advisor. He was immediately confronted by a scout who claimed he’d sent four texts to the player requesting an interview. After the player acknowledged that he’d received the texts, the exasperated scout asked why he hadn’t responded. The player essentially responded with a shrug. This is a prospect with fifth- to sixth-round grades, yet when he slides out of the draft this spring, he’ll likely blame his agent.
  • There were four players — Southern Miss OH Ito Smith, Troy QB Brandon Silvers, Kansas St. WO Byron Pringle and Florida St. SS Nate Andrews — represented by rookie agents. In a business where the richest agencies continue to get richer, it’s refreshing to see newer contract advisors getting a chance.
  • We’ve got four former NFL scouts lined up to provide a panel of experts at our 2018 ITL Combine Seminar, set for Wednesday, Feb. 28, in Indianapolis. We’ll have more details next week. For now, we’re still finalizing our lineup and locking down our venue. We think it’s going to be very special for everyone interested in scouting and evaluation.
  • I asked a scout who attended the Senior Bowl this year about the talent level, which was criticized by many this year. Here was his response: “There were . . . 30 players who declined invites for various reasons. Take the 90 juniors (who left last year and were drafted or signed post-draft), plus the 30 seniors who did not show up, and you have a lot of players who will be drafted in the first three rounds. The Senior Bowl is now a bowl game with a lot of mid-round and lower draft choices.” That’s sad, but it’s a sign of the times.
  • By the way, we’ll have a detailed look at the players who had the best week as judged by the ITL Scouting Department (made up of former NFL scouts) in today’s Friday Wrap, which will be out this evening. It’s free, and you can sign up for it here.