Who were the winners and losers of weigh-in day?
Yes, winners and losers of weigh-ins. That's the level to which prospects for the 2014 NFL Draft are being dissected this week in Mobile, Ala., leading up to the Senior Bowl, the nation's most prestigious college all-star game.
There's no shortage of coverage from Mobile, headlined by a daily TV presence on NFL Network, which will air the Senior Bowl game live at 3 p.m. on Saturday.
Those prospects' week under the microscope began when they were sized up Sunday in front of a room full of personnel from NFL teams.
Jared Abbrederis, Chris Borland and James White -- three of the five former Badgers selected for the Senior Bowl, along with Jacob Pedersen and Dez Southward -- were listed among the losers from weigh-ins. At 6-0 and 189 pounds, Abbrederis measured in "shorter and lighter than expected." Borland has the shortest arms of any linebacker in Mobile.
Since they've taken the field, however, all three have been on a winning streak, according to the media members and draft pundits on site:
An AFC scout told NFL.com's Andy Fenelon
that Abbrederis has "consistently been the best receiver on the field this week" in a deep draft class for at the position.
ESPN's Todd McShay tweeted Wednesday that Borland "is an animal. Great instincts. Strong this wk as rusher and in cvg. Doesn't have measurables but who cares. He's a player!"
Not surprisingly, White has drawn praise for his strong work in pass protection, as a pass-catcher and as a consistent runner. According to one account of Tuesday's practice, "White's lone ugly rep came as college teammate Chris Borland beat him with a swim move."
For the Badgers, this week is about proving to NFL scouts that the tale of the (video) tape is more telling than the tale of the (measuring) tape.
So far, so good.What They're Saying...NFL Network's Mike Mayock
called Borland "as fun a guy to watch on tape as I have ever seen" and compared him to second-year Carolina Panthers MLB Luke Kuechly. Borland was among the most impressive players
as full-pads practices came to an end with Wednesday's session for the North Team, according to NFL.com's Chase Goodbread.
Tony Pauline is keeping a running tab on each player at DraftInsider.net
. His thoughts on Borland? Monday: "Just a tremendous day." Tuesday: "Another terrific day."
In a video recap for PhiladelphiaEagles.com
, Pauline poured more praise on Borland's game: "He plays smart, instinctive football, he's tough, he goes after the ballcarrier. He made plays on the blitz, made plays in run defense, also made good plays in coverage. He's got all the skills except for the height." Pauline had similar thoughts
for Packers.com writer Vic Ketchman in this video recap. For his part, Ketchman also thinks highly of Borland
, taking the popular comparison to former NFL star Zach Thomas
a step further: "Borland bears body resemblance to Zach Thomas, but he's a better player."
Ketchman's thoughts were shared by Falcons head coach Mike Smith
, who is guiding Borland's North Team this week in Mobile: "He reminds me of Zach Thomas. Sometimes we put these measurables up, but the tape doesn't lie. That's your DNA. He has great FBI (football intelligence)."
The crew from NFL Network also gave their thoughts
on Borland's NFL future.
Borland is offering insight into his experience in Mobile by contributing a journal
on the Senior Bowl's official web site. "It's no longer a dream, it's right front in of you," he writes. "I think it's exciting for us and I'm definitely pumped about it."
Russ Lande was a guest on Big Ten Network's BTN Live
on Tuesday and addressed the impression Borland has left on scouts
: "Some people thought ... that like of height might hinder him, but he's just been great. The thing that's been the most impressive is his all-around versatility."
Lande also had some good things to say about Abbrederis: "He's making a tremdendous impression. Through the two days of practice he's shown that he's polished receivers down here in Mobile ... he's looked just tremendous."
Abbrederis and Borland were also the headliners of this assessment of the Senior Bowl workouts
by the Sporting News.
When it comes to wide receivers, the consensus seems to be that Abbrederis has been most impressive
in practice this week: "He's consistently been the best receiver on the field this week," an AFC scout told NFL.com's Andy Fenelon. "You know when they say the best player always jumps off the film when you pop in a game tape? Jared has been one of those guys for me this week." NFL Network talked to Abbrederis
about how much pride he takes in his precise route-running.
BTN's Lisa Byington also caught up with Abby
to get his thoughts on his Senior Bowl showing.
The first team to talk with Pedersen in Mobile? That would be the Green Bay Packers
, the team he grew up rooting for in nearby Menominee, Mich. "They haven't drafted a Wisconsin guy in a while," Pedersen told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "but I wouldn't mind doing that."
Speaking of hometown teams, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., native White spoke with MiamiDolphins.com
on his hopes for the Senior Bowl.