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Brunner's Blog: Senior Bowl Wrap-up


Area scout Todd Brunner checks in for the final time from the Under Armour Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama.

I'm in the airport on my way home from the Senior Bowl and I thought the week went well. Obviously coaching the game the last two years was a big help. It was the first time in a few years we had to come down here and approach the game the same as every other team, so it was a little different. We were able to get the information that we needed and I think we've made good evaluations down here that will really help us as we continue the draft process.

The quarterbacks that impressed me were John Parker Wilson from Alabama and Rhett Bomar from Sam Houston State who's a transfer from Oklahoma and then Pat White.

I thought all of the quarterbacks got better as the week went on. Taking snaps from under center was initially difficult and every now and then there will be a fumbled snap so it's still a work in progress. The snaps got better as the week wore on, but you can still tell that they're not completely comfortable.

All the practices are pretty the much the same as they are at this level. It starts off with offensive and defensive walkthrough and then after stretch they'll go to their individual drills. The quarterbacks they are constantly throwing and working on their footwork. Then they start taking snaps with the centers because these guys need to practice that. The tight end are practicing their routes as well as doing blocking drills with the wide receivers. They aren't banging with people every play like the lineman or the linebackers though. They go through all the individual stuff for about 15-20 minutes and they'll get into groups with the quarterbacks and wide receivers and they'll start throwing easy to each other. Then the running backs will get into the mix and catch some passes as well. The offensive and the defensive lines go up against each other in some one-on-one drills. It's normal in practice. You may do different things here and there as some coaches have different philosophies, but all in all it's pretty much the same.

One of the tight ends who stood out was Shawn Nelson from Southern Miss. He looked really good. He caught the ball well and he blocked well so he really looked the part. He also runs well so he's the whole package.

You always tend to watch the guys from you're area because you are anxious to see what they do. You watch them in the fall and you want to see them when they come down here to see how they look. Granted it's only a week of practice so your opinion is not going to change much, but you do want to check in on them.

One guy from my area I wanted to see was Clint Sintim, a linebacker from Virginia. I wanted to see how he would do down here. I liked him when I saw him at Virginia and I think he'll be a 3-4 outside backer. I just wanted to see how he would do in the pass coverage and pass rush drills.

Two other guys I wanted to see were the defensive tackles from Boston College, B.J. Raji and Ronald Brace. They looked really good. Both of them are big, strong guys. They were definitely a force in the middle and they're big time run stoppers. They really showed their strength throughout the week and they dominated the offensive line they were going up against.

We ranked all of the guys at our positions last night. Between now and next Thursday, when I head back to Santa Clara, I'll be taking a look at some of the juniors who have declared and evaluate them. I'll start calling their schools and talking to their coaches in order to get some background information on all of them.

Some of the juniors from my area that declared are Cody Brown, a linebacker from Connecticut, and running back LeSean McCoy from Pittsburgh. Two defensive ends from Penn State also declared and do did the receiver from Maryland, Darrius Heyward-Bey. Kenny Britt from Rutgers, Kevin Ogletree from Virginia and an offensive lineman out of West Virginia declared as well. I just want to get a jump start on that because we'll head out to California and start meetings next week. We go position by position and when one of your guys starts being discussed, you want to make sure you're reports are completed so you aren't scrambling in the meetings.

When all the scouts arrive at the team's headquarters, we'll spen Friday and Saturday watching the All-Star Games. Then, we watch the juniors and select the guys that we want to evaluate further.

Since Scot McCloughan has been on board, we start with the offensive tackles and we'll go through the alphabet, A through Z. We'll go through the board and pull a guy off and if we want to see film on him. We'll read his report and we'll watch his tape, two or three games, and then we will read his stats and then discus what we all think about him. Scot will try to get a consensus and come to a decision on what his grade should be. The grade that we give a player in the fall isn't the be all, end all. Once we get in there and put him on the board, it's the 49er grade.

We're all watching the film together so it gives us a sense of the talent across the country. That helps you because there are great guys all throughout the northeast, some of which I might view as a second round pick. While we are watching film of other players at that position, I may see another guy in some other part of the country who may look a lot better and we have him as a second round pick. That means I rated him too high or maybe it's just the opposite. You get a better feel for all of the players by doing it that way. Then when the draft some and people start talking about different players, you have a good idea of where you think they should go.

That's it from the Senior Bowl. I hope Ethan and I kept you well informed.

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