University at Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack followed a recent trend among top NFL draft prospects by skipping the Senior Bowl college all-star game this week.
Mack is projected as a possible top-10 overall selection in the draft, which will be held in May. He opted to decline his invitation to Mobile to avoid risk of injury or see a less-than-stellar showing hurt his draft stock. He was one of nine top seniors who opted to skip the game.
Texas A&M tackle Jake Matthews, viewed as a sure-fire top-five pick, is the most prominent senior to sit out the game. The other healthy scratches were: cornerbacks Darqueze Dennard of Michigan State, Justin Gilbert of Oklahoma State and Lamarcus Joyner of Florida State; linebackers C.J. Mosley of Alabama and Shane Skov of Stanford; running back Carlos Hyde of Ohio State; and quarterback A.J. McCarron of Alabama. Not all of them are first-round prospects. McCarron may go in the middle rounds.
Other possible first-round picks not playing due to injury include: UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr, Michigan tackle Taylor Lewan and Texas Christian cornerback Jason Verrett.
The top senior prospect who is playing in the game probably is Fresno State QB Derek Carr.
Of course, underclassmen who have declared for the draft are not eligible for the Senior Bowl. A record 98 underclassmen have entered the draft, breaking the previous mark of 73 set last year.
In all, there might only be seven or eight first-round picks at the Senior Bowl.
Several hundred NFL scouts showed up Monday morning to watch the weigh-in of all the players. Heights and weights generally vary from the measurements listed in the game-day programs put out by college teams.
Carr measured 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds. He clearly had the best arm of the QBs on the South team in the first practice of the week. Georgia’s Aaron Murray isn’t playing this week because he’s recovering from knee surgery, but he’s here to participate in interviews with scouts. He measured 6-foot, 3-10ths of an inch and 201. Both Carr and Murray were an inch shorter than their listed height.
The heaviest players on each team were North guard Cyril Richardson, a 343-pounder from Baylor, and South defensive tackle Dan McCullers, a 348-pounder from Tennessee. Richardson probably is a late-first or second-rounder. McCullers is a middle-rounds prospect.
Senior Bowl notebook