Reading a couple of the various reports from the Senior Bowl last week, one point was abundantly clear: this year's crop of senior quarterbacks is the worst in quite some time. The Motley Crew in Mobile were a mix of overrated system passers, and raw, ineffective physical specimens.
It was quite disheartening that Mike Teel could not only fail to crack that group, but he wasn't even seen as worthy of an invite to the East-West Shrine Game. No; Teel is going to have to prove himself this weekend in El Paso, Texas at the Texas vs. the Nation contest.
It's easy to see why the pro scouts might be down on Teel. His physical attributes aren't bad, but they're just average. At his worst, he can look erratic, and lacks touch on his passes. However, when Teel is on and can get into a rhythm, he can hang with the best of them. After all, Teel ranked 18th in passer efficiency rating in 2008, and half of the playes ranked above him were underclassmen. That was only a small dropoff from his #17 ranking in 2007.
Teel has a good head on his shoulders. Combined with his leadership qualities, you have to hope that he will impress a team at some point down the line. For now, it's up to him. If Teel can live up to his reputation as a top practice performer, he has a good shot of turning a few heads, and changing some perceptions.
Joining Teel in El Paso will be Jason McCourty and Kevin Malast. It's a big opportunity for Malast, who had a breakout senior season and looks to continue building on that momentum. McCourty is another smart, grounded kid, and he has a chance to tantalize attending scouts with his athleticism.
Tiquan Underwood was previously listed as attending the game, but does not currently appear on the game roster. Is he still training for the Combine at Athletes Performance with Kenny?
Conspicuously absent from any postseason rosters is Pete Tverdov, who was probably the best defensive player for the Knights last year. Even Eric Foster was able to finagle an invite to El Paso. However, demand was a bit lighter last year; the Shrine Game in Hawaii folded, moving the Texas game up a tier in the NFL pecking order. It's a bit ironic, because I think Tverdov's size gives him a much better chance to stick at defensive end in the NFL. That's where he would have played for other teams. With the NFL, there's apparently too much guess work in projecting his motor outside, where he would be mainly counted on to rush the passer.
Scarlet Knight fans can only hope that some savvy team notices him on film, and is willing to give Pete a chance. His day will likely come at the school's Pro Day in March. That's also when Jamaal Westerman will be able to evaluate his recovery from biceps surgery. Until then, our aspiring pro hopefuls will probably be training at facilities like TEST and Parisi's.