MOBILE, Ala. — Finding prospects that fit the “NFL mold” is an important practice in the months leading up to the NFL draft. For every Darren Sproles success story, there are many more players who never make a name for themselves as professionals despite strong college statistics, because those who lack ideal height, weight, length, or athleticism typically don’t survive at the next level.
So that’s why about 600 people jammed into the Mobile Convention Center early Tuesday morning to watch over 100 college all-stars invited to the 2017 Senior Bowl get weighed and measured.
It’s an annual event known more for being weird and uncomfortable than it is for being a useful tool. After all, the players at the Senior Bowl are essentially locks to be invited to the NFL scouting combine, where every player will get weighed and measured again at the beginning of March.
Some of the players take feedback from their measurements and shed pounds, pack on weight, or even make their hands grow. But ultimately, Senior Bowl measurements are mostly ignored once the NFL Combine measurements are recorded.
But even though it isn’t the most important weigh-in, it’s still taken very seriously by the NFL personnel who traveled to Mobile. Everyone in attendance waits in silence for the next height or weight to be called out while NFL hopefuls step up the scale in their underwear:
The scene at the Senior Bowl NFL Scouting Weigh-In at Mobile with NFL scouts' eyes on many of the nation's top college players: pic.twitter.com/KpUf1MyBaQ— Brandon George (@DMN_George) January 24, 2017
When Villanova defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon stepped on the scale looking like a superhero at 6’7, 280 pounds, he drew a couple oohs and aahs, but otherwise everyone is uncomfortably quiet. The loudest moments were when everyone turned the page on the rosters attached to clipboards.
Yes. Despite the fact that everyone gets the exact same measurements and they were published on the internet before anyone even left the room, at least half of the people wrote down every measurement with a pen and paper.
And since Reese’s is the title sponsor of the Senior Bowl, they had to weigh a peanut butter cup mascot before a quick intermission between the South Team and North Team measurements, surprisingly drawing more laughs than groans:
If the whole thing seems weird and awkward to you, that’s because it is. But for players who have worked most of their lives to reach the doorstep of the NFL, it’s really not that bad.
"That was fun,” Dak Prescott told KTBS a year ago when he was still trying to impress scouts and earn a shot in the NFL. “I've worked all my life for this opportunity just to come out to every aspect of this, the weigh-in, my height and weight. Just to go out there with all the people and the cameras, whatever it may be. It was fun and very exciting."
The pre-draft process is a weird few months filled with experts chatting about prospects’ hips and butts, and NFL personnel asking players absurd questions. But the Senior Bowl and NFL combine weigh-ins are as uncomfortable as it gets.