NFL Notebook: Draft choice bargains on display in Alabama
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The Senior Bowl serves as a talent laboratory.
Any civilian can spot a talent such as Nebraska defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh and Oklahoma State offensive lineman Russell Okung, both of whom skipped the Senior Bowl game in favor of waiting for next month's NFL combine.
The real worth of this game is finding the undervalued and overshadowed talent.
Could be an offensive lineman like Idaho's Mike Iupati or John Jerry of Mississippi. Could be defensive lineman Terrence Cody, a twinkle-toed 370-pounder who has been unstoppable in drills.
"Finding the equivalent of a first- or second-rounder in the third, fourth and fifth rounds, I think that's as motivational as having a first pick," Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said between Senior Bowl workouts.
Secondary coach Ray Horton, considered a prime candidate to leave to become defensive coordinator at the University of Houston, did not get that job.
The school hired Eagles coach Brian Stewart as its defensive coordinator instead.
Horton's status with the Steelers, where he has coached the past six seasons, remains unclear. Horton, hired in 2004 as the team's assistant defensive backs coach by Bill Cowher, was kept on the new staff by coach Mike Tomlin, who promoted him to defensive backs coach in 2007.
Brett Favre hinted he'll decide about next season sooner rather than later, though with him that has been subject to change to say the least. Coach Brad Childress said he doesn't have a deadline for Favre's decision, insisting the team can plan for both possibilities despite an obvious preference for early resolution. "State of flux is generally not good. It's usually uncomfortable, but sometimes it pushes you to create as well," Childress said.
Oakland hired Hue Jackson as offensive coordinator, hoping the man who helped develop Joe Flacco in Baltimore can do the same for JaMarcus Russell. Jackson and head coach Tom Cable worked together on the staff at Cal-State Fullerton in 1990 and at the University of California in '96.
Atlanta, looking for an improved pass defense, has hired Tim Lewis as the team's secondary coach. Lewis coached the Seattle Seahawks' defensive backs this season and is a former defensive coordinator with the Steelers and the New York Giants. He was Carolina's secondary coach in 2007-08.
First Published January 27, 2010 12:00 am