2015 Senior Bowl: Everything Chiefs Fans Need To Know

The who, what, when, where and why of next week’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama

Every year the NFL collectively descends upon Mobile, Alabama in the middle of January for Senior Bowl week.

For teams not currently in the playoffs, this is the entire focus.

The Senior Bowl showcases the top 110 seniors (and eligible juniors) for the upcoming draft. These players were handpicked by NFL personnel men, scouts and decision-makers to earn their invitation.

Each player is personally selected by individuals whose sole focus is to build championship football teams.

While some players do decline invitations, this week spent in front of NFL coaches, scouts and front office personnel men is one of the most important interview processes a draft hopeful can go through.

They not only get a chance to compete against their peers throughout the week, but the players get to spend quality time around NFL personnel men, something they won't necessarily have as much of at the Scouting Combine in February.

It's important for these players to let the scouts and evaluators get to know them as people, as well as just showcasing their talent.

Kansas City Chiefs general manager John Dorsey explained what he looks for in players at the Senior Bowl.

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"Just trying to find what makes them tick," Dorsey said. "Do they really passionately love football, are they committed to the game of football? How much football do they actually know? These are the little things that you begin to peel away as the process begins."

There are over 500 current NFL players who participated in the Senior Bowl, including 21 players who made the 2013 Pro Bowl.

For the Chiefs, both of their first-round picks over the past two seasons played in the Senior Bowl, with Eric Fisher in 2013 and Dee Ford last season.  

This year, the Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars coaching staffs will coach the two respective teams, broken into "North" and "South" teams.

"This is the place to be for the entire National Football League this week," NFL Network's Paul Burmeister said. "So many guys every year come in as fifth or sixth-round draft picks, they end up as second or third-round picks because of what they do here."

While the Senior Bowl game will be played at Ladd Peebles Stadium on Saturday, January 24, the first three days of practice when the pads are on is the key time for these players to show what they can do.

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"Really the week of practice is the big deal," NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah said. "This is the first chance for these players to get in front of the decision makers. The NFL coaches are out here, the general managers, most of them are pretty wrapped up with the regular season, now they're really getting into the draft so this is there first exposure to these guys."

These players are competing against guys they aren't familiar with, going through drills they might never have done and working with coaches they don't know, which sets the stage for NFL teams to see how these players react in this challenging environment.

It's also an opportunity to put quality talent against one another in drills at practice, something not all of these players have the fortune of during the fall.

"The small school guys that you really like, you really can't evaluate greatly at a school because he's so much better than the talent that he's playing around," Chiefs director of college scouting Marvin Allen said. "Then he gets to an all-star game, you can evaluate him better."

Because these players are all on the field together during their team's respective practice time, the challenge for NFL teams and their personnel staffs is trying to figure out a way to watch every player on the field.

Some players to watch at the upcoming Senior Bowl

Dorsey explained what the Chiefs will do during the week.

"Everybody's broken up into different positions," Dorsey explained of his staff. "Different guys evaluate positions day by day and then you get a cross reference. Then we just kind of get a feel for the day of how guys performed and how guys didn't perform."

The relationship between the coaching staff and the personnel staff is paramount when it comes to draft preparation. The coaches have to properly convey not only the specific skill sets and abilities they need in players to fit their schemes to the personnel staff, but they also have to be uniform in the intangibles they're looking for in players.

"We're all in this thing together and what we're trying to do is give the coaches the type of players that they're looking for," Chiefs assistant director of college scouting Dom Green said. "It's a team effort here in Kansas City and I know that's what coach Reid and John (Dorsey) have stressed since day one."

Allen praised what Dorsey has brought to this group.

"He's probably one of the most respected scouts in the NFL," Allen said of Dorsey. "His work ethic is second to none. He's 100 miles an hour and he expects all of us to be that way." With more than 10 picks this year, Dorsey and his staff have a great opportunity to build the team for the foreseeable future in this year's draft, which starts with a good week in Mobile.

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