There's talkative, and then there's Sean Weatherspoon.
Unequivocally his team's vocal leader the past few seasons, the Missouri linebacker never seems to run out of things to say. He wags his tongue, performs impromptu "American Idol" auditions on locker room tables, provides grateful reporters with priceless quotes, and always takes an opportunity to give a teammate a few choice words of criticism.
There's not much room for predictability when Weatherspoon opens his mouth, and his loquaciousness was clearly present at the recent NFL Combine.
However, so were his football skills.
Depending on what site you frequent, you'll receive varying opinions on his Combine impact, but a majority of the media that witnessed Weatherspoon's workouts agree the All-Big 12 linebacker has improved his draft prospects.
Reportedly flashing impressive athleticism and flexibility, Weatherspoon was a top performer in several drills, including the vertical leap (40 inches) and 40-yard dash (4.68). And that was after putting up 34 reps of 225 pounds in the bench press—more than most of the defensive linemen prospects at the Combine.
Now, in the wake of his impressive showing, Weatherspoon, who was considered a fringe first-round pick prior to the Combine, is shooting up draft boards and garnering new interest. In his latest mock draft, NFL.com writer Pat Kirwan has the Philadelphia Eagles selecting Weatherspoon with the No. 24 pick, and the Atlanta Falcons, despite their needs at defensive back and offensive line, have become enamored with the linebacker.
And then there's the Steelers, who may entertain the idea of taking Weatherspoon at No. 18. Linebacker is the Steelers' top priority, and should Alabama's Rolando McClain be unavailable, Weatherspoon could land in Pittsburgh, where he'd be reunited with former teammate Ziggy Hood.
Alas, not everyone thinks all is warm and fuzzy for Weatherspoon. Pro Football Weekly's Nolan Nawrocki wrote recently that Weatherspoon's mouth and robust personality turned off several NFL officials at the Combine, adding that the former Tiger was "criticized for worrying too much about his image and post-football career aspirations before he has accomplished anything in the National Football League."
Interesting. I guess we'll have to see how all this plays out come draft day. For footage of Weatherspoon's 40-yard dash, as well as drills performed by Jared Perry and Kurtis Gregory, visit Inside Missouri Football.
Columbia Daily Tribune MU football beat writer Dave Matter has put together some in-depth positional previews heading into spring practices, which begin on Mar. 9. Thus far, at his Behind The Stripes blog, Matter has covered cornerbacks, safeties, and linebackers.
Matter recently conducted a Q&A with MU head coach Gary Pinkel. Among other things, Pinkel noted that he and his staff are looking into ways to alter coverages on defense and better utilize the running game.
Stay tuned to Matter's coverage, as well as Power Mizzou, to find out what went down at Missouri's Pro Day on Thursday.
The Tribune also has a nice piece on MU women's basketball head coach Cindy Stein, who recently decided to step down after 12 seasons.
With a huge date against No. 2 Kansas looming at Mizzou Arena this weekend, Missouri is currently being tapped as a No. 8 seed in the NCAA Tournament's East Region, according to ESPN.com's Joe Lunardi.
For more news on Missouri men's basketball, check out the coverage of my fellow Examiner, Robert Givens.
The Tigers' official athletics Web site has a nice picture gallery of the new renovations at Simmons Field, home of MU baseball.