So You Want To Work In The NFL?

Mike Kittrell/

MOBILE, Ala.– It is funny to think that this week in Mobile is a bunch of guys who used to be in college and are now looking for a job. The Senior Bowl is that opportunity for these players to discuss their future with the highest profiled league in football.

“It’s pretty much a big job fair right now,” Alabama offensive lineman Austin Shepherd said. “Trying to make as much first impressions as possible, so pretty much it’s a huge job interview.”

This week is featuring the players on the field and what they can do on the field during practice, then the game on Saturday. They’re doing this with numerous coaches, general managers, and scouts watching them. After practice, they’re getting approached by numerous team representatives to let them know what they’re about as a player/person.

One player in particular has needed to make a career choice this week, by switching positions on the field. Auburn quarterback/former Georgia defensive back Nick Marshall is moving to the cornerback spot. He says he knew a position change might be needed.

“I’m just trying to do what’s best for me to try and make a 53-man roster in the NFL,” Marshall said.

So far in practice, Marshall has looked good on the field. He has had some struggles at times, but you can also see that he has experience playing that position. He’s even impressed his rival in quarterback Blake Sims from Alabama. He said as much on Tuesday night after practice.

“He surprised me today,” Sims said. “I didn’t know he was going to corner. I was getting ready that it’s going to be me, him, and Garrett (Grayson, QB from Colorado State) (playing quarterback for the South team) out there. I rolled out, scrambled, and ran looked up saw an orange jersey and it was Nick. I was like ‘what are you doing?’ I’m glad he’s out there, being very productive, and showing everybody what he can do.”

Unfortunately for Marshall, he also had the former before mentioning Georgia added, after he was kicked off the team for allegedly stealing cash from a dorm room in 2012. He knows teams are going to ask him about it.

“I approach it to them like I’m going to be a man about my word just like they are with me,” Marshall said. At the end of the day, I’m going to do what’s best for me and what I feel comfortable doing.”

Georgia linebacker Amarlo Herrera is also trying his best to prove that he belongs in the NFL. He is “applying” to the league after a stellar career in Athens. He even consulted one of his former teammates about what to expect at the Senior Bowl.

“I actually talked to (safety Bacarri) Rambo before I was deciding to come down here,” Herrera said. “So I was asking Rambo a lot of question about what it was like here.”

Rambo is now a member of the Buffalo Bills, after getting into the league with the Washington Redskins.

These players do know that the NFL is calling and they have to meet with the teams in person. The Falcons are looking for pass rush help and players like Mississippi State defensive end Preston Smith could be a player that peaks their interest. He’s also a hometown kid from Stone Mountain. So, he wouldn’t mind coming back home.

“(I am) a guy that’s going to work hard and diversify the defensive line,” Smith said. “(I am) a guy who can play multiple positions along the defensive line. (I am) a guy who can work hard, study film, go out there and play hard for my city.”

Smith played his high school ball at Stephenson high school and then moved on to Mississippi State. He finished his 47-game career for the Bulldogs with 134 tackles, 27 for a loss, and 16 sacks.

The Senior Bowl is another step towards these players making an NFL roster. The next is the annual Scouting Combine in February, school pro days, and then the draft later this spring. Plus, teams will call them in their facilities individually to interview them.

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