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AJ McCarron, Darqueze Dennard chided for skipping Senior Bowl

There are nine healthy scratches for the Reese's Senior Bowl -- players who are healthy but chose not to participate in the week-long event -- and NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock wondered Monday why Alabama senior quarterback AJ McCarron and Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard chose not to attend.

Dennard generally is considered one of the top three cornerbacks available in the draft, but Mayock still has come concerns, mainly with Dennard's overall coverage ability.

"People are worried about his long speed and his ability to cover off-man," Mayock said on the NFL Network. "I look at this kid, and I had this conversation with a general manager and a head coach this morning, and their point was, 'Listen, we know he can press, we know he's tough, but we need to see him off. And if he doesn't show up, we assume he can't do it. Not that he can do it."

Mayock also pointed out that McCarron is not considered a first-round pick. He said the week was a chance for McCarron to "put [his] stamp on being the best senior quarterback in the country and [show] you're a first-round pick. Why are you not here? Somebody's going to take advantage of that, and you're going to not be happy with it."

Senior Bowl executive director Phil Savage, a former NFL GM, said that to him, the bottom line with the healthy scratches "is that people miss the fact that [when] you make a commitment, you should follow through with it."

He also said the players who chose to bypass the week were missing out on making connections that could help in the future.

"People talk about the current coaches and GMs," he said. "How about all the directors of scouting and the coordinators that you meet that four, five, six years from now might go back and say, 'I interviewed him in Mobile. Great kid then. Great pro now. Let's sign him in free agency.'"

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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