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Sources Tell Us: Inside scoop on prospects at Senior Bowl

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  • By Bucky Brooks, Lance Zierlein, Chase Goodbread and Bryan Fischer NFL.com
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Editor's note: NFL Media's Bucky Brooks, Lance Zierlein, Chase Goodbread and Bryan Fischer are in Mobile, Ala., this week at the Senior Bowl. Besides watching the daily practices, they're also talking to NFL scouts, agents and the players themselves. Here is some of what they heard from NFL sources on Wednesday:

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The scoop: "All these teams high in the draft are all going to see the same things on tape with Mariota, and I'll bet he starts to fall on draft day. Once that happens, (Philadelphia Eagles coach) Chip (Kelly) will mortgage the future to go get him. If he misses on him, (Kelly) can just bolt back to college." -- AFC scout.

The skinny: While it might be premature to label Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota as a "draft day slider" before the NFL Scouting Combine or even his personal workout, we've seen the same concerns on tape that everyone else is seeing in terms of his anticipation, pocket poise and simplicity of scheme. Kelly recruited Mariota to Oregon to run his offense, and we're sure he would love to have a quarterback with Mariota's ability outside of the pocket to fully unlock the Eagles' offensive potential. Would Kelly be willing to risk the king's ransom it would likely take to move that far up from pick No. 20?

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The scoop: "Teams have different philosophies about size up front on defense, but if a player is tough and strong, then I think he can play in our league. Aaron Donald proved that." -- NFC general manager on Clemson NT Grady Jarrett's size.

The skinny: Jarrett is undersized by NFL standards at just under 6-foot-1 and 288 pounds, and he certainly will be scratched from the draft boards of teams who covet mass from the nose position. While he isn't Donald, the 13th overall pick of the St. Louis Rams in the 2014 NFL Draft, he is extremely quick off the snap and plays with good leverage and strength. He's had some outstanding reps in practice this week, and the success Donald has enjoyed as a rookie is likely to help Jarrett's case despite his lack of size.

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The scoop: "He shows flashes of explosiveness that we saw from him in college." -- Tennessee Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt on Ohio State WR Devin Smith.

College stars show off their skills in preparation for the 2015 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala.

The skinny: Whisenhunt and his staff are coaching Smith this week, and while it's only been in practice so far, the one thing that has jumped out to the Titans' staff is the wide receiver's speed. Miami WR Phillip Dorsett could be this draft's fastest player; Smith is expected to give him a run for his money at the combine. Smith appears to be as elusive off the field as on it. A Houston Texans scout said he made four trips to Columbus this fall and failed to catch up with Smith on any of his visits. He was hoping to sit down with Smith this week.

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The scoop: "He's T.Y. Hilton. He's got that same explosiveness downfield as Hilton and is quick enough to get open on shorter stuff. Not every team is going to make room for a guy that small, but some of them will." -- NFC scout on Duke WR Jamison Crowder.

The skinny: It's been a big week for the Duke wide receiver, drawing high praise from NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock on Tuesday and a comparison to the Indianapolis Colts' young speedster Wednesday. Crowder is the smallest player at the Senior Bowl (5-8, 174 pounds). Hilton, who caught 82 passes for 1,345 yards last year for the Colts, is 5-9, 178 pounds.

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