MOBILE, Ala. -- Even among a collection of the nation's most talented college football players, Tennessee defensive lineman Daniel McCullers can't help but stand out for his size at the Reese's Senior Bowl.
McCullers, a nose guard on the South squad, stands 6-7 and 348 pounds and has been impressive in practice this week, holding his own in double-team drills and causing major problems for offensive linemen in one-on-one work. NFL teams that run a 3-4 defense see him as a true nose guard, and having played in 3-4 schemes from high school to junior college to the SEC, McCullers expects nothing else in the NFL. According to McCullers, the Atlanta Falcons and Denver Broncos have shown the most interest in him this week.
"I can be physical at the point of attack, hold gaps, and get pressure on the quarterback when needed," McCullers said.
His 2013 statistics at Tennessee -- one sack and two quarterback hurries -- don't back up the latter part of that claim. Nor do NFL Media analyst Charles Davis' remarks Tuesday.
"He'll blot out the sun, and the Earth moves when he walks. He's a monster, an absolute monster," Davis said. "The problem for him is, he looks like John Henderson coming out of Tennessee, same school. But it's not John Henderson. John Henderson was the ultimate freak defensive lineman -- destroy you in the run game, rush the passer and obliterate you that way. I haven't seen that second part out of Daniel."
On the positive side, McCullers has maintained his playing weight from the season, if not shed a few pounds, so his weigh-in Monday served notice to NFL scouts that he has taken his conditioning seriously since the Vols' bowl-less season ended in late November.
"My high school coach, he always gets on me to make sure when I go home, to break a sweat every day," he said. "And I'm eating better and drinking a lot more water, staying away from sodas. (No more) Mountain Dew."