With the North linebackers going through their paces early in Tuesday's Senior Bowl practice here in Mobile, Ala., a scout pointed out the two best players in the group.
One was Missouri's tackling machine, Sean Weatherspoon, who figures to be a first-round draft pick. The other? Washington's Donald Butler, who entered this week expected to be more of a mid- to late-round selection. Among his impressive plays on Tuesday were expertly diagnosing a screen pass and running over a running back during a one-on-one blitz period.
We caught up with Butler, a second-team all-Pac 10 selection and the Huskies' leading tackler, on the field after practice -- just before he was pulled away by a Minnesota Vikings scout. Among the teams who have shown interest are the Green Bay Packers.
Q: How's it going after two days on the field?
A: It's going good. That first day was a little jittery, had to get that out of my system, but I felt more comfortable today and the defense as a whole did very well."
Q: What are you hearing from the North team's coaches and the other teams you've met with?
A: You know, an athletic guy who works hard, who understands the game mentally and someone that they're definitely looking at.
For those of us who don't live on the West Coast and can't see you play, can you describe what you bring to the table?
A: Really, just a leadership ability out there, getting guys lined up, making sure my front is set. I'm a vocal leader who leads by example, as well.
Q: Looking back at how you go to this point, is there anyone in your life who has made a difference, whether it's a coach or family member?
A: I would say my family in general. My mother, my brother and my sister are a very tight-knit group. We're a close family, and everything I've gone through, I turn to them. I turn to them daily about how my practices went and they've been there for me always.
How do you see this week? Fun? Stressful, since this is essentially a job interview?
A: It's very fun. Whenever you get some of the best guys in the nation out here practicing together, it brings out the best in everybody. As a competitor, we love competition.
Just a couple months to go until your dream comes true and you're in the NFL.
A: You know, right now, a couple months, yeah, you're looking towards that, but right now, I'm living in the moment, taking this day and just really working.
Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.