Scouts notice who's here ... and who bailed late on the Senior Bowl

MOBILE, Ala. -- The early storyline of the 2008 Senior Bowl is the surprising rash of last-minute defections by many of the top players. Quarterbacks Matt Ryan (own decision) and Brian Brohm (lingering ankle injury) are the most high-profile prospects to back out. Auburn DE/OLB Quentin Groves, South Florida CB Mike Jenkins, Notre Dame TE John Carlson, Miami (Fla.) LB Tavares Gooden and LSU S Craig Steltz were some of the top talents at other positions noticeably absent from Monday's morning weigh-in and afternoon practice, although Gooden took part in the weigh-in but did not practice.

Player and game representatives have been busy running heavy duty spin control, but there isn't a public relations firm in the country capable of selling NFL brass on this year's crop of talent.