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Matt Dayes making strong first impression with NFL scouts

Grant Halverson/Getty Images

The Senior Bowl is being played on Saturday, but the larger game within that useless scrimmage is the week prior, when NFL scouts watch closely every single practice. NC State has had a bunch of players go through this process, with running back Matt Dayes being the latest among them.

It's the meat market before the NFL Combine meat market--this is how it's evolved now:

(Have I mentioned that the dudes obsessed over the NFL draft are weird as hell? Man, what "hand size crowd"? Is it more than three people? Oh god, it's more than three people, isn't it.)

On the football field, where hand sizes are often ignored by many, Matt Dayes has done a nice job. In practices this week he's impressed analysts like's Bucky Brooks:

North Carolina State's Matt Dayes has been a top performer in practices over the past two days. He's shown outstanding footwork, great balance and excellent body control. He's been mentioned as a draft sleeper. I believe he's going to be one of those third-down backs who can come in and make a huge splash right away.

Dayes lacks top-line speed but I'm not sure what else he has missing as he prepares for the draft in April/May. Kid has good vision, he's decisive, he understands pass protection, and, wait for it ... he has good hands. It will be telling to see which teams fixate on his stature rather than his production. So many teams, across basically every sport, have hurt themselves by approaching prospects that way.