MOBILE, Ala. — An Oklahoma State alum waited close to an hour after Senior Bowl practice to get Brandon Weeden to sign his orange baseball hat. He didn't care how old the Cowboy quarterback is.
Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan doesn't seem overly concerned with Weeden's age, either.
“How often does a guy help you for more than six, seven, eight years?” Shanahan pointed out.
Coach of the South squad in Saturday's game, Shanahan answered questions about Weeden's 28-year-old maturity throughout the week. He was asked about the quarterback's age three times in a 20-minute press conference Wednesday night. No questions were asked about any other Senior Bowl quarterback during that interview session.
Weeden has been the story this week in Mobile, with his age a nagging subplot.
A Senior Bowl rep had to walk him off the field after a practice to end countless interviews with media members and NFL scouts. They later sneaked him out of the back of the stadium, away from the horde of fans screaming for player autographs.
On the field, Weeden has impressed scouts and coaches with his talent, which, according to his agent Sean Howard, has a tendency to come to the forefront at draft time.
“His arm strength will be right with the best of them. He can probably pick it up and throw 70 yards down the field. He can make all the throws,” said Shanahan.
ESPN draft guru Todd McShay believes Weeden has been the most impressive quarterback this week.
Wes Bunting, Director of College Scouting for NationalFootballPost.com, said he would grade Weeden higher than Arizona's Nick Foles. Weeden, Foles and Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill are said to be battling to be the third quarterback drafted behind Stanford's Andrew Luck and Baylor's Robert Griffin III.
Redskins quarterbacks coach Matt LaFleur worked throughout the week with Weeden on his ball-handling, footwork and cadence. LaFleur liked what he saw, especially Weeden's ability to adjust to taking snaps under center.
“In college, they're always in shotgun. Here, 80 percent of our plays are from under center, but he was actually very natural at it,” said LaFleur. “I was very impressed with how fluid he is. And he can really throw it, one of the best I've been around.”
Off the field, Weeden has been equally as impressive, charming the media with his charisma and wit, despite being asked about his age in every interview — and there have been dozens daily.
“Oh, yeah, it's been asked about in every one,” Weeden said with a smile. “I haven't done an interview in a long time that it hasn't been asked.”
He later joked about how a doctored birth certificate would probably earn him a lot of money.
“I can give you my whole 30-minute spiel on the subject, because I have one” he added. “But I really do believe it is a positive, something that will put me in a position to contribute immediately. If you ask the teams, probably 25 of them don't care, and the ones that do probably already have Hall of Famers at quarterback like the Patriots and Packers.”
The Redskins don't have a Hall of Famer at quarterback currently, and Shanahan has drafted a 27-year-old rookie before in former Denver Broncos running back Mike Anderson.
“When it comes do a guy who played baseball (like Weeden), you just have to look at all scenarios,” Shanahan. “Does he have the passion? What type of athlete he is? What type of leader is he? You just have to project him to your scheme. It really comes down to if a guy can help your football team win. You have to evaluate it and obviously draft accordingly.
“That's why it's a great for a guy like me to be around a quarterback like this for a few days,” Shanahan added. “You get to see his passion, his accountability and how he relates to the other players.”
Starting lineups for Saturday's 3 p.m. kickoff will be announced Friday.