Checking out some of the matchup's top prospects. Wes Bunting
A look at five of the more intriguing prospects playing in this week’s NFLPA Bowl. 1. OT Willie Smith: East Carolina Smith was one of my favorite offensive tackle prospects in the entire country based off my tape study during the 2010 season. The guy is a gifted athlete, possesses good range to the edge, redirects well in space and looks natural on the move. Now, he’s raw from a technical standpoint coming from the Texas Tech-style spread offense where he was simply asked to back pedal off the line and create a deep cup in the pocket because of their quick passing attack. He might not be as NFL-ready as some of the other prospects we saw last week in Mobile, but the guy has some good movement skills, can bend with natural flexibility and if he has a big week, he could be the one guy to really catapult himself up draft boards from this group in San Antonio.
2. CB Ryan Jones: Northwest Missouri State
At the end of the season when I wrapped up my school tape study I dubbed Richmond CB Justin Rogers as the most NFL-ready small-school corner in the draft. However, I also thought Ryan Jones was the guy who had the most upside of the group and could end up going just as high with a good week at the NFLPA Bowl. Jones is a strong, well-put-together corner with natural ball skills, a good first step and the straight-line speed to consistently track the football. He’s more of an athlete than cornerback at this stage and relies more so on his God-given abilities than technique. However, he’s a fluid corner with some natural turn and run ability. And it will be interesting to see just where he’s at this week in terms of his back-pedal/technique in determining just how much of a project he will be for the NFL team and how quickly he’ll be able to get on the field.
3. WR Derrell Johnson-Koulianos: Iowa
Remember the name? After getting suspended by the Iowa football team for their 2011 bowl game following his arrest on drug possession, DJK is back and trying to repair his image in front of NFL scouts this week. Johnson-Koulianos is a talented wideout who possesses a solid first step, has some natural balance/fluidity to his game as a route runner and can be physical after the catch. However, he isn’t a real dynamic athlete in any area of the game and when you add that in with his character concerns, it’s going to be tough for him to convince an NFL team that he’s worth a draft pick. However, I thought he was worth about a mid-round grade before the suspension and if he shows well for himself this week, the guy should be able to get himself into a camp as at worst a free agent.
4. OC Tim Barnes: Missouri
In what looks like a pretty poor center class, Barnes has the ability to be the one guy to make his move toward the top of that second-tier of centers this week. Penn State’s Stefen Wisniewski and Florida’s Mike Pouncey are far and away the best pivots in the 2011 draft. However, after that the class dries up pretty quickly. There are some intriguing small-school talents and decent later-round guys, but no one has really stepped up and secured that top spot after the aforementioned two. Therefore, with a guy like Barnes who has some natural bend, is a good athlete and can get out and pull in the second level, with a strong week I think he could end up being that guy, as he’s someone who I have liked on tape for the past two seasons.
5. DT Jerrell Powe: Mississippi
A former five-star recruit, Powe has had a real rollercoaster of a ride during his time at Ole Miss. Struggled with weight and academic problems during the early part of his career, only to recommit himself in 2009 and develop into one of the more dominant defensive linemen in the SEC. However, he lost a lot of weight this past year getting himself down to around 315 pounds and tried to play like more of a finesse style three-technique, but he lacked the kind of initial burst, lateral quickness and hand usage to consistently disengage on contact. But he is a powerful nose tackle who has a good first step for the position. He’s tough to move off the ball inside, can push the pocket on third down and as a junior I did see some B.J. Raji to his game. Now again there are some character, weight and age concerns with this guy, but he’s a thick-bodied defender who can anchor inside and is certainly worth a draft pick. But this week could go a long way in determining how high you take a shot on this boom or bust prospect.
One of the common traits we have talked about consistently over the past three weeks when looking at pass rushers is length, and Oklahoma State DE Ugo Chinasa has plenty of it. He measured in with 35-inch arms, has a strong, athletic-looking frame and certainly looked as impressive as any defensive lineman down here.
Auburn RB Mario Fannin was the one guy who really fell by the wayside this past year for the national champion Tigers. However, at 5-10 and 225 pounds, he’s a strong, thickly put together back with a muscular lower half and in my view is an intriguing later-round developmental guy who could make a roster as a third-down type back.
I was a little surprised to see Abilene Christian OT Trevis Turner come in at 342 pounds despite his 6-7 frame. He looked fleshy throughout his upper half and didn’t have the type of bubble or thicker lower half you really look for in an offensive tackle prospect. Now, he hasn’t played football in a couple months, which could be the reason for some additional weight. Nevertheless, he doesn’t appear to be in that good of shape and in my view it wasn’t the kind of initial impression he wanted to leave as a D-II kid trying to warrant a draft pick.
A lot has been made of the weight gain this past season for Texas Tech DL Colby Whitlock, who played as a five-technique in 2010 at 6-2 and 299 pounds. However, after seeing him up close it’s not a natural 299 pounds as he has a lot of extra flesh, looks soft through the mid-section and in my view was a lot more of an intriguing prospect as a one-gapping 285-pound kid than the player he is now. However, you have to give him credit for being a team player, doing what was asked of him and I don’t think it will take him long to lose this additional girth because it’s simply not a natural weight for him to play at.
One prospect who really stood out in my mind was Utah center Zane Taylor. He measured in at 6-2 — which was taller than I thought he would be — and really looked well put together at 313 pounds. He had a thick lower half, was well strapped together in his upper body without much extra flesh and with 32-inch arms he has more than enough length to hold his own inside at the next level. Size was one of the major questions with Taylor as a prospect, but after getting the numbers, I think with a strong week the guy could play himself up some draft boards as he is one of the most underrated centers in the country.
Finally, I wrote about East Carolina OT Willie Smith on Monday being one guy who I am most excited about seeing down here and he certainly has me even more intrigued after the weigh-in. He measured in at just under 6-5 with 33 ¾ inch arms and the guy didn’t have any unnecessary weight to his frame. He possesses a strong-looking bubble, was muscular in the upper body and despite being raw, I think the guy has a lot of natural talent and upside to warrant a higher pick than most would suspect.
Weigh-In Results Nation Pos First Last Team Ht Wt Hand Arm Wing
DB Isa Abdul-Quddus Fordham 6000 200 10 1/8 32 76 1/4
LS Corey Adams Kansas State 6043 246 9 32 7/8 77 5/8
OLB Mario Addison Troy 6025 245 9 3/8 33 5/8 80
DT Ladi Ajiboye South Carolina 6016 293 9 7/8 34 1/8 79 1/8
DE Christian Anthony Grambling State 6034 281 10 1/4 32 7/8 79 3/8
RB Damien Berry Miami 5104 212 9 3/8 31 5/8 75 5/8
P/K Matt Bosher Miami (FL) 6005 207 9 5/8 30 7/8 74 1/4
CB Niles Brinkley Wisconsin 5096 190 9 1/4 30 1/8 72 7/8
CB Vance Cuff Georgia 5102 171 9 5/8 31 1/4 74 7/8
OL Josh Davis Georgia 6073 305 10 3/4 35 5/8 85 3/4
S Dominic DeCicco Pittsburgh 6026 232 8 5/8 32 7/8 79
RB Shaun Draughn North Carolina 5112 210 9 5/8 31 75 1/8
WR Kris Durham Georgia 6052 214 9 1/8 31 5/8 77 1/8
DT Kenrick Ellis Hampton 6050 336 10 3/8 34 3/4 82 5/8
QB Nathan Enderle Idaho 6042 240 9 5/8 31 75 1/4
CB Anthony Gaitor FIU 5097 175 10 30 1/4 73 1/2
OLB Michael Gee Indiana (PA) 6004 239 8 7/8 32 7/8 77 1/2
DT John Graves Virginia Tech 6033 278 9 3/4 31 1/2 77 1/2
TE Daniel Hardy Idaho 6035 248 9 3/4 30 5/8 76 5/8
ILB Mario Harvey Marshall 5112 250 9 3/4 32 7/8 76 3/4
OL Peter Hendrickson Tulane 6076 310 10 1/4 33 3/4 82 3/8
WR Andre Holmes Hillsdale 6045 209 8 1/2 34 74
OLB Jeremiha Hunter Iowa 6006 239 9 3/8 31 5/8 75 3/4
OL Carl Johnson Florida 6052 353 9 7/8 35 3/8 85 1/8
WR Derrell Johnson-Koulianos Iowa 5116 204 9 1/2 32 75 1/4
DT Frank Kearse Alabama A&M 6041 311 10 3/4 34 3/4 84 3/4
OL Daniel Kilgore Appalachian State 6033 304 9 7/8 35 3/8 85 1/8
OL Jarriel King South Carolina 6052 310 10 35 1/2 86
S Mark Legree Appalachian State 6000 211 8 3/4 30 1/2 72 5/8
DE Lazarius Levingston LSU 6035 288 10 3/8 32 3/4 79 1/2
DE Craig Marshall South Florida 6045 276 9 1/4 32 1/4 81
CB Byron Maxwell Clemson 6006 207 9 1/8 32 5/8 76 7/8
WR Joe Morgan Walsh 6005 185 8 1/2 30 7/8 74 5/8
OLB Adrian Moten Maryland 6015 225 9 3/8 31 1/2 77 1/4
RB Richard Murphy LSU 6007 204 8 7/8 31 76 3/8
WR Jamar Newsome Central Flordia 6005 198 8 7/8 33 77 1/4
DE Clay Nurse Illinois 6026 259 9 5/8 34 1/8 81 1/4
TE Schuylar Oordt Northern Iowa 6056 258 9 5/8 33 1/4 80 3/8
RB Keith Payne Virginia 6022 257 10 3/4 32 1/2 78 1/4
OL Curt Porter Jacksonville State 6070 308 9 3/4 34 82 1/4
K Jacob Rogers Cincinnati 6022 215 9 1/2 31 1/8 76 1/2
WR Jock Sanders West Virginia 5063 174 8 7/8 28 3/8 68 1/2
TE Andre Smith Virginia Tech 6044 269 10 1/8 34 3/4 82 3/8
ILB D.J. Smith Appalachian State 5106 237 9 3/4 31 1/4 75 3/4
OT Willie Smith East Carolina 6047 305 11 33 3/4 81
WR Owen Spencer North Carolina State 6024 191 9 5/8 33 1/8 77 5/8
FB Ryan Taylor North Carolina 6033 250 10 1/8 33 1/8 77 5/8
OL Zane Taylor Utah 6024 313 10 32 77 3/4
OLB J.T. Thomas West Virginia 6012 236 9 1/4 30 3/4 74 1/4
OL Brad Thorson Kansas 6040 301 10 32 1/4 79 1/4
CB Devon Torrence Ohio State 5115 190 8 3/4 29 3/4 70 5/8
QB Jeff Van Camp Florida Atlantic 6052 209 10 32 1/2 78 3/4
S Anthony Walters Delaware 6000 201 9 1/2 32 77 1/4
QB T.J. Yates North Carolina 6035 221 10 1/8 32 1/4 75 3/4
OT D.J. Young Michigan State 6047 307 9 3/4 35 1/8 83 7/8 Texas
WR Kris Adams UTEP 6034 194 10 L 34 80
OL Matt Allen Texas A&M 6025 279 10 L 33 1/4 79 1/2
ILB Tressor Baptiste Texas A&M Kingsville 6001 235 8 3/4 31 1/8 75 3/8
OL Tim Barnes Missouri 6036 297 10 32 7/8 78 1/4
FB Bubba Bartlett Carroll - MT 6007 238 10 31 74
OL Byron Bell New Mexico 6052 348 10 1/2 32 3/4 81
DT Corbin Bryant Northwestern 6041 302 9 1/4 32 1/4 76 1/4
WR Stephen Burton West Texas A&M 6016 219 8 7/8 31 1/2 74 7/8
DE Ugo Chinasa Oklahoma State 6051 254 9 7/8 35 1/2 85 1/4
QB Ryan Colburn Fresno State 6030 218 9 1/4 29 1/2 73 1/2
DE Wayne Daniels TCU 6006 257 10 32 1/2 78 3/8
OLB Quentin Davie Northwestern 6043 238 9 3/4 33 3/4 80
DE Roberto Davis NW Missouri State 6022 247 10 32 3/4 78 3/8
OL Ray Dominguez Arkansas 6042 340 9 1/2 33 80 7/8
OLB Brian Duncan Texas Tech 6003 237 9 1/4 30 3/4 74 1/4
P Derek Epperson Baylor 6032 237 9 1/8 32 1/4 77 7/8
RB Mario Fannin Auburn 5105 225 9 3/8 30 7/8 74 1/4
RB Jay Finley Baylor 5107 198 9 1/4 32 5/8 76 1/2
LS Harry Flaherty Princeton 6026 242 10 1/4 32 7/8 78 1/2
DB Josh Gatlin North Dakota State 6003 195 8 3/4 30 7/8 74 1/8
TE Cameron Graham Louisville 6031 240 9 3/8 L 30 7/8 75 1/2
CB Darian Hagan Cal 5113 178 8 7/8 31 7/8 75 5/8
WR Marcus Harris Murray State 6007 187 9 1/4 31 1/4 75
TE Robert Housler Florida Atlantic 6054 249 9 1/2 34 3/8 80 7/8
OL Kevin Hughes SE Louisiana 6037 297 9 3/8 33 1/2 80 1/2
FB Robert Hughes Notre Dame 5110 233 10 1/4 L 32 75 3/8
DE Eddie Jones Texas 6022 258 10 1/4 32 7/8 79
CB Ryan Jones NW Missouri State 5111 197 8 5/8 30 3/4 72 3/8
OLB Jamari Lattimore Middle Tennessee State 6020 218 10 3/4 33 1/8 79 7/8
WR Ricardo Lockette Fort Valley State 6021 207 9 7/8 33 1/2 79
DT Ricky Lumpkin Kentucky 6034 308 8 7/8 31 7/8 77 5/8
WR Chris Matthews Kentucky 6050 224 9 3/4 33 5/8 80 5/8
WR Denarius Moore Tennessee 6000 191 9 1/4 32 1/2 77 1/4
OL Derek Newton Arkansas State 6050 311 9 1/8 31 7/8 77 5/8
DT Lucas Patterson Texas A&M 6041 290 9 5/8 30 3/4 77 1/8
OLB Spencer Paysinger Oregon 6026 230 9 32 1/4 76
OL Mike Person Montana State 6047 296 9 3/8 31 7/8 77 7/8
QB Josh Portis California (PA) 6031 209 9 3/4 33 1/2 79 7/8
QB Taylor Potts Texas Tech 6040 220 9 3/4 32 7/8 80 1/4
DT Jerrell Powe Mississippi 6020 331 9 5/8 33 1/8 78
S Chris Prosinski Wyoming 6012 205 9 5/8 29 7/8 72 1/4
CB Reggie Rembert Air Force 5073 180 9 3/8 29 3/4 70 3/8
S Maurice Rolle Lousiana-Lafayette 6002 189 8 5/8 32 5/8 76 5/8
WR Jeremy Ross California 5117 212 9 1/8 30 3/4 74 1/4
CB Kevin Rutland MIssouri 5117 191 8 1/2 30 7/8 72 5/8
TE Stephen Skelton Fordham 6046 247 10 32 1/4 77 3/4
CB Buster Skrine Tennessee-Chattanooga 5095 186 8 5/8 30 1/8 72 1/4
RB Chad Spann Northern Illinois 5080 199 9 30 71 7/8
OL Chris Stewart Notre Dame 6043 346 9 1/8 34 83 1/8
OL Isaiah Thompson Houston 6035 300 9 1/8 32 3/4 77 1/4
OL Trevis Turner Abilene Christian 6067 342 10 3/8 33 5/8 81 3/8
S Jay Valai Wisconsin 5083 203 10 1/4 31 7/8 73 3/4
K Thomas Weber Arizona State University 6004 200 9 7/8 31 3/8 75 3/8
DT Colby Whitlock Texas Tech 6023 299 9 31 1/4 75 3/8
OLB Jabara Williams Stephen F. Austin 6022 223 9 3/8 31 1/8 75 1/8
Breaking down prospects’ preparations in the Lone Star State. Wes Bunting
A breakdown of the first day of the NFLPA game preparations from San Antonio.
If I’m going to put money on which prospect comes off the board first from this year’s game, my bet goes on Hampton DT Kenrick Ellis. At 6-5, 336 pounds, he does a great job sitting into his stance, exploding off the snap and keeping his pad level down through contact. He was really tough to move off the football during team sessions today and really uses his length well to keep himself clean on the move. Now, he is a character concern and does have inconsistent awareness off the snap. But he’s a real talent and overall there’s not much physically separating him from a guy like Baylor’s Phil Taylor.
It was good to see Grambling State DE Christian Anthony back on the field today after a heart condition took away his 2010 season. However, at the same time, he looked like a guy who hasn’t played football in about a year. To his credit, the guy has some natural power when asked to anchor and took on pulling linemen well when run at. However, his overall balance was poor through contact all practice, he didn’t use his hands well enough to disengage and just seemed rusty overall — which is expected. Obviously, there is a huge medical concern with him, but the natural power is there for him to at least get a chance to develop as a practice squad guy at the next level, but he’s going to be a work in progress.
The more I watch Ohio State cornerback Devon Torrence, the less I like the guy (and I came into the year not a fan of his game). Despite the fact he’s a tight-hipped kid who struggles to redirect and maintain balance, he doesn’t even do a decent job of finding the football, thus making him a guy who I can never see making plays in the pass game at the next level.
One corner, on the other hand, who really stood out to me today was UT Chattanooga’s Buster Skrine. He was patient in his back-pedal, showcased good fluidity and balance when asked to change directions and was tough to separate from all practice. Plus, at 5-10 and 186 pounds, he has good enough size for the next level and will definitely be a prospect I will be keeping an eye on closely during the week as he has the makings of a roster guy in the NFL.
California PA quarterback Josh Portis really had a tough go today. He doesn’t spin a real clean football, isn’t real balanced in his drop and because of those faults he had an impossible time driving the football through the winds in San Antonio today. He has some upside as an athlete, but in my view doesn’t even look worth a practice squad spot at this point; simply needs too much work.
I had a number of up and down impressions on Abilene Christian OT Trevis Turner. On the bright side the big guy can bend. He sits into his stance well as a run blocker, fires off the ball quickly and has a little snap to his game. However, he’s raw with his hands, lacks great awareness off the snap and gets upright at the point in the pass game, allowing himself to get jacked vs. the bull rush. He’s an interesting small-school offensive tackle with some bend and size, but I still don’t think I would use even a later-round pick on the guy. Like him more as a free agent.
Call me crazy but I still have a soft spot in my heart for Texas A&M DL Lucas Patterson. He was back playing inside as a DT today and looked good playing the run off his frame, cleanly defeating slide-down blocks and making plays on the football. He’s not a great pass rusher and wasn’t as effective this season as a first-year starting five-technique, but I think with some time the guy could develop into a solid rotational guy in either a 34 or 43 scheme and has the kind of high motor and mental makeup that just makes me think the guy is going to find a way to stick.
Small-school wideout Ricardo Lockette (Fort Valley State) is a gifted athlete. He’s explosive off the line, gets up to top-end speed quickly and has some real snap out of his breaks. However, he’s not a real polished wideout — routinely drifting/showing his routes early — lacks ideal concentration when asked to adjust to a throw and make a play on the ball and does have some character concerns. Nevertheless, he’s the most dynamic small-school wideout I have seen so far this year and does have the talent to intrigue as a later-round guy.
Finally, Missouri CB Kevin Rutland is a tall, long-legged corner who is stiff when asked to turn and run. He really struggles to keep his pad level down and doesn’t get back up to speed quickly. He was consistently gassed vertically down the field today during practice and isn’t a legit roster guy in my view.
Breaking down prospects’ preparations in the Lone Star State. Wes Bunting
CB Anthony Gaitor: Florida International
He isn’t the biggest of defensive backs, but the guy is feisty off the line, possesses good awareness down the field and can make plays on the football. He’s still a bit raw and will get overextended off the line with both his punch and footwork, but with some time/development I could definitely see this guy playing inside as a tough, savvy nickel defender.
OC Zane Taylor: Utah He checked in at nearly 6-3 with 32-inch arms and has the type of anchor to hold the point of attack in the pass game and create some movement off the line as an in-line guy. He’s a bit limited as an athlete and will lose his balance at times through contact, causing him to fall off blocks. But he’s a tough, nasty interior blocker who has a passion for the game and looks like a draftable pivot.
DE Roberto Davis: NW Missouri State
In all honesty I never even saw a lick of Davis until this week, but he’s one of two small-school guys who really jumped out to me in San Antonio. He displayed a good first step off the snap, has some bend when asked to flatten out around the corner and uses his length/hands well to keep himself clean. Plus, he played the run game well shooting gaps inside and looks like at worst an intriguing priority free agent who could get a real shot as a 3-4 OLB to make a camp.
CB Buster Skrine: UT Chattanooga
Skrine was the other small-school kid who really jumped out to me this week. He’s a bit raw initially in his drop. However, he’s a fluid kid with good feet and balance and was a tough guy to separate from all week long.
DT Kenrick Ellis: Hampton
The guy was downright dominant at times on Tuesday, using his explosive first step and natural leverage to knife his way into the backfield and close on the ball. Yesterday, he wasn’t nearly as impressive and seemed a bit disinterested in practice — one of the big concerns I have with a character concern guy like Ellis. However, he’s a talented kid with a great frame and if the light ever goes on, the guy could be a very good starting pro in either a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme.
OC Tim Barnes: Missouri I was expecting a very good week from Barnes and I came away not disappointed at all. He showcased good snap and step ability, can sit into his stance and anchor vs. bigger defenders and works his hands well through contact. At times he gets a bit overextended initially into blocks trying to be physical off the snap. Nevertheless, he’s one of the few centers in the class who I think has some starting potential at the next level and showed well for himself this week.
DB Jay Valai: Wisconsin
Coming in at only 5-8 and 203 pounds is never a good way to start the week for a safety. However, it got worse, as he really struggled holding up in coverage, consistently trying to jump routes in order to make plays, but routinely guessing wrong and stopping his feet. Add that in to the fact he misses far too many tackles and he looks like a camp body at best.
DB Kevin Rutland: Missouri
It’s tough to give a good grade to a tall, long-legged corner who struggles to turn and run. But that is exactly the case with Rutland. He gives up far too much separation out his breaks, lacks balance and fluidity when asked to redirect and has had a tough time covering just about any wideout down here.
DT Jerrell Powe: Ole Miss
I’m not saying that Powe isn’t one of the best prospects down here and that he won’t be one of the first guys drafted from this game. But in all honesty I was pretty underwhelmed by his performance this week. Now, he is tough to move in the run game, I will give him that. However, he isn’t a gifted pass rusher, gets upright if/when he gains a step inside and doesn’t do a great job finding the football. Looks limited to more of a two-down run guy who can eat up space, but in my view isn’t worth more than a mid-to-late round pick.
OLB Wayne Daniels: TCU
After watching Daniels this week the one thing that jumped out to me is that there's just nothing real dynamic about his game as a pass rusher. He’s got an average first step, isn’t overly sudden or shifty on his counter and in my mind his best pass rushes down here came on the bull rush. He’s got enough talent to get a look as a 34-rush guy, but don’t see him as anything more than a fringe roster guy.
Which prospects hurt themselves on teams’ draft boards? Wes Bunting
Devlin was less than impressive in Orlando. QB Pat Devlin: Delaware
I was a big fan of Devlin on tape. He was smart, decisive and used his eyes as well as any quarterback in the draft. However, before stamping my final grade of approval on him I had to see him throw live. And I came away unimpressed. He lacked great arm strength, didn’t spin a real clean football and passes really seemed to wobble on him on all areas of the field. I still like him enough on tape to think he warrants a draftbale grade. However, after seeing him throw live, in my mind he’s not worth anything more than a later-round pick.
OLB Bruce Miller: Central Florida
I understand he’s a productive, high motor overachiever who has been able to get the most out of his athletic skill set at the college level and consistently make plays. However, when watching him vs. top-tier competition he just isn’t real explosive off the edge, lacks ideal length, struggles to gain leverage and can easily be engulfed on contact. He works hard to shed, but isn’t a real powerful athlete and despite his production looks more like a fringe roster guy to me.
OLB Cheta Ozougwu: Rice
Ozougwu is another defensive end/outside linebacker tweener who lacks the initial get off to consistently threaten the corner and doesn’t have the length to keep himself clean/disengage from blocks when engaged. He was very “blah” all week trying to rush the passer and despite his high motor and natural leverage, he’s another guy who proved when matched up with the big boys, he’s going to have a tough time consistently reaching the passer and making an NFL roster.
Senior Bowl… QB Jake Locker: Washington
He flashed all week, I’ll give him that. However, when watching him throughout the week of practice I just can’t understand how you can take a guy with so many inconsistencies in his game in the first round. He never seemed to have a great grasp on the offense as he rarely seemed in control and really struggled to quickly decipher information vs. strictly cover one and cover three looks. He’s got it physically, but from the shoulders up it’s a different story and his week in Mobile was just a further exclamation point on everything I saw on tape from the guy this past season.
OL DeMarcus Love: Arkansas
From an athletic standpoint Love is an NFL-caliber blocker. He’s got some anchor, displays some natural bend initially into his stance and has good range off the edge. However, playing on both sides of the line of scrimmage at Arkansas may have stunted his growth a bit from a technique standpoint. He doesn’t do a great job sitting into his stance into contact, easily gets doubled over at the waist and will drop his eye level causing him to get his head out in front of his body into blocks. I will say the skill set is there, but the guy is going to need plenty of work and in my view is better suited to play as an OG early in his career where he looked very comfortable as a sophomore.
DE Jeremy Beal: Oklahoma
Beal entered the year as one of the most hyped senior prospects in the nation. However, after watching him during the season there was just nothing real dynamic about his game as a pass rusher. And when watching him up close again at the Senior Bowl he’s simply not a guy who can reach the edge with his first step, doesn’t have much lateral quickness and isn’t long/strong enough to overwhelm and shed. He looks more like a reserve only to me at the next level with some versatility as a potential 34 rush guy. However, he doesn’t seem to have the anchor to play the run as a down DE or the fluidity to hold up in space as a 34 OLB. Overall, a fringe roster guy in my book.
DE Ugo Chinasa: Oklahoma State
The one thing I will say about Chinasa is that the guy does look the part. He’s tall, long armed and has a well-put-together frame. However, he’s a really stiff-hipped kid who struggles to sit into his stance, pops upright off the football and isn’t real sudden laterally when trying to disengage. He uses his long arms to eventually fend his way off blocks, but overall he’s just a pretty easy guy to initially reach/block off the edge. He will still get a shot because of his frame, but is going to have a tough time making an NFL roster.
OT Josh Davis: Georgia Davis is how you want to draw your offensive tackle prospect up. He’s a tall, long-armed kid with good natural girth. However, like Chinasa he’s a stiff-hipped tackle prospect who lacks range to the corner, struggles to sit into his stance off the line and isn’t a guy who can redirect with much success in space or through contact. Will get a look because of his frame and coming from an SEC program, but again, doesn’t look like a roster guy to me.
CB Kevin Rutland: Missouri
When you get a cornerback who plays leggy, is stiff when asked to turn and run and struggles keeping his pad level down, the guy is going to have problems. Rutland is a tall, physical corner who can be effective when he gets his hands on you off the line. However, he doesn’t possess the speed to make up for a false step, lacks balance changing directions and had a tough time covering just about any wideout vertically down the field who lined up opposite him in San Antonio. A camp body at best.
Which prospects helped themselves jump up draft boards? Wes Bunting
DL David Carter: UCLA
Watching the first-year starter on junior tape and early in the year you saw a guy with a long frame and some natural get off for his size. However, he really came a long way as the season went on. And at the East-West Shrine his game really seemed to be coming together, as he exhibited good initial explosion off the snap, was sudden laterally and used his length well to disengage from blocks inside. Plus, despite being a bit narrow framed, has the body type to add even more weight and potentially kick out as a five-technique in the NFL. However, as of now looks like an intriguing mid-late round three-technique with some potential versatility.
OL William Rackley: Lehigh Despite being a bit rusty and playing out of position — playing right tackle instead of left — you could see the type of natural movement skills the guy possessed during the week of practice. He’s fluid laterally, can redirect and knows how to sit into his stance. He looks more like a guard to me in the NFL, but being able to make the jump in competition from an athletic standpoint was absolutely no problem at all for the big guy on the outside.
CB Justin Rogers: Richmond We knew coming in that Rogers was one heck of an off/zone corner. He’s comfortable being patient off the line, doesn’t waste much motion when asked to click and close and has a good feel getting his hands on the football on front of him. However, he was a bit more physical than I gave him credit for on tape, was able to hold his own on the outside in press man and quickly snapped his head around and located the football. He is a bit undersized and still might be better suited for the slot. But, he’s a natural athlete with good ball skills and balance and will find a way to make his way onto the field early in his NFL career.
Senior Bowl… DL Cameron Jordan: California
Jordan was the one guy coming into the Senior Bowl who I thought had the ability to make the epic rise up draft boards with a dominant week and catapult his way into the top ten. I’m not sure if he did quite that, but he was as dominant as anyone down there. He showcased a good first step for his size, is violent and savvy with his length/hands and has a motor that runs non-stop. Add that in with his versatility to play both inside and out, and you have a guy who isn’t going to last long come draft day.
DL Phil Taylor: Baylor
It’s not real common to find a lineman at 6-4 and 340 pounds who has the kind of first step and overall athletic ability Taylor possesses. And when he’s is able to keep his pad level down, the guy can be downright dominant, overpowering blockers on contact and using his length/body control to consistently shed blocks. Now, when he gets upright, he’s a very limited player. However, with a lack of ideal 34 type linemen in this year’s draft, I don’t think there’s any way Taylor gets out of the first round and with a good Combine could end up going higher in the first than most think.
OG Danny Watkins: Baylor Watkins was another guy who had his “media” coming out party. After dominating the Big 12 this past year at left tackle, the 26-year-old Canadian kicked inside to guard and proved he had the base strength and lateral agility to anchor and mirror through contact. His hand placement was a bit poor at times, which can be expected for a guy who hasn’t taken many reps at guard. However, for the most part he was downright dominant and even despite his age, I could see the guy get a real hard look late in the first round.
NFLPA Game DL Kenrick Ellis: Hampton
Physically the guy proved that he was just a notch above everyone else at the NFLPA game. He displayed good initial explosion off the snap, was able to keep his pad level down through contact and exhibited good closing speed toward the football. Has a tendency to drop his head down when doubled inside and has some technique issues that need to be cleaned up. But he’s one of the few potential 3-4 nose tackle prospects in the draft who I also think has the athleticism to play as a five-technique as well.
OC Tim Barnes: Missouri Barnes isn’t the most physically imposing of centers. However, he’s got some natural bend to his game, is quick handed inside and moves well laterally through contact. And in a weak center class I think Barnes is one of the better pivots this draft has to offer. Plus, he’s natural on the move, can reach targets at the second level and is the one mid-round center prospect who I cold see fighting for a starting job down the line.
CB Buster Skrine: UT Chattanooga In what was a pretty poor cornerback crop at the NFLPA game last week, Skrine was the one guy who really opened my eyes. He was patient/compact in his drop, showcased good balance and body control getting out of his breaks and was able to keep his base down when asked to redirect in space. Plus, at 5-10 he’s got good enough size and has the kind of frame that can continue to fill out and get stronger as he matures in the NFL. After this week I think worst case scenario he’s now a priority free agent who will be able to compete for a roster spot and depending on how well he runs at his pro day could end up warranting a later-round pick.