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Senior (Bowl) Superlatives

January 30, 2013 in 2013 Senior Bowl

Tallest Player: DE Margus Hunt-

-Measuring at over 6'8" Hunt took the prize here.

Shortest Player: RB Robbie Rouse-

-Coming in at 5'5" 7/8 Rouse was the shortest player on the field, which at times helped him as it appeared defenders couldn't find him.

Heaviest Player: DT John Jenkins-

-Jenkins weighed in at 359 lbs, but actually carries it pretty well. It is easy to see why 3-4 teams would love to have him as their NT

Lightest Player: WR Marquise Goodwin

-Goodwin came in at 179 lbs, which is a little light for a receiver. Good news is he didn't struggle too much versus the press.

First Player Selected: OT Eric Fisher-

-Fisher all but solidified a top 10 spot with his great week. A couple guys could challenge him, but he could be off the board even in the top 5 in some draft scenarios.

Last Player Selected: (not counting UDFA's): P Jeff Locke

-It's tough finding a player who will go late, but still probably be drafted, Jeff Locke could fit the bill. Ryan Allen will go higher, but plenty of teams could take a look at a punter in the 7th round, particularly one who handles kick-offs as well.

Most Likely to Succeed (in Year one): OT Eric Fisher, DT John Jenkins, RB Stephan Taylor, DL Datone Jones

-These are the four players who should make the highest impact right off the bat, I think all four should play at least significant roles as rookies and prove themselves to be very effective.

Highest Upside: QB E.J. Manuel, DL Margus Hunt, OT Kyle Long, DE Ezekial Ansah

-These are the four players who could be elite stars down the line if it all comes together for them. Hunt, Long and Ansah are pretty new to the game at the upper levels, while Manuel just needs some developmental time.

Best Deep Ball: QB Mike Glennon

-Glennon edges out Landry Jones here due to accuracy, as Glennon showed the strongest arm consistently throughout the week.

Worst Deep Ball: QB Ryan Nassib

-Nassib just couldn't air it out at the same level as some of the other quarterbacks. That doesn't mean he can't succeed, but it means he needs to be in the right system.

Fastest Runner (RB/WR/DB): WR Marquise Goodwin

-As a former track star this is no surprise, but Goodwin can just fly down the field. I will say some corners were highly impressive with running with him, but Goodwin is my favorite for top 40 time at the combine.

Slowest Runner (RB/WR/DB): WR Chris Harper

This is tougher to judge, but Harper is more of a possession receiver and may even be better as a movement TE with some extra weight. He just didn't have the burst that the other receivers, running backs and DB's had.

Best Late Round Value Picks (Offense): WR Conner Vernon, TE Michael Williams, OL Garrett Gilkey, OL Terron Armstead, TE Nick Kasa

-All of these guys should go in the 5th-7th rounds yet should quickly be able to impact a team. Some of them have higher ceilings, but the key here is a low bust factor and an ability to contribute even if it is as a 2nd stringer.

Best Late Round Value Picks (Defense): S J.J. Wilcox, DL Cornelius Washington, LB Ty Powell, S Duke Williams, DT Montori Hughes

Similar to the offensive guys, you should find these guys on the board in the 5th-7th rounds and they should find a way to contribute early.

Players who had the best all-around week (practice and game)

Best Quarterback: Mike Glennon

Best Running back: Stepfan Taylor

Best Tight End: Michael Williams

Best Wide Receiver:  WR Quinton Patton

Best Offensive Tackle: Eric Fisher

Best Interior Offensive lineman: Larry Warford

Best Defensive End: tie Ezekial Ansah and Alex Okafor

Best Defensive Tackle: tie Montori Huges and Kawann Short

Best Inside Linebacker: Kevin Reddick

Best Outside Linebacker: Sean Porter

Best Cornerback: tie Jordan Poyer and Desmond Trufant

Best Safety: T.J. McDonald

Best Punter: Ryan Allen

Best Kicker: Dustin Hopkins

Senior Bowl Preview: Who and What to Watch

January 26, 2013 in 2013 Senior Bowl

The first thing to remember when watching the Senior Bowl game today is that this is just a very small portion of the scouting process. The practices, the interviews, and even the weigh-in all play a much bigger role than their performance in the game in evaluating a player this week.

This is due to two main reasons: 1. the sample size in the game is extremely small, quarter backs may be lucky for 10-12 attempts in this game, compared to practice when they were throwing the ball probably 50-60 times (at least). 2. the game is more restrictive in terms of what you can do from a defensive perspective, where as in practice you had guys blitzing more or playing press coverage making things much more difficult. Now that is not to say that you can't watch this game from a draft perspective to gain some insight, but don't focus on the results.

Two years ago Jake Locker had better "numbers" than Collin Kaepernick, but if you watched the game and saw that Locker got a lot of "yards" from the screen game and Kaepernick's interception wasn't his fault. Scouts watch these games based on what actually happens in the play not what the play results in. A quarterback who throws a perfect pass but is intercepted because it bounced off the receivers hands, is going to be viewed far more favorably than a quarterback who throws a seven yard slant that the receiver runs for 80 yards for the score with.

Saying all of that there are still some great stories and players to watch:

South quarterbacks and receivers versus the North defensive backs:

The corners and safeties on the North squad have been far better this week than the South squad so this could be a wake up call for some of the South's top signal callers and receivers. Any time you see Terrence Williams or Quinton Patton lined up versus Jordan Poyer and Desmond Trufant it should be a fun battle to watch.

North Offensive Line versus the South Defensive Line:

The lineman battling in practice.

The lineman battling in practice.

Eric Fisher, Kyle Long, Justin Pugh and company could have their hands full with Ezekial Ansah, Malliciah Goodman, Montori Hughes and John Jenkins. It should lead to some really good match-ups and it will be interesting to see who gets the better of it.

Return Men, who can get the job done:

Both squads feature a number of receivers, running backs and defensive backs who will look to increase their value in the return game. A lot of focus will be on North receiver Denard Robinson, but expect a couple of other guys to look even better. RB Kenjon Barner and WR Marquise Goodwin from the North are two to watch, while on the South team look for DB Robert Alford and DB B.W. Webb to shine.

5 Players to Watch South Roster:

QB Tyler Wilson, Arkansas:

Wilson has had a big week so far and it would be nice for him to cap it off with a strong game. He's shown a nice accurate pass and has been better than expected with his footwork. Wilson has worked his way up into the 2nd round range and could continue to see his stock rise.

RB Stepfan Taylor, Stanford:

Has arguably had the best week of any player on the South squad and I'd expect him to keep it up today. Running backs are one position that can get a pretty fair look in these games (rule changes don't impact them as much), so it should be an intriguing test. He's shown great burst and vision throughout the week and I'd expect a big game for him.

Taylor cutting through the line at practice.

Taylor cutting through the line at practice.

WR Quinton Patton, Louisiana Tech:

Patton wasn't as heralded as some other receivers down here this week, but he really was on par or better than the majority of them. Look for him to be a favorite target of the South quarterbacks this game.

OL Larry Warford, Kentucky:

Warford really showed well in practice versus the likely first round pick John Jenkins all week and has one more chance to wow scouts. I expect him to have a big day against a pretty formidable North defensive line.

DL Montori Hughes, Tennessee Martin:

Every time you watched him this week you came away more and more impressed, I would expect that to continue in this game. He's a big physical kid, with great power and quickness.

5 Players to Watch North Roster:

WR Marquise Goodwin, Texas:

Not a high profile guy coming into this week, but he showed excellent speed. Expect him to fly around the field and come up with some big plays.

OL Eric Fisher, Central Michigan:

Kyle Long and Eric Fisher of North offensive line.

Kyle Long and Eric Fisher of North offensive line.

Just a tremendous all-around week for him, look for him to continue his dominance and to cement a top 15 pick status after this game.

DB Desmond Trufant, Washington:

He had a big week with a lot of highlight plays, will really like to see him versus Patton and Williams and what instincts he shows on the field.

DB T.J. McDonald, USC:

Really had a quiet, but strong week, showing nice coverage and decision making. I'd expect a big hit or two something that he really couldn't showcase in practice.

DL Margus Hunt, SMU:

One of my personal favorites, he had an up-and-down week, but the potential is there. I could see him making a flashy play or two, and don't be surprised if it is a blocked FG/extra point.

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Senior Bowl North Practice Report – Day 3 Led by Eric Fisher & Mike Glennon

January 25, 2013 in 2013 Senior Bowl

Wednesday's North Practice Report. Check out South's Wednesday Practice Report here!

Quarterbacks:

Mike Glennon, NC State:

Glennon continues to be the best quarterback on the North Squad. He is at his best when he can set his feet and throw deeper and intermediate routes. When asked to move around he struggles a bit more and always seems to sail a couple of throws. Overall though he had a strong practice and did a nice job improving his touch, especially in 1-on-1's.

Ryan Nassib, Syracuse:

Nassib doesn't have the big arm or velocity of Glennon, but makes up for it with his mobility and decision making which both are above Glennon. Overall he might not be able to match Glennon this week, but he's done a good job of keeping his draft stock on the plus side. He had a number of really nice throws in 7-on-7's and did a good job overall.

Zac Dysert, Miami (Ohio):

Zach Dysert in North practice.

Zach Dysert in North practice.

Dysert continues to struggle at practice, he'll make some big throws, but follows them up with too many mistakes. He's got nice toughness and you can see some mobility, but right now he's a guy that will need to develop for a couple of years.

Running backs:

Jonathan Franklin, UCLA:

Franklin has had a big week overall, but this was probably his best practice. He is so fluid in his running that he changes direction on a dime and doesn't  slow down when making moves. He was very effective throughout practice but was at his best during the scrimmage. He runs with nice pad level and decision making.

Kenjon Barner, Oregon:

Barner can really run, and he looks explosive when the ball is in his hands, unfortunately some limitations are clear as well. He doesn't have natural hands dropping a reception and bobbling another (something that has occurred throughout the week), and he really struggles in pass protection drills. It's also not clear if he'll be capable of breaking too many tackles, seems to be wrapped up easily enough.

Wide Receiver:

Aaron Mellette, Elon:

Mellette had another strong showing. He has nice speed and quickness and is one of the best route runners down here this week. He had a really good day catching the football and getting separation on some big plays. I also like that even when he doesn't get separation he still makes a fair number of catches. That is what he's going to have to deal with in the NFL, so it is nice to see him able to get an early start on catching the football in tight windows.

Aaron Dobson, Marshall:

Dobson had a really nice day showing his size and speed. He catches just about everything thrown his way and does well when working outside the numbers. I like that on more than one occasion he did a nice job of making sure to toe tap or drag his feet along the side line/end zone.

Markus Wheaton, Oregon State:

Wheaton really looks to be a nice slot receiver prospect. He is very fluid in his route running and shows a lot of short area quickness as well as some long speed. His hands are pretty good as well as he doesn't let many balls get into his body. My lone concern is his ability to get off a jam, but other than that he looks to be a very interesting WR.

Denard Robinson, Michigan:

It may have been a bit better for Robinson in his first day of full contact, but for every nice play he made there were 4-5 poor plays. The biggest concern continues to be his inability to field punts and kicks cleanly. He's going to have to make it as a special teamer to start, and right now that is very shaky. While he does show great quickness, his long speed isn't perhaps as elite as advertised. Corners had little issue running with him down the seem or on a post route.

Offensive Line:

Eric Fisher, CMU:

Another great day for Fisher who dominated all day. He rarely gives and inch showing a great base, footwork and power.

Defensive line:

Margus Hunt, SMU:

A bit of an up-and-down day for Hunt, but he continues to show excellent power and speed as a bull rusher.

Cornerback:

Desmond Trufant, Washington:

Trufant continued to have a great week of practice. He did get beat a couple of times initially, but recovered on just about every play. The one concern is can he still recover when the receivers he's going against are guys like A.J. Green, Calvin Johnson, and Roddy White. Still makes a lot of flashy plays, but would like to see him show better technique.

Jordan Poyer, Oregon State:

Poyer didn't have many memorable plays today, but partly that is due to not allowing receivers to get separation in the first place. He's probably the most technically sound corner here and should easily be able to start right away.

Safety:

T.J. McDonald, USC:

He did get beat once, but otherwise had a really strong practice, he all but shut down tight ends today, and diagnosed the play multiple times during full team scrimmage drills. He's got really good athleticism and is playing far better this week than his senior year at USC.

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Senior Bowl Day Two Practice Report: North (Part 2) Led by Alex Okafor

January 22, 2013 in 2013 Senior Bowl

In part 1 of my North practice report I highlighted some quarterbacks and receivers that had strong days, here are the rest of my thoughts on the days practice.

Wide Receivers:

Marquise Goodwin, Texas:

Goodwin showed great speed and was really crisp in his route running as well. He missed a couple of catches, but for the most part caught the ball extremely well. My one concern with him is he jumped for almost all his catches. Granted he's under 5'9" and some of those he needed to jump for (note: he had a very impressive vertical), but others he needs to be able to snatch out of the air and not leave his feet.

Aaron Dobson, Marshall:

Dobson had a good all-around practice though he did leave due to injury for about a third of it. When he came back though he looked back to full strength as he showed good speed and quickness. I liked his hands and route running ability the most.

Alec Lemon, Syracuse:

Lemon was a late add, but turned on an impressive performance in his first practice. He really was a nice route runner and displayed good hands. Lemon doesn't have great speed, but did show some change of direction quickness. He looks like he could be an interesting slot receiver or possession guy.

Offensive Line:

Braxston Cave, Notre Dame:

Cave struggled some in 1-on-1's lacking the anchor or strength to win versus some of the top DT's here. He also had a couple poor center exchanges though without really breaking down what happened via replay it is tough to say if they were his fault or the quarterbacks.

David Quessenberry, San Jose State:

Quessenberry doesn't have the profile of some of the bigger names here, but he's more than held his own. Like everyone he's struggled some versus Okafor, Hunt and Jones, but he hasn't made it easy for them. He shows good quickness and nice footwork overall. His punch isn't the best, but other than that there is a lot to like for his future.

Brian Winters, Kent State:

Winters had an extremely strong practice, he didn't give up much ground and it didn't seem to matter who he was facing. He also has a bit of a mean streak as would take guys to the ground. He showed both power and movement, though I still don't think his feet are good enough for left tackle full time.

Ricky Wagner, Wisconsin:

Disappointing practice for Wagner as he looked to be a step behind the other tackles. He won his fair share of battles, but when he lost (usually to Okafor) he lost bad. Some times when a lineman loses in a drill or scrimmage you think that it might have only ended up a pressure or QB hit (which still isn't good), since you really don't know always if the defender would get home. Wagner though lost his man so quickly/badly that it clearly would have ended up a sack. Some promise is there, but the footwork is inconsistent.

Justin Pugh, Syracuse:

Pugh had a really good day overall, he fared well at times versus both Okafor and Jones (the two guys who were the standard for every OT), but he also lost them a couple of times. He's much more a finesse blocker, who fits in a movement system. I love his footwork and athletic ability.

Eric Fisher, Central Michigan:

Fisher was pretty dominant all day, swallowing up defender after defender. He did lose bad to Jones on one play, but had no problem with him the very next go. He's incredibly athletic and shows really nice footwork and an anchor. He's got everything you are looking for in a starting LT and is moving his way up draft boards to the top 15.

Defensive Line:

Michael Buchanan, Illinois:

Buchanan shows some nice edge speed, but he's not strong enough or have any counter moves to get past any of the better tackles. Really looks to be only a situational player right now.

Kawannn Short, Purdue:

Very strong practice, liked how he got off the ball quickly, showed excellent power and strength inside. Showed nice pursuit and hustle on plays that went away from him.

Jordan Hill, Penn State:

Hill looks the part and was very quick off the snap, but too often lost leverage by playing too high. When he stayed low he usually won inside and got penetration, when he stood up he was pretty ineffective.

Margus Hunt, SMU:

You can tell that there is a rawness to his game, but you can also quickly see that he has dominant potential. He has a lot of athletic ability and really good strength. Some times his play recognition or technique is off, but overall the potential is through the roof.

Datone Jones, UCLA:

Really had a nice day for the most part. He had by far the best run versus Eric Fisher, running right over him. He also had some nice runs versus Quesenberry and Pugh where he showed his strength. He also got handled at times, and was quieter in the scrimmage portion of the practice.

Alex Okafor, Texas:

Okafor had the best day of any defender, consistently beating his man, getting a ton of penetration/pressure. He definitely looks like he can handle staying a 4-3 defensive end, and should go in the late first round.

Secondary:    jordanpoyer

Jordan Poyer, Oregon State:

Really liked Poyer's practice today, he was all over the field making a number of good plays. I thought he broke on routes well, displayed a nice back pedal and flipped his hips well. He still struggled some running deep, but he's not getting burned. He's at his best when the play is in front of him and he can break to the ball, but he seems very capable of starting right away.

Johnathan Cyprien, Florida International:

Crprien displayed nice athleticism and good hitting ability (even though it there wasn't big hitting), he struggled a couple of times in coverage, but overall had a nice all-around practice.

Dwayne Gratz, UConn:

Really good day for Gratz, it wasn't elite, but I thought it was a day that exceeded expectations. He did get beat a couple times by receivers, but he also beat them a number of times as well. He showed really nice ball skills I thought.

Phillip Thomas, Fresno State:

Didn't really wow me today in what I considered an underwhelming performance. Allowed too much separation by both tight ends and receivers on a couple of plays. Didn't take good angles to the ball, which one time would have allowed the receiver an easy path to the end zone if the CB didn't make the tackle. Really didn't see many standout plays from him.

T.J. McDonald, USC:

McDonald made a couple of nice plays in coverage, but for the most part didn't have many opportunities. He did do well in some other areas though. He was probably the best at covering tight ends in man, running with them stride for stride each time, and not conceding the inside leverage. He also took really good angles in pursuit. One time on a run Barner got to the edge, and McDonald did a nice job of not overcommiting, using the sideline to his advantage.

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Defensive End Rankings

December 7, 2012 in Defensive Player Rankings

Defensive End Rankings | 2013 NFL Draft Updated: April 12:

1. Bjoern Werner, FSU          

2. Dion Jordan, Oregon              

3. Ziggy Ansah, BYU

4. Damontre Moore, Texas A&M

5. Datone Jones, UCLA

6. Alex Okafor, Texas

7. Margus Hunt, SMU

8. John Simon, Ohio State

9. Cornellius Carradine, FSU

10. Sam Montgomery, LSU

11. Malliciah Goodman, Clemson

12. Corey Lemonier, Auburn

13. Devin Taylor, South Carolina

14. Lavar Edwards, LSU

15. William Gholston, Michigan State

16. David Bass, Missouri Western State

17. Wes Horton, USC

18. Meshak Williams, Kansas State

19. Walter Stewart, Cincinnati

20. Michael Buchanan, Illinois

21. Scott Vallone, Rutgers

22. Stansly Maponga, TCU

23. Joe Kruger, Utah

24. Quanterus Smith, Western Kentucky

25. Eric Martin, Nebraska

26. Tremayne Scott, Ohio

 

*Note:  Most of these prospects are versatile enough to stand-up in a 3-4 defense, and some of the bigger ends would kick inside in a 4-man front.

Another very deep position group, with both impact talent and good later round depth. As noted many of these guys will be drafted as either rush linebackers in 3-4 schemes, so while the actual distinction can get confusing, one thing is clear throughout this class and that is that they can rush the passer. There are a number of impact rushers in this draft class, and while many of them will be off the board in the top two rounds, there are some intriguing later round options as well.