Shawn Zobel

Live from the Senior Bowl

print article archives RSS

Live from the Senior Bowl

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Shawn Zobel will be in Mobile, Alabama all week covering the Senior Bowl activities for Rotoworld.

Wednesday is usually the final day of official practices for both teams at the Senior Bowl, with Thursday and Friday's practices typically being more walk-throughs. Wednesday's practices featured some great performances, and some that left something to be desired. Here are my notes from Wednesday's practices:

North Practice

Quarterbacks – It's clear now that Dan LeFevour of Central Michigan and Tony Pike of Cincinnati have moved ahead of Sean Canfield of Oregon State. LeFevour is a more complete quarterback, while Pike has a strong arm and is capable of making more of the throws that an NFL quarterback needs to make. Pike and LeFevour have both established themselves as second-to-third round picks, while Canfield's struggles this week has left him as a mid-to-late round prospect. The Beavers' lefty has had trouble both with arm strength and accuracy and has not improved his stock this week, but rather hurt it.

Running Backs – It was good to see Oregon running back LeGarrette Blount help to improve his draft stock this week. After being suspended for the majority of the regular season for punching a player in the opening game of the year, Blount has shown this week that he hasn't lost any of the talent or skills that many people saw in him when he was being projected as high as a second round pick back in September. Blount has done a good job carrying the ball between the tackles as well as being an active player as a blocker in the passing game. I wouldn't say that Blount will go in the first few rounds, but I think that he's re-elevated his draft stock and now stands a chance of being selected in the middle of the draft. Wayne State running back Joique Bell has helped himself this week and has taken advantage of the exposure that he has received down here in Mobile. He's not the fastest or quickest back, but he certainly has the talent to play in the NFL. Tony Sparano mentioned last night at the press conference that it is hard to scout running backs during practice because no one is going completely full-speed in team drills; you have to wait until the game on Saturday to fully evaluate the performance of the running backs.

Wide Recevers/Tight Ends – I think that most of the receivers here this week have helped themselves. Ohio's Taylor Price has had the best week, showing explosion in and out of his breaks, and has shown that he's capable of making acrobatic catches. He does a terrific job of catching the ball away from his body. Price could go as high as the second or third round after this week. Clemson's Jacoby Ford has shown his quickness and speed and has also done a good job as a punt returner this week. Missouri's Danario Alexander is a very large target, and it's even more apparent when you see him in person. He has the frame and talent to develop into a fine No. 2 wideout in the NFL. Cincinnati's Mardy Gilyard has had an inconsistent week. He's dropped too many passes, but he's also displayed his terrific athleticism as a receiver down the field. I still see Gilyard as a third round pick in this year's loaded draft. At tight end, Ed Dickson of Oregon has elevated himself to being the top senior tight end and has passed USC's Anthony McCoy. Dickson has terrific athleticism and is an underrated blocker in the run game. He could go as high as the third round as well.

Offensive LineMike Iupati of Idaho was the story of the week down here. His huge from with long arms has scouts wondering if he can move out to tackle. He struggled at left tackle yesterday, but he was moved to right tackle today, and it was really a night-and-day difference. He looked like a stud at right tackle, handling Arkansas State's Alex Carrington and showing the power and strength needed to hold up at the point of attack. Iupati's best fit is at guard, but I wouldn't be surprised if he was drafted to eventually develop into a right tackle. Outside of one play where he was absolutely flattened by Carrington, Arizona State offensive guard Shawn Lauvao has had a great week. Yesterday he handled Penn State's Jared Odrick with ease and he showed great power and strength with a firm grip today in practice. His upper body strength is excellent and it showed this week in pass blocking drills. One of the biggest disappointments of the week was Massachusetts' offensive tackle Vladimir Ducasse. Ducasse entered the week with a ton of hype, but lived up to absolutely none of it, as he was manhandled all week by opposing defensive linemen. He looked out of place and seemed lost at times this week. He's clearly a talented player with terrific athleticism, but he's extremely raw and will need to be coaching and polishing at the next level. He has starting potential in the NFL, but not anytime soon. The two offensive linemen from Notre Dame, center Eric Olsen and tackle Sam Young, both struggled this week and lowered their respective draft grades. Olsen showed a lack of strength on the interior of the line and Young was one of the worst offensive linemen on either roster this week.

Defensive Line – Michigan's Brandon Graham stood out over any of the other defensive linemen. He was explosive off the ball and showed great strength at the point of attack. He's a complete defensive end whose best fit in the NFL will come as a 4-3 end or as a 3-4 outside rush linebacker. Graham is a second-round prospect who could creep into the late-first with a great Combine workout. Alex Carrington of Arkansas State has had a great week of practice and has really elevated his draft stock. I mentioned on Tuesday on my site that Carrington reminds me a little of Jason Jones of Eastern Michigan from a couple of years ago. Both players are small-school types, same size at 6-5, 280 lbs as well. Jones plays end and tackle in the Tennessee Titan's 4-3 alignment, and I could see Carrington having the same type of success there as well. At defensive tackle, North Carolina's Cam Thomas had the best week of any player at his position. His strength on the interior of the line was outstanding and he showed that he's capable of penetrating the pocket against elite competition with ease. Thomas' stock is on fire and he could be a fast riser as we approach late-April. Wisconsin's O'Brien Schofield is clearly the one player that hurt his draft stock the most. He tore his ACL on Monday on a pass rush play against Vladimir Ducasse. For a player whose greatest strength is his explosion off the edge, Schofield's reconstructed knee is going to be a major concern for teams in the NFL. What he can hope for is that a team will draft him and stash him on injured reserve and let him develop and rehab for a year, kind of like a redshirt year in college football.

Linebackers – Missouri's Sean Weatherspoon was the talk of the linebacker group, both for his play and for his leadership; Weatherspoon was by far the loudest and most vocal player on the field during the North practices and you could see how his teammates were feeding off of his energy. I have Weatherspoon rated as a second-round pick. TCU's Daryl Washington showed athleticism this week and he has shown the that he has the tools needed to start in the NFL. Utah's Koa Misi was tried at both linebacker and defensive end this week, and it was clear that linebacker is his better option. He was overpowered by the big offensive linemen at end, however he did a pretty good job in coverage and showed that he's capable of making plays in space.

Secondary – No player helped themselves more this week than Boise State cornerback Kyle Wilson. The stud defensive back exhibited shutdown-type of ability, mirroring opposing wide receivers in and out of their breaks as well as down the field. Wilson is at his best in press coverage, however he's also shown that he can play off and zone coverage as well. Wilson has established himself as the top senior cornerback in this year's draft and has a realistic chance of going at the end of the first round. Two other players who really helped themselves were Virginia's Chris Cook and Cal's Syd'Quan Thompson. Cook has a tall frame at 6-2 and he's a smooth athlete who is capable of playing man-to-man coverage at the line. He was a bit of an unknown coming into the week but he's really helped himself out. Thompson is a shorter corner who gets by with his physical play; he's an active player in defending the run and is very instinctive in reading the quarterback's eyes and making a play on the ball. At safety, Notre Dame's Kyle McCarthy did the best job in coverage. He's a smart, instinctive player who is always around the football. He does a good job of reading that quarterback and trying to make plays on the ball. Of all of the defensive backs, I thought that Ohio State's Kurt Coleman struggled the most. He has stiff hips and didn't offer much of a challenge in coverage. He's more of a strong safety in the NFL than he is a free safety.


continue story »
12
Shawn Zobel runs Draftheadquarters.com
Email :Shawn Zobel



Highest Searched Players over the last 7 days



Video Center

  •  
    FFL: How to rank Julio Jones

    FFL: How to rank Julio Jones
  •  
    FFL: WR debates/rankings

    FFL: WR debates/rankings
  •  
    FFL: Bounceback for Wallace?

    FFL: Bounceback for Wallace?
  •  
    FFL: Terrance Williams love?

    FFL: Terrance Williams love?
  •  
    FFL: Westbrook

    FFL: Westbrook's surprise RBs
  •  
    FFL: 2014 potential busts

    FFL: 2014 potential busts
  •  
    FFL: Who should go No. 1?

    FFL: Who should go No. 1?
  •  
    FFL: Over/Under in 2014

    FFL: Over/Under in 2014