With the Senior Bowl barely 48 hours in the books what’s the word trickling out from NFL teams and scouts as they finally reach home? Edition one focuses on broken rules and one of the fastest receivers in the draft. Jan 29th: Super Sleeper at Receiver getting a lot of attention!
– The name making the rounds in the scouting community as one of the biggest sleepers at the receiver position is Courtney Gardner of Sierra College. The 6-foot, 3-inch/220lb pass catcher was expected to play for Oklahoma in 2013 but opted for the NFL draft after academic “difficulties”. We hear scouts have been raving about the physical skills Gardner brings to the field. Besides his large frame the big pass catcher also has the speed (10.7 sec in the 100 meters) to match. Even college coaches in the area are awed by his ability on the field but focusing at the task at hand seems to be an issue.
– Rule of thumb has always been Senior Bowl practices are more important than the Senior Bowl game. Its something I bought into since attending my first Senior Bowl practice in 2000. But to quote an old adage, rules are made to be broken. Such is the case with Ezikial Ansah, who had his moments during three days of practice but wowed scouts with his performance in the game. Several sources say teams were blown away by Ansah’s game and there are now lots of comparisons being made between the BYU product and New York Giants All-Pro Jason Pierre Paul. Like Pierre-Paul teams feel Ansah has the ability to develop into an impact player on the defensive line. We are now hearing Ansah is a definite mid-first round choice and should be selected anywhere between picks 14-to-18.
– Wide out Marquise Goodwin of Texas continues receiving rave reviews after his performance last week and has flown up draft boards. As one insider said this evening “he has never seen anyone gobble up ground as fast as Goodwin.” The Longhorn wide out looks like a second day lock.
– On the flip side the draft stock of Oregon lineman Kyle Long seems to be headed in the other direction. Despite a solid senior campaign scouts we spoke with feel it may take a while before Long is NFL ready. Not surprising since he just moved to the offensive line, yet many thought it would be a quick process for Long coming into the week. Right now we hear most teams project him as a third round pick.
The final day of full pads practice is in the books as NFL teams begin the mass exodus from Mobile, Alabama. As they leave the buzz is filtering out who scouts liked as well as who they did not. Here’s a look. Notes Updated for 1/25!
– Scouts told me one of the biggest disappointments watching Denard Robinson during Senior Bowl practices was the fact he looked unprepared to play receiver and field returns.
– I’ve been told Ryan Nassib interviewed well all week.
– It was announced at Wednesday practice that offensive lineman Kyle Long may play in the game tomorrow. I don’t know if that’s officially changed but know this much; several scouts in the stands wondered why, if Long missed practiced due to the flu, food poisoning or dehydration, why was playing in the game even an option at that point.
– We’ve been told right now most teams have DeMarcus Milliner/Alabama, Desmond Trufant/Washington, Xavier Rhodes/Florida State, Jonathan Banks/Miss State, Blidi Wreh-Wilson/UConn, Jamar Taylor/Boise State and Darius Slay/Miss State as the top seven cornerbacks on their board. I was surprised what little mention Logan Ryan/Rutgers received. I was also specifically told that while Leon McFadden/San Diego State (as favorite of ours from last week) improved his standing during Senior Bowl practice, his height (5096) is an issue. Am also told teams like Jordan Poyer/Oregon State but speed is a big question, which is little surprise.
Wednesday, January 23rd
-We’ve been told the Buffalo Bills are not as high on Ryan Nassib as most presume. In fact we’ve heard their scouts don’t even rank him as the best quarterback in Mobile.
– A quarterback coach we trust in made a fair point on Mike Glennon’s first round potential; teams will have to decide whether or not he’s coachable and a quick learner. If those answers turn out to be affirmative then he will be a first round pick.
– Scouts told us the players who helped themselves the most the past three days were Lane Johnson/T/Oklahoma, Ezekial Ansah/DE/BYU, Leon McFaddenCB/San Diego State and Quinton Patton/WR/Louisiana Tech.
– On the flip side the consensus is Chase Thomas/LB/Stanford and Braxston Cave/C/Notre Dame were the two players who have watched their stock plummet.
– TJ McDonald/S/USC is being described by some scouts as a “better version of Taylor Mays”.
– Teams loved the play of Datone Jones/DL/UCLA during Senior Bowl practices but think he won’t be selected early in the draft. The feeling is he has no real position at the next level and is a hard schematic fit. Right now most say third round.
– As we’ve been writing all week, Markus Wheaton/Oregon State and Marquise Goodwin/Texas, were both big winners at the receiver position.
– Scouts have said Desmond Trufant/CB/Washington is a lock first round pick. Will Davis/CB/Utah State is being graded as a fourth rounder with Jamar Taylor/CB/Boise State a third round pick. Phillip Thomas/S/Fresno State is graded as a second round choice.
– A few scouts have said Justin Pugh/OL/Syracuse best projects to guard at the next level and will be a third round choice.
– Unless things change most scouts have graded Denard Robinson/WR/Michigan, as a last day pick.
Notes: Tomorrow is a travel day and the practice pages for the North and South will be updated Thursday and Friday.