Just a week left before the 2016 NFL Combine kicks off as the offensive linemen and running backs are set to take field next Friday. But before anyone runs a forty yard dash across the turf in Lucas Oil Stadium, here’s the latest news as team prepare to ascend on Indianapolis.
Eyebrows were raised when I reported from Shrine Game practice that a number of teams grade Kevin Dodd over his Clemson teammate Shaq Lawson and as time passes those rumblings continue to get louder. Much has to do with the fact team’s believe Dodd brings more upside and a higher ceiling compared to Lawson. Dodd is expected to measure 6-feet/5-inches and 275lbs at the combine and has a height advantage over Lawson. As of this posting Dodd has been informed he will only be asked to participate in defensive line work at the combine despite the fact there are a number of 3-4 teams considering him at outside linebacker. He has been working on linebacker techniques with former NFL defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell and will run through OLB position drills during Pro-day if asked. I’m told his forty goal at the combine is 4.8-seconds or faster.
Could the Arizona Cardinals be a landing spot for Dodd in round one? Yes, potentially, as I’m told the team will target defensive ends in the first round and also hope to add a safety in the early part of the draft.
If the Buffalo Bills don’t grab a quarterback in the first frame one player at the position they will consider later is Kevin Hogan of Stanford. I was informed the team came away from the Senior Bowl very impressed with his athleticism as well as his arm strength and really like his next level potential.
I graded tight end Jerell Adams as a 7th round pick prior to really digging into the South Carolina game film last week. Since finishing up there’s definitely a need to adjust my grade. I later spoke with people around the league who believe Adams made major strides in 2015 and went from being a basketball player on the football field in 2014 to becoming a tight end last season. Teams are not only awed by his athleticism (Adams is hoping to run in the low 4.6’s and vertical jump at least 37-inches at the combine after weighing in near 248-pounds) but the toughness he displayed as a blocker during the Senior Bowl. Given the overall weakness at the position its not unrealistic Adams becomes the fourth tight end off the board in April.
One non-combine tight end prospect that’s always intrigued me is Michigan’s A.J. Williams. The senior was not rated by teams entering the season but has garnered a lot of interest from both the New York Jets and Dallas Cowboys recently. Williams has offensive tackle size at 6-feet/5-inches and almost 270-pounds but moves well about the field and is a solid short range passing catching target. Expect him to time in the 4.8’s during Michigan pro-day and though Williams may not be selected in the draft, he’ll have an opportunity next season as a third tight end brought onto the field during short yardage situations or in the red zone.
In the lead up to the combine teams have been buzzing over Kamalei Correa of Boise State. The junior, who lined up at defensive end in college, is projected to outside linebacker by most though some teams feel he could play inside in a 3-4 alignment. The Broncos bowl game against Northern Illinois offered scouts a glimpse into the versatility and athleticism of Correa, intangibles more and more teams want at inside linebacker. I’m told Correa will measure 6-feet/3-inches and 245lbs at the combine, with his goal in the forty being the mid 4.7’s.
Prior to the season Boston College linebacker Steven Daniels received little notice from scouts despite productive junior and sophomore campaigns when he combined for 160 tackles. Although the Senior Bowl was stacked with terrific middle/inside linebacker prospects many thought Daniels was worthy of an invitation to Mobile and it was a travesty he was not asked to play at the Shrine Game. In the end it won’t matter as Daniels will be working out for teams next Sunday at the combine. He’ll likely measure a shade under 6-feet tall and should tip the scales in the mid-240’s. Expect Daniels forty time to be somewhere in the high 4.7’s to low 4.8’s. Presently I grade him as a sixth round prospect.