– We continue to hear nothing but good things about Boise State running back Doug Martin off of last week. Several scouts have stamped Martin with a first round grade. And though a first round grade does not necessarily mean Martin ends up a top 32 pick, he won’t be far off.
– On the other hand Chris Polk may have been better off applying for a red-shirt season and returning to school as the former Washington running back is taking a tumble down draft boards. Scouts were less than impressed by his ball carrying skills during Senior Bowl practices. Polk looked very straight-linish and upright taking hand-offs, displaying no ability to create yardage. Worse yet we’ve been told by several sources his interviews during the week were awful. Scouts were caught off guard by many of the responses Polk gave to questions posed. The answers to follow-up questions were just as worrisome for scouts who completed interviews. Polk is now being graded as a last day pick by a number of teams.
– More and more people we’ve spoken with feel that Nebraska cornerback Alfonzo Dennard will ultimately be ranked as a safety by teams come draft time. They point to his body type, specifically a thick lower body, and the stiffness he displayed all week.
– Georgia cornerback Brandon Boykin is moving in the opposite direction on boards. The feisty cover man impressed scouts with his speed and quickness to the action. His ball skills really stood out and Boykin now grades as top 75 choice.
– Don’t stamp Janoris Jenkins with a first round grade just yet. We’ve been told his height (5′ 9.5″) is a concern and teams are not sold that Jenkins will be an immediate starter at the next level, intangibles that could push him into the second round.
– Utah State linebacker Bobby Wagner is another that has been much talked about after his performance at the Senior Bowl. Scouts loved his combination of athleticism and smarts. We presently rank Wagner as a 3rd rounder but have been told he will go much earlier than anyone presently predicts.
– Scouts were justifiably impressed by the play of Shea McClellin from Boise State. The college defensive end made the seamless transition to linebacker all week as we reported. Now scouts want to see how McClellin runs at the combine. The consensus the past few days is times in the low 4.7’s will secure McClellin a spot in the second day of the draft.
– Praise continues to be heaped on Mitchell Schwartz of Cal. Teams like his versatility and feel he’ll be an invaluable back-up at all the offensive line positions in the NFL. What’s strange is with all the trouble the North squad had with quarterback/center exchanges at the Senior Bowl, Schwartz stepped in Monday immediately after Garth Gerhart was injured and did a solid job at center, yet was never used on the pivot again during the week.
– We were high in our praise of Washington defensive tackle Alameda Ta’amu, especially after his performance during the Senior Bowl game. Reviews have been mixed though and some thought his week in Mobile was reminiscent of his career at Washington; dominant on some occasions yet rather ordinary in many other instances. The frustration is not with his ability rather the consistency of his game.
– A few final notes from the Shrine Game. We spoke glowingly of Cal punter Bryan Anger, whose moon shots during Shrine practice made the eyes hurt watching them. We were not the only ones to notice as several scouts stamped Anger with a second round grade as they left St Petersburg.
– While at the players hotel in St Pete we inquired about North Carolina State outside linebacker Terrell Manning, a player we like yet were surprised to see he entered the draft. Sources told me Manning had made his mind up to enter the draft during the season. While he enjoyed his time at NCSU, Manning was done with college football and felt it was time to move on.