Scouts and a few general managers traveled to San Antonio this weekend for the Texas vs. The Nation contest. While we were not on hand we’ve received reports from many of the scouts and people who were on hand. Here’s our initial account, which will be updated later on Friday/Saturday. Update 11PM: More Player Additions & the Dixie Grid Iron in shambles
The conditions by all accounts were miserable, as anyone that’s watched the weather in Texas would know. Practices were held outdoors and on Tuesday it was 16-degrees. The conditions hampered the ability to practice as players were unprepared. Few had gloves or warm weather clothes. The second practice on Tuesday was called off after just 48-minutes. The teams were able to move into the Alamo Dome on Wednesday for practice. A boating convention in the facility made it impossible for practice to be held in the dome early in the week. Several told us the greatest value this week was not the play on the field but the interviews several players completed with the teams on hand.
Here’s the lowdown:
Kenrick Ellis/DT/Hampton: Ellis flashed dominance throughout the week, displaying great quickness, use of hands and playing with good pad level. Most we spoke with said that while he looked terrific Ellis is anywhere from 10-to-15 pounds overweight.
Christian Anthony/DE/Grambling: To a man everyone told us Anthony looked impressive all week. He was explosive, athletic and made his presence felt each day. His pass rushing skills were some of the best of anyone in attendance. He does get a little tall but overall it was a successful outing for Anthony.
Derek Newton/OT/Arkansas State: Looked like one of the best offensive linemen in attendance. Lined up on both the left and right side. He was athletic, moved well and used his long arms to dominate opponents.
Spencer Paysinger/OLB/Oregon: Looked explosive and agile. Showed terrific vision and instincts in practice. Fluid moving sideline-to-sideline and looked very athletic.
Jamari Lattimore/OLB/Middle Tennessee St: The pass rush extraordinaire moved from the defensive end position he played at MTSU and was used solely at linebacker. According to all the transition was smooth as Lattimore was fast getting to the flanks and showed ability making plays in space.
Chris Prosinksi/S/Wyoming: Prosinski impressed everyone with his hard-hitting and intimidating style. Most commented he plays the safety position like a linebacker yet he is undersized and showed marginal ball skills.
Craig Marshall/DL/South Florida: Marshall lined up at both tackle and end, looking fluid and athletic. He showed quickness up the field as well as the movement skills to get to the sidelines in pursuit.
Vance Cuff/CB/Georgia: One of the better corners in attendance. Showed well in coverage and displayed next level ball skills.
Taylor Potts/QB/Texas Tech: Was one of the better signal callers in attendance. Showed a decent arm and accurate with passes.
Nathan Enderle/QB/Idaho: Enderle had a rough start but finished strong. Part of the problem was implementing the spread offense the Nation team will use in the game. Enderle had a lot of his passes dropped, in part because of the weather and in part because he does not put touch on throws.
Jarriel King/OL/South Carolina: For the most part did a good job displaying quickness, athleticism and good footwork in pass protection drills.
Daniel Kilgore/OL/Appalachian State: Was a favorite of many. Described as a tough, nasty blocker- something evident on film. Looked a bit stiff, also obvious on film, but showed the tools to work with.
Anthony Gaitor/CB/Florida International: For the most part really struggled. He was small in comparison to most, looked stiff and consistently got turned by opponents.
Kris Durham/WR/Georgia: Two separate sources told us that despite the poor conditions, Durham was one of the few receivers that stood out. One scouts referred to him as a “beast” displaying the best hands of anyone and catching everything in sight.
Ryan Taylor/TE/North Carolina: Taylor, the Tar Heels back up tight end that did a good job filling in when Zack Pianalto went down, was also effective catching the ball. He displayed strong hands and the ability to pull the ball from the air.
Jeff Van Camp/QB/Florida Atlantic: By all accounts Van Camp struggled as the poor conditions which included strong winds the first two days exploited his weaknesses.
– Scouts on hand said they were surprised that Christian Anthony decided to opt for the draft, something we stated when we received confirmation at the Senior Bowl he was playing in this game. Anthony decided to return to Gambling in 2010 after a dominant ’09 campaign. You may remember we reported in August that Anthony was taken by ambulance from the practice field to the hospital for heart attack like symptoms as Grambling was preparing for the season. He never played a down in 2010. During a television interview during the Bayou Classic against Southern, Anthony said he planned to return to Grambling in 2011.
– One scout told us besides Vance Cuff of Georgia and Josh Gatlin of North Dakota State, the defensive backs have looked like “junk”.
– Another All Star game, the Dixie GridIron Classic, is also scheduled to kick-off tomorrow, though this game takes place in St George, Utah. Several sources told us today the game is in shambles. Evidently when players arrived on Monday there were no NFL scouts in attendance and a shortage of footballs. Footballs had to be borrowed from a local high school yet the situation never improved. Several players who traveled to the game left to return home or to training facilities, including some that had driven upwards of eight hours in the hopes of showcasing their skills for NFL scouts. The game was originally slated to be played at Dixie State College but was moved to Desert Hills High School. One source from the Dixie State athletic department confirmed the stories of the practice and game falling into shambles. A secretary from Desert Hills HS confirmed the game was stll scheduled to kick-off tomorrow. Some of the better known names listed on the roster include Kodi Burns/Auburn, Karl Moore/Florida, Joe Collins/Weber State, Marc Schiechl/Colorado School of Mines, Ronnie Paulo/UNLV, Culmer St.Jean/Wisconsin, Mistral Raymond/South Florida.
Bowl games are complete. Underclassmen have declared. The Senior Bowl is kaput. All that remains is the Super Bowl before the NFL evolves into draft overtime.
Head scout Brent Sobleski has kept a close eye on all of these occurrences and pieced together his latest mock draft puzzle.
Only time will tell regarding its veracity, but for now all one can do is peer at the mock which has been deemed uncanny…
|(+1)||Analysis: Although Panther fans may curse the name of Andrew Luck, the team can now concentrate on the defensive side of the football where Auburn’s Nick Fairley was as good as any player in the nation. His first step explosiveness as a three technique makes him a handful for any offensive lineman.|
|(+2)||Analysis: The team’s secondary is officially one of the city’s oldest attractions. Plus Champ Bailey is not happy and likely won’t return. What was new coach Joh Fox’s calling as a position coach? The secondary. Peterson is expected to wow scouts with a phenomenal workout. Plus, he adds special teams explosiveness.|
|(+3)||Analysis: The Bills seem content with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center, at least enough not to spend a top three pick on the position. Their front seven was absolutely abysmal this past season. Dareus is a perfect fit in the team’s 34 and can be the playmaker they desperately lack along the defensive line.|
|(N/A)||Analysis: Carson Palmer seems sincere in his intentions to be traded or retire. Cincinnati needs to move in a new direction. If they do plan on moving away from Palmer, then what better time to draft their franchise quarterback of the future? Gabbert entered this season as a top prospect for the 2012 draft. Instead, he becomes the favorite to be the first selected at his position in 2011.|
|(+6)||Analysis: Arizona would be disappointed to see the draft’s top quarterback being selected one slot ahead of its choice. Outside of Gabbert, the team will likely be forced to look toward a veteran at the position. Bowers is the top talent remaining to help the Cardinals’ sub-par pass rush. Arizona runs enough four man fronts, and Bowers is just athletic enough to make this choice work.|
|(+11)||Analysis: A complete overhaul is taking place in Cleveland, and the team’s most glaring concern is a pass rusher. They will transition back to a 43 under Dick Jauron while still lacking legitimate defensive ends. If not for injury, the conversation of Smith as a top ten pick would be a foregone conclusion. He is still one of the most physically talented edge rushers in the nation.|
|7||San Francisco||Prince Amukamara||CB/Nebraska|
|(-2)||Analysis: Coach Harbaugh has nearly everything in place to play his brand of football in San Francisco, outside of a legit quarterback. Unfortunately like other teams in front of the Niners, the position is not deep depending on the style of passer required. Instead, the ability to add a top notch cover man to an already tough defensive front is an intriguing possibility.|
|(-5)||Analysis: Tennessee is a team in transition after deciding to go in a different direction at head coach for the first time in 17 years. The team tried to make a low risk investment in Randy Moss this season. The experiment failed. But the intention were well placed. Green can provide similar explosive capabilities in the offense while garnering good value at no.8 overall.|
|(+10)||Analysis: Big D has already set its sights on a cornerback. They would love to land Patrick Peterson. Prince Amukamara is off the board (in this scenario). And Brandon Harris isn’t a consolation prize. In fact, the team is very high on the Miami product and would like nothing better to land this caliber of athlete at the position.|
|(+4)||Analysis: It’s hard to slot a quarterback with this much raw athletic potential to any team. His passing ability may lack the precision needed for a west coast attack, but the same could have been said about Jay Cutler under Mike Shanahan. And owner Daniel Snyder is appeased by acquiring another big ticket attraction.|
|11||Houston||Von Miller||LB/Texas A&M|
|(+12)||Analysis: Wade Phillips has been announced as the team’s newest defensive coordinator. The acquisition also brings the 34 base defense. Brian Cushing will be fine on one side, while Miller can play inside or outside linebacker. Phillips’ one-gap playcalling will make Miller’s athleticism and ability to get to the quarterback even more beneficial.|
|(-5)||Analysis: Potential attitude issues and lapses in concentration aside, some team will take a chance on Mallett’s pure passing ability sooner rather than later. Minnesota may be best served to acquire a veteran, but that is easier said than done. This may be the last chance the Vikings get to acquire a thrower of this caliber.|
|(-5)||Analysis: The Lions should be ecstatic to land this dancing bear outside of the top ten. Smith may not possess ideal size, but his athleticism and attitude are second to none at the position. Detroit needed to upgrade at left tackle ages ago, despite Jeff Backus’ steady play. Matt Stafford needs to be protected.|
|14||St. Louis||Cameron Jordan||DE/California|
|(+11)||Analysis: Jordan’s performance at the Senior Bowl was second to none. St. Louis can slide the collegiate five technique inside along its four man front to improve poor defensive tackle play. Jordan can also be a strong base end and present versatility to a head coach in Steve Spanuolo once known for being creative along his defensive line.|
|(+1)||Analysis: New offensive coordinator Brian Daboll isn’t known for his creativity. He wants to run the ball first and foremost. Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown are not as dynamic a duo as they once were. Now it is time to add the shot in the arm needed to improve the team’s all around offense.|
|(+2)||Analysis: The middle of the defense is now firmly entrenched with Knighton and Alualu prowling the interior for Jacksonville, but the team’s pass rush has been anemic for years. Kerrigan is a very different player than Derrick Harvey, when the Gator was chosen ninth overall. The Purdue product may not possess elite edge skills, but his motor is absolutely relentless.|
|17||New England (from Oakland)||J.J. Watt||DE Wisconsin|
|(+4)||Analysis: The strength of the Patriot defense is situated along its back line with McCourty and Meriweather. It was once the team’s front line which dominated for New England. After Richard Seymour was traded away, the front three haven’t been the same. J.J. Watt has the length, size, and work ethic to be a wonderful addition as a five technique.|
|18||San Diego||Cameron Heyward||DE/Ohio State|
|(+11)||Analysis: Heyward may be battling an elbow injury, but indications lean toward him being healthy and able to work out prior to the draft. The Chargers are desperate to upgrade their front three. Luis Castillo is consistent. Antonio Garay was a great find. The rest of the group is nondescript at best.|
|19||NY Giants||Akeem Ayers||LB/UCLA|
|(+1)||Analysis: The defensive line has been the calling card for the Giants in recent years. Its linebackers have been suspect at best. Ayers brings a lot to the table for whatever team he is chosen. He is arguably the most fluid and athletic linebacker in the draft. He can also put his hand in the dirt and rush the passer.|
|20||Tampa Bay||Robert Quinn||DE/North Carolina|
|(-7)||Analysis: Talent trumps trepidation in Tampa Bay. Quinn would have been considered the top overall selection if his nonchalant attitude didn’t overrule common sense. It did. He was suspended. But his talent didn’t disappear, and Tampa Bay is now building one of the best young defensive lines in football.|
|21||Kansas City||Justin Houston||LB/Georgia|
|(N/A)||Analysis: Todd Grantham was Georgia’s defensive coordinator this season. Houston responded to Grantham’s 34 scheme playing well at linebacker. Previously, Grantham had the same responsibilities under Romeo Crennel in Cleveland. Crennel is now the defensive coordinator in KC with a unit that may be scrambling for a pass rusher if Tamba Hali is not franchised and signs elsewhere.|
|Analysis: Peyton Manning will be another year older, and the team’s rushing attack cannot continue to sputter next season (injuries aside). Solder has plenty of work to do from a technique perspective, but his talent alone makes the Colorado product an upgrade over Charlie Johnson at left tackle. His length and athleticism make him a great fit in the Colts’ scheme.|
|23||Philadelphia||Anthony Castonzo||OT/Boston College|
|(+10)||Analysis: Philadelphia struggled mightily along its offensive line this past season. Winston Justice has disappointed. Right guard has been a revolving door. And the team’s center never snapped a football prior to this preseason. The Eagles need to add consistency up front. Castonzo could slide easily into the right tackle position and protect Michael Vick’s backside.|
|24||New Orleans||Adrian Clayborn||DE/Iowa|
|(+7)||Analysis: Clayborn appears entrenched as a late first round selection, and he seems okay with the thought. Despite a disappointing senior season, a team still requiring a pass rush, like the Saints, should be willing to role the dice. Clayborn should prove to be a nice base end to pair with Will Smith, who struggled after the teams Super Bowl campaign.|
|(+3)||Analysis: It would be an intriguing scenario to see Seattle pass on a homegrown talent like Jake Locker at this slot. But the team needs more than a long term project at the quarterback position and must upgrade its pitiful pass defense.|
|(-11)||Analysis: All Baltimore does is acquire talent. If a player this caliber falls to the Ozzie Newsome-led squad, it would be hard to see one of the league’s best general managers pass. Jones has some issues, but he would be wonderful paired with Anquan Boldin. And he’s an instant upgrade over the rest of an older unit.|
|(N/A)||Analysis: The Falcons are one of the most complete teams in the league, but they lack a true second receiver. Trotting out Brian Finneran and Michael Jenkins week in and week out is a travesty when Roddie White is opposite. Smith would be another explosive playmaker to give opposing defenses even more fits.|
|28||New England||Derek Sherrod||OT/Mississippi State|
|(-2)||Analysis: Incumbent left tackle Matt Light will be 33 years old in June. He was already limited as a blindside protector. It’s only time before age catches up. Sebastian Vollmer has been a wonderful addition up front, but the Patriots must prepare to evolve along the offensive line and a technically sound prospect like Sherrod fits the bill.|
|(-5)||Analysis: The team’s front line improved dramatically once Frank Omiyale was placed at left tackle, Chris Williams bumped inside to guard, and J’Marcus Webb was placed at right tackle. None possess the natural talent of Carimi who could find a slot on the blindside, strongside, or even guard.|
|30||NY Jets||Muhammad Wilkerson||DT/Temple|
|(N/A)||Analysis: When a team is relying as heavily on two ends averaging 34 years of age, a massive talent overhaul is required. Wilkerson is a tailor-made five technique to help sweep out the likes of Trevor Pryce and Shaun Ellis at the position.|
|(-1)||Analysis: As successful as Pittsburgh has been in recent years, they still lack two key components. Sub-par offensive line and cornerback play has presented issues for the Steelers from time to time. Smith has the type of natural ability the team hasn’t seen since Rod Woodson left town. He’s not nearly on that level, but it simply proves the point.|
|32||Green Bay||Corey Luiget||DT/Illinois|
|(N/A)||Analysis: A surprise entry to the draft, Luiget is blessed with a ton of raw natural ability. His feet and athleticism in tight are tremendous. Green Bay rolls the dice on a talent to develop as a future five technique along an already talented defensive front.|
|33||New England (from Carolina)||Jeremy Beal||DE/Oklahoma|
|38||Cleveland||Titus Young||WR/Boise State|
|39||San Francisco||Stephen Paea||DT/Oregon State|
|43||Houston||Davon House||CB/New Mexico State|
|46||St. Louis||Kyle Rudolph||TE/Notre Dame|
|47||Denver (from Miami)||Drake Nevis||DT/LSU|
|49||Oakland||Stefen Wisniewski||OG/Penn State|
|50||San Diego||Martez Wilson||LB/Illinois|
|51||NY Giants||Ben Ijalana||OT/Villanova|
|52||Tampa Bay||Curtis Brown||CB/Texas|
|53||Kansas City||Michael Pouncey||OG/Florida|
|55||Philadelphia||Marvin Austin||DT/North Carolina|
|56||New Orleans||Bruce Carter||LB/North Carolina|
|60||New England||Kendall Hunter||RB/Oklahoma State|
|62||San Diego (from NY Jets)||Vincent Brown||WR/San Diego State|
|64||Green Bay||Kelvin Sheppard||LB/LSU|
Each player from both squads are discussed as their performances were on display and draft stocks may or may not have been affected.
Tune in and listen to what really happened during college football’s most important all star week when the entirety of NFL front offices and coaching staffs are on hand to watch each prospect up close and personally.
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