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Skull and Bones

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: January 27, 2007, 10:20:54 AM

2007 SENIOR BOWL REPORTS


By Colin Lindsay, GBN publisher and Editor and Kevin Hornung, GBN Chief Scout





That's a wrap... Most of the pro scouts have left Mobile as both teams in this year's Senior Bowl will only go through walk-through sessions on Friday in preparation for Saturday's game. For all 32 NFL teams, though, the evaluation process has already begun. Indeed, with so many of the top seniors opting tp participate in this year's Senior Bowl there will be plenty for NFL personnel people to chew on over the course of the next couple of weeks, or at least until the Scouting Combine kicks off in Indianapolis in the final week of February. As such here some of our final thoughts as we head back to winter:

While there was a lot of talent in Mobile this year don't expect for any Jay Cutler to be coming out of the 2007 Senior Bowl. Cutler, of course, parlayed a strong showing at last year's event into the 11th pick overall at the 2006 draft. Indeed, figure that of this year's 6 QBs, only Troy Smith of Ohio and Michigan State's Drew Stanton are likely to be even first-day picks this year, although scouts appear to be divided on both. Smith clearly had the more productive week of the two. Smith showed decent arm strength, moved around the pocket well, got rid of the ball very quickly and cleanly and threw a very catchable ball. Still, Smith is barely 6-0 tall and that is going to knock his grade down, although he did a nice job in Mobile - as he did throughout his career with the Buckeyes - sliding around the pocket to find passing lanes. Stanton, on the other hand, wasn't as proficient in Mobile, but because he's bigger and has the stronger arm has more long-term potential. The consensus seems to be , though, that Stanton, who has a noticeable hitch in his delivery, needs some solid pro coaching to develop those physical skills. Meanwhile, Chris Leak of national champion Florida and Houston's Kevin Kolb looked like second day prospects, while Jordan Palmer of UTEP and Tyler Palko of Pitt looked more like fre-agent types, although some team is sure to take a late-round chance on Palmer's size, arm strength and blood lines.

All-star games are notoriously poor venues for RBs to show their stuff as they just don't get enough touches to get into any rhythm. Still, Penn State's Tony Hunt, a 239-pounder with some speed and polish, and Auburn's Kenny Irons did nothin to hurt their status as the two best backs in the 2007 draft class behind junior stars Adrian Peterson of Oklahoma and Cal's Marshawn Lynch, and possibly Michael Bush of Louisville. Thomas Clayton of Kansas State also took full opportunity of a late injury replacement call to show some nice quickness although he did not catch the ball all that well and put the ball on the ground more than scouts would like to see. On the other hand, both Lorenzo Booker of Florida State and Ken Darby of Alabama did catch the ball well, while Darby showed good vision, patience and instincts running between the tackles. Scouts, though, are still undecided on what they have in Rutgers' star Brian Leonard, who isn't big enough to be a full-time FB at the next level nor fast enough to be an every-down RB. What they saw in Leonard, though is one tough football player who can catch, block and isn't afraid to go downfield on special teams. The back that may have down the most for himself this week, though, may have been Alabama FB Le'ron McClain, a bruising 264-pounder who was also very smooth catching the ball.

No question, the deepest position in the 2007 draft class are the WRs, but that didn't necessarily show in Mobile, although there was plenty of physical potential. LSU WR Dwayne Bowe, though, was the individual star of the show as he likely elevated himself well up into the opening round as he was able to both get deep and make catches in traffic. There was also plenty of both size and speed among the Senior Bowl WRs; unfortunately, there were also far too many dropped balls literally across the board. Other WRs who did okay, though, included Aundrae Allison of East Carolina, Johnnie Lee Higgins of UTEP, Chris Davis of Florida State and Rhema McKnight of Notre Dame, although none was close to Bowe. In fact, there really wasn't a lot of separation between the second-tier receivers after the LSU star.

Meanwhile, the TEs in Mobile certainly looked the part. Indeed, the four original TEs - Martrez Milner of Georgia, Scott Chandler of Iowa, Joe Newton of Oregon State, and Clark Harris of Rutgers - along with Delaware's Ben Patrick who came to Mobile when Harris was injured, averaged a tad over 6-5 and 262 pounds. All also caught the ball well, however, none was able to consistently get open deep. UGA's Milner appeared to be the scout's favorite, but Newton and Chandler probably had bttter weeks all round. And Patrick did not look at all out of place once he arrived to replace Harris.     

Teams hoping to upgrade their offensive lines probably came away from Mobile more than a little disappointed. Penn State OT Levi Brown, the highest rated OT to show up in Mobile, for example, was effective working in a limited area but struggled when blocking outside rushers as he wasn't able to keep his feet moving and lost the edge; he also had limited change of direction ability when trying to pick-off LBs at the next level and didn't always sustain his block until the whistle. In fact, it was a down week all-around for the OTs as relatively rated players like Tony Ugoh of Arkansas, Joe Staley of Central Michigan and Notre Dame's Ryan Harris all struggled. And it certainly that none of the three was very big with each weighing in the 295-300 range. It also didn't help the OTs overall grade that Texas OG Blalock, who played at RT in Mobile also struggled. Blalock came to Mobile as a potential first rounder but lacked the quick feet to consistently handle outside pass rushers, although he is a true wide-body with plenty of functional strength so probably is better suited to OG although even as an inside offensive lineman, Blalock's stock probably dropped this week. While most of he bigger name offensive linemen struggled at times several lesser lights fared somewhat better. Tennessee OG Arron Sears, for example, was probably the most consistent offensive lineman not playing C this week, while 335-pound Texas Tech OG Manny Ramirez also had a solid week. The best offensive linemen in Mobile though were Cs Ryan Kalil of Southern California and West Virginia C Dan Mozes; neither is overly big, but showed good feet and more than functional strength, not to mention plenty of heart. Auburn OGs Ben Grubbs and Tim Duckworth also played reasonably well at times, although both also got a little loose technically at times, while Clemson C Dustin Fry battled hard all week as did Iowa OT Marshal Yanda and Georgia Tech OT Mansfield Wrotto.

Other than LSU's Dwayne Bowe, no player created a bigger buzz in Mobile than Louisville DT Amobi Okoye. Okoye weighed in at only 287 pounds, well below the expected figure for him in the 312-315 range and also well below the norm for a pro DT these days. Okoye, though, impressed with some very aggressive play as he routinely exploded of the snap, although Okoye did struggle at times to hold the point of attack, especially when double-teamed. The best defensive lineman in Mobile, though, may have Nebraska DE Adam Carriker who dominated one-on-one pass blocking drills and was very disruptive in the 11-on-11 scrimmage. Texas DE  Tim Crowder also showed some impressive outside quickness. While the likes of Carriker and Crowder were going around opposing OTs, Florida DE Ray McDonald was going through them. McDonald didn't show much in the way of polished pass rush moves, but got off the snap with authority was consistently bull-rushing the man in front of him deep into the pocket. McDonald also didn’t hurt his stock in that he was almost equally effective whether he lined up at DE or DT. In contrast, Georgia DE Quentin Moses, once the highest rated defensive player in the entire 2007 draft class, also had a couple of pressures, but just wasn't very physical at the point of attack. In fact, it looks a tad like the 249-pound Moses just might have to find a home for himself at the next level at an OLB slot in a 3-4 scheme. NC State DT Tank Tyler also really struggled to get off blocks, while the Ohio State duo of Quinn Pit**CENSORED** and David Patterson and Kareem Brown of Miami did get some penetration at times but also seldom were able to disengage from the man in front of them, Overall, though, it was a pretty good week for the defensive line as DEs Victor Abiamiri of Notre Dame, Chase Pittman of LSU, Jay Moore of Nebraska and Anthony Spencer of Purdue all got pressure more than once. Meanwhile, DTs Brandon Mebane of Cal, a quick on-gap type DT, Antonio Johnson of Mississippi State and Ryan McBean of Oklahoma State were also solid although McBean, who only weighs around 275 pounds, appeared to wear down as the week progressed.

LB is not supposed to be one of the strengths of the 2007 draft class, however, someone forgot to tell the players at the position in Mobile. Ole Miss MLB Patrick Willis, for example, was one of the best players in Mobile period. Willis looked imposing at 240 pounds and played with an attitude all week as he ranged from sideline-to-sideline, although he did look more comfortable attacking the line of scrimmage than dropping into coverage. Meanwhile, Florida State MLB Buster Davis, who measured in at only 5-9, recovered from a bad first day to have a solid week; Davis attacked the line of scrimmage as he spent much of the rest of the week camped out in the offensive backfield. Davis, was not much of a factor dropping into coverage. There was a similar story for the Senior Bowl's other 'smurf' MLB as Pitt's H.B. Blades, a relative giant at almsot 5-11 showed excellent sideline-to-sideline range and closing speed. Alabama OLB Juwan Simpson always seemed to be around the football, while the Michigan duo of MLB David Harris and OLB Prescott Burgess, Earl Everett of Florida and Nebraska OLB Stewart Bradley, a full-sized 255-pounder all moved well and made their share of plays. Penn State LB Paul Posluszny also moved well, but pro scouts probably would have liked to have seen him around the ball more often.

Pro scouts probably left Mobile scratching their heads just a bit about the CB play. Michigan CB Leon Hall, one of the top-rated players at any position coming into Mobile, was physical and aggressive, but gave up way too many completions for a player expected to go somewhere between the 10th and 20th picks. There was a similar story for Cal CB Daymeion Hughes who was only okay before being hurt and missing the last part of camp. And while he did get better as the week progressed, Fresno State CB Marcus McCauley had to be one of the most disappointing players at any position. Same story for South Carolina CB Fred Bennett who looked stiff before missing some time with a leg injury. In fact, Auburn's David Irons was the week's top Cb as he ran with just everybody including LSU's Bowe, while both Jonathan Wade of Tennessee and Josh Wislon showed they were more than just track guys playing corner.

While some of the top CBs struggled in Mobile, it was a pretty god week for the safeties, despite the fact that LSU's Laron Landry, one of the top 1-2 rated players at the position was a no-show. In Landry's absence, Miami FS Brandon Meriweather played more like people were expecting all season long. Meriweather was around the ball all week as he showed good speed and excellent instincts; plus Meriweather, who has seen his stok drop in part because of some non-football stuff, played with enthusiasm and appeared to emerge as a leader on the field. Meanwhile, Texas FS Michael Griffin wasn’t quite as flashy, but was also around the ball all week. It was also hard not to like the quickness, instincts and overall enthusiastic play of Utah DB Eric Weddle. Scouts, though, are divided on Virginia Tech SS Aaron Rouse. Some really like his imposing size and physical presence, not to mention exceptional straight ahead speed. Others are concerned, though that he lacks the agility to contribute much in coverage and might actually be better suited bulking up a bit and moving to LB. Meanwhile,
Syracuse DB Tanard Jackson quietly put together a solid week of practice, although he missed the final workout with a minor injury. Nominally a CB for the Orange, Jackson is a big hitter who always seems to be around the ball; he’s also an athletic player who can jump.

Unofffical GBN Top 10 Senior Bowl Performers (in no particular order)

1. LSU WR Dwayne Bowe
2. Nebraska DE Adam Carriker
2. USC C Ryan Kalil
2. Mississippi LB Patrick Willis
2. Louisville DT Amobi Okoye
2. Auburn CB David Irons
2. Utah DB Eric Weddle
2. Florida DE Ray McDonald
2. Miami FS Brandon Meriweather
2. West Virginia C Dan Mozes

Honoarble mentions: Texas DE Tim Crowder; Penn State RB Tony Hunt; East Carolina WR Aundrae Allison; Alabama FB Le'Ron McClain; and Syracuse DB Tanard Jackson.

Risers and fallers... Its always hard to say how 2-3 days of practice - whether good or bad - will impact pro scouts. In fact, players grades seldom change all that much coming out of Mobile, however, a poistive or negative week will send NFL personnel departmensts back to the film room to review actual game tape etc. That said, not surprisingly all the guys on the top 10 list plus obviously helped themselves to one degree or another. And figure that Bowe and Kalil probably helped themselves the most  pushing their grades into clear first round territory. Same possibly for Meriweather while DBs Weddle, Irons and Jackson likely will also see their grades climb.

Meanwhile, players whose grades likely took a tumble coming out of Mobile include Penn State OT Levi Brown, Georgia DE Quentin Moses, Texas OG Justin Ballock, Fresno State CB Marcus McCauley, DTs Quinn Pit**CENSORED** of Ohio State and Tank Tyler of NC State, and Arkansas OT Tony Ugoh.

And guys on our 'didn't you used to be team' who really weren't on many draft radars coming into Mobile include Syracuse's Jackson, Nebraska LB Stewart Bradley, Mississippi State DT Antonio Johnson, Delaware TE Ben Patrick, Kansas State RB Thomas Clayton, Texas Tech OG Manny Ramirez, and Iowa OT Marshal Yanda.

See you next year!!!! 




Skull and Bones

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#1 : January 27, 2007, 10:24:39 AM

Even more reason to cross our fingers that Joe Thomas is still available when we pick.


finnbluebucs

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#2 : January 27, 2007, 12:16:11 PM

''The best offensive linemen in Mobile though were Cs Ryan Kalil of Southern California and West Virginia C Dan Mozes''

Good.

\"We are frustrated at not making the playoffs. It is a good start. That is all it is. It is a good start for something that we are going to be in the future. - Josh Freeman
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PewterReportSR

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#3 : January 27, 2007, 12:26:10 PM

Everybody has a different opinion. On the GBN site, they say that OT Levi Brown had a bad week. Other sites say he had a good week. The GBN site said that Mozes was one of the best players. I think he struggled mightily from what I saw. Different strokes for different folks.

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#4 : January 27, 2007, 12:33:29 PM

Quick thoughts:

(1) Deep WR class means even more the Bucs shouldn't take CJ with their pick at #3 or #4 if he's available.  I'm even more convinced the best value is on the defensive side of the ball.  If they could somehow trade down a few picks and pick up Okoye (who seems like the prototypical Bucs UT) I'd be ecstatic.

(2) Surprised that Woodley got no mention in the discussion of DEs.  Going in he was supposed to be a sure 1st-rounder.  Could he be available in R2?  College productivity still should mean a lot.

(3) I LOVE the idea of upgrading C in R3-6.  I really have come to think Wade is one of the weak links in the O-line, and given Mahan's woeful performance at guard I'm not optomistic he'll be a good center when/if he slides over.

cvillebucfan

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#5 : January 27, 2007, 12:41:35 PM

I think Mozes was overwhelmed at certain points to SR, not sure what GBN is thinking with that assessment.



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#6 : January 27, 2007, 12:48:43 PM

Quick thoughts:

(1) Deep WR class means even more the Bucs shouldn't take CJ with their pick at #3 or #4 if he's available.  I'm even more convinced the best value is on the defensive side of the ball.  If they could somehow trade down a few picks and pick up Okoye (who seems like the prototypical Bucs UT) I'd be ecstatic.


To me that's like saying you shouldn't draft Julius Peppers because the draft is full of Justin Smiths.  This draft can be as deep at WR as any, but it's still a huge drop off after the #1 to everyone else.

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#7 : January 27, 2007, 12:58:46 PM

[
To me that's like saying you shouldn't draft Julius Peppers because the draft is full of Justin Smiths.  This draft can be as deep at WR as any, but it's still a huge drop off after the #1 to everyone else.

I totally agree....



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#8 : January 27, 2007, 01:09:39 PM

WR/PR Chris Davis in round 5 to Da Bucs

o and i dont think CJ is much better than Jarrett at all

leeroybuc93

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#9 : January 27, 2007, 01:36:36 PM

WR/PR Chris Davis in round 5 to Da Bucs

o and i dont think CJ is much better than Jarrett at all

Consider who was throwing to CJ and who was throwing to Jarrett.  Consider all the other weapons around Jarrett.  He's good, but not even close to CJ.

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#10 : January 27, 2007, 01:41:18 PM



Consider who was throwing to CJ and who was throwing to Jarrett. Consider all the other weapons around Jarrett. He's good, but not even close to CJ.

Absolute lunacy to think Jarret is on Calvin Johnsons' level, its crazy and not up for debate....In fact its one of the most stupid statements I've heard. The only thing Jarrett and Johnson have in common is they are both tall....



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cvillebucfan

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#11 : January 27, 2007, 01:44:42 PM


o and i dont think CJ is much better than Jarrett at all

Wait till the combine....



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#12 : January 27, 2007, 06:58:52 PM



Consider who was throwing to CJ and who was throwing to Jarrett. Consider all the other weapons around Jarrett. He's good, but not even close to CJ.

Absolute lunacy to think Jarret is on Calvin Johnsons' level, its crazy and not up for debate....In fact its one of the most stupid statements I've heard. The only thing Jarrett and Johnson have in common is they are both tall....
And WR's.



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#13 : January 28, 2007, 12:11:39 AM

Even IF they were rated equally, Jarrett has TO type attitude and that's enough to set them apart; makes him a risky pick IMO.

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#14 : January 28, 2007, 12:45:55 AM

Everybody has a different opinion. On the GBN site, they say that OT Levi Brown had a bad week. Other sites say he had a good week. The GBN site said that Mozes was one of the best players. I think he struggled mightily from what I saw. Different strokes for different folks.

They talked about Brown, during the game, as a mid first rounder.  Harris looked awful. Brown a little better. I wasn't overwhelmed by him though.
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