Senior Bowl Day 2 – South

There was a new face in Mobile on Wednesday…QB Bryan Bennett from SE Louisiana. He was added after Auburn star Nick Marshall decided to play CB instead of QB. Bennett measured in at 6022, 210. Good frame, but he’s a bit on the lean side.

Bennett got everyone’s attention right away. He threw the ball better than the other QBs and looked natural at practice. Some guys take time to adjust to the situation. Bennett was ready to go.

He is noteworthy in part because he started his career at Oregon. When Bennett lost the battle for the starting QB job to some kid named Marcus Mariota, he decided to go somewhere that he could get on the field. Bennett was a dual-threat QB for SE La and led them to a pair of BCS playoff berths.

I watched him making simple warm-up throws and liked what I saw. He has a smooth motion and quick release. Once in drills, he showed the ability to drive the ball downfield on intermediate passes and also threw some good deep balls. He ran a couple of times and showed good mobility and speed. He’s not going in the 1st round or anything like that, but Bennett showed himself to be an intriguing option in a weak QB class.

* Miami TE Clive Walford had an outstanding day. He caught a ton of passes and made lots of plays. He showed the ability to make catches while going to the ground (a benefit of the sloppy passing). Walford showed good speed in getting down the field. He got into the end zone several times. I need to watch tape on him.

* CB Kevin White might be the most natural cover man in Mobile. Unfortunately he’s 5-9, 180 and it doesn’t look like he’s got top speed. WRs got behind him a couple of times on Wednesday. White was able to recover and break up the passes, but mainly because they were bad throws. White is very good at pressing and getting in the hip pocket of the receiver on short stuff, but I’m not sure about his long speed.

* QB Blake Sims has not impressed me. I kept my expectations limited so this isn’t a case of me thinking he would stand out. Receivers had to slow down and wait for deep throws from him. Sims didn’t look good on intermediate throws. He still has one more day to get going, but Sims hasn’t done much to sell himself as the #3 QB in this class.

* Garrett Grayson is the other QB in Mobile. He is inconsistent, but his good moments are impressive. He has a solid arm and will connect on some deep balls. I think his motion is awkward and a bit slow, which affects him on short, quick throws.

* LB/DE Lynden Trail is an interesting player. He’s huge at 6-6, 262. He was once a star recruit for the Florida Gators, but then moved on to Norfolk State, where he was a dominant player. You see him on one drill or rep and he looks really good. Then you see another and he looks stiff and gangly. Trail was a terrific pass rusher for NSU. He played LB and DE. 3-4 teams should be very interested in him, but so far Trail hasn’t been all that impressive when playing in space.

* Phillip Dorsett had another strong day. He is really impressive. Tyler Lockett also had a very good day. He’s tough to evaluate. though. Lockett isn’t explosive like Dorsett and he’s also not a big guy. Lockett just seems to have a knack for getting open and he does have good hands.

* DE/LB Markus Golden had a good showing. He was at LDE when I watched him make a couple of plays. He was able to use a quick burst off the ball and really good pad level to get by blockers. Golden is only 6-2 so when he stays low it can be tough for blockers to get their hands on him cleanly.

* I didn’t focus on ILB Stephone Anthony but he was around the ball play after play. That’s a key trait for good LBs. It shows a combination of instincts, vision, speed and the ability to move through traffic. I’ll be checking Anthony out more closely today.

* Owamagbe Odighizuwa was the most disruptive DL from what I could tell. He moved all over the line and gave everyone fits. He is 6-3 1/2 and 266 pounds. Odighizuwa plays bigger and stronger than that. He is a powerful, physical. nasty guy to go up against. 4-3 teams will love him as a DE. 3-4 teams have to decide if he should be an OLB or add a few pounds and be a DE.

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Senior Bowl Day 2 – North

by Tommy Lawlor

Day 1 can be tough on players. Many have been away from football for several weeks and that has them rusty. They’re learning new systems and dealing with new teammates. This all leads to some sloppy play.

Some players look much better on Day 2. They have their feet under them, so to speak, and look more comfortable and more natural. This seemed to be the case for QB Bryce Petty, who struggled on Tuesday, but threw the ball much better on Wednesday.

Petty threw well on the short stuff, but suddenly was much better on intermediate passes. He hit a TE down the seam. He hit a WR on a deep out, about 18 yards down the field. Petty hit a WR on a crossing route in the 7-on-7 drill. He’ll never be mistaken for John Elway, but this was a huge improvement for Petty.

On Tuesday, intermediate passes were hitting the ground or thrown behind targets. They didn’t have good velocity at all. Petty still mostly made short, quick throws. That’s his comfort zone. He did take a big step forward with his intermediate passing.

* The guys playing LT for the North are Donovan Smith of Penn State and Trent Brown from Florida. Smith has had some good moments. He has a solid combination of size and athleticism. He can really lock on and get the best of the rusher.

Brown is huge at 6-8 1/2 and 376 pounds. Heck, he’s the LG and the LT all at once. The old joke in scouting is that he’s so big it takes a $20 cab ride to get around him. Brown isn’t your typical athletic LT, but he moves well enough for a guy his size. And Brown can dominate rushers when he gets his hands on them. I need to do a lot of tape study on him. Brown is very intriguing.

* Coaches love to try guys at different positions to see who can do what. I remember watching Trent Cole play some OLB in January of 2005 in Mobile and he looked completely lost. Cole played DE for the first 8 yeas of his career, but has successfully moved to OLB the last 2 seasons.

Several pass rushers struggled in LB drills today. Deion Barnes, Hau’oli Kikaha, and Za’Darius Smith all looked awkward at LB. They are natural DEs. In time, they may move to LB successfully, but based on what they’ve shown in Mobile the change won’t happen quickly or smoothly.

* WR Ty Montgomery had a bad drop today. He measured in just under 6-feet yesterday and hasn’t done much on the field. This has not been a good week for him.

* Quentin Rollins has been pretty good in coverage. His highlight moment came on a double move by Devin Smith. Rollins had the initial move covered, but then stuck with Smith when he turned upfield. Rollins maintained inside position and looked back for the ball at the last minute. He never panicked. He was smart and kept the pass from being completed.

* WR Jamison Crowder continues to play very well. He has slot guy size (5-8, 174) , but looks just as good outside. He made a spectacular one-hand grab today. Crowder had to fully extend just to come close to the ball. He has great body control and is an explosive athlete.

* OLB/DE Nate Orchard is the most impressive pass rusher on the North team. He constantly seems to be getting the best of his man. He’s not just flying off the ball either. There was one play in the 11-on-11 drills where Orchard played a roll-out perfectly and was right there to blow up the play. Orchard has helped himself tremendously with his showing in Mobile.

* I had high expectations for OT T.J. Clemmings. He had a great Senior season and was a dominant RT for Pitt. Unfortunately Clemmings has had to block Orchard more than a few times and that hasn’t gone well. Clemmings has played RT and LT in Mobile and hasn’t impressed me. Even his run blocking hasn’t been what I expected. There was one play today where Za’Darius Smith came off the ball and moved Clemmings back half a yard. That really got my attention.

* Robert Myers has looked good when I’ve been able to check him out. He’s playing OG this week and looks natural in there despite the fact he’s mostly played OT in his career. Myers is able to block right at the LOS or get up to the second level.

* Duke OG Laken Tomlinson is very good when he’s able to engage the defender cleanly. Tomlinson stays low and anchors very well. He is really tough to move off his spot.

* One guy who did beat Tomlinson is DT Danny Shelton. He’s been very impressive at times. Shelton is powerful and able to get the best of blockers. He’s also got a great motor. There was a screen play today where Shelton chased down the ball over by the sideline. You just don’t see 340-pound DL hustle like that on a regular basis.

* QBs Sean Mannion and Shane Carden weren’t impressive. Mannion made some good throws, but didn’t stand out in any way. Carden was better than Tuesday, but still not good. He puts good touch on some of his downfield passes, but the problem is that they’re in the air too long and that won’t work vs NFL DBs.

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Senior Bowl Day 1 – South

* The most impressive player for the South that I saw was WR Phillip Dorsett. He was explosive and got open with ease on a regular basis. One GM raved about him as we watched practice. When CBs had to play off-coverage, they had little to no chance to cover Dorsett. He came off the ball and then just exploded by them. Blake Sims tried to hit him with a pass down the sideline. The ball ended up on the ground behind Dorsett. Sims has good WRs to work with, but no one as fast as Dorsett, who some think will run in the 4.25-4.30 range.

* Let’s talk about Blake Sims. He had an up and down day. I thought he was at his best throwing on the run and on short passes. He looked comfortable and was accurate with good velocity. I didn’t see many good throws down the field. You can see that Sims is a gifted player with potential, but he has to play better to show that he should be the #3 QB in this class.

* QB Garrett Grayson looked a bit stiff and awkward when I watched his tape this year, but he grew on me today. He showed the best arm of anyone in Mobile. He had a couple of good deep throws. Grayson got his week off to a good start.

* Auburn star Sammie Coates had a solid showing. As one NFL scout summed up the situation today, you basically have to teach him how to run routes, but the guy is physically gifted. Coates only measured in at 6-2, 213, but he seemed stronger and more physical than other receivers and DBs. He didn’t show great hands, but made a couple of nice catches. He looked comfortable  catching short stuff as well as going deep. Serious potential, but needs a lot of work.

* CB Kevin White looked the most natural of the CBs today. He was instinctive and showed good cover skills. Unfortunately, White is just 5-9, 180. Will some team give him a chance outside or is he doomed to a life in the slot? White is physical with WRs. He is tough and athletic. White was at his best playing press coverage.

* Ole Miss star Senquez Golson is another undersized CB who stood out today.

* I loved watching Clayton Geathers, the FS from Central Florida. He played in the box and back deep. He was impressive in man coverage. Geathers looked athletic in the drills. He showed fluid hips and looked agile. He had good hands. Good start to his Senior Bowl week.

* Jaquiski Tartt is a big Safety at 6-1, 220. He can hit like a ton of bricks. I was curious to see how agile and athletic he might be. As you would imagine, 220-pound DBs rarely have the same movement skills as smaller DBs. I did think Tartt moved okay and had a good overall day. He broke up one pass in the team drills and just missed picking off another one.

* ILB Denzel Perryman had the biggest hit of the day. I didn’t get to see it, but did hear the crowd go wild when it happened.

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Senior Bowl Day 1 – North

by Tommy Lawlor

* Let’s start with the QBs. Bryce Petty has a lot on the line. He needs to show NFL teams that he can be a good intermediate passer. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen today. Petty struggled when throwing intermediate and deep passes. In his defense, this was Day 1 and he was dealing with a new playbook and receivers he doesn’t know. Still, the throws just didn’t look good. This wasn’t a matter of poor timing and incompletions. These were bad throws.

Petty was very good on short, quick throws. Those passes were accurate and had good velocity. Those throws look natural to him because he threw so many in college.

Petty needs to take a big step forward in the next 2 days.

* QB Shane Carden also struggled. He just doesn’t seem to have an NFL arm. Sean Mannion was the best of the trio. He has a solid arm and is comfortable as a pocket passer.

* Michigan State FS Kurtis Drummond had a good day. He was solid in man coverage during 1-on-1 and 7-on-7 drills. He has good size and looked athletic. He showed good instincts and looked natural in coverage.

* Harvard star Zack Hodges played DE in college, but is getting looked at as a LB. He is very awkward in coverage and playing in space. Hodges is a gifted pass rusher and that’s what he is used to doing.

* Mike Hull was a terrific LB for Penn State. I was curious to see how he would look at practice. Hull struggled mightily in the 1-on-1’s. TEs and RBs were able to get separation from him and make plays. Hull looked better in the team drills, but was disappointing overall.

* RB Jeremy Langford is one of the guys who got the best of Hull. He had a good day, especially as a receiver. Langford showed the ability to get open and looked very good at playing in space.

* Eric Rowe played both S and CB for Utah. He was working with the Safeties today in practice.

* WR Jamison Crowder was one of the smaller players on the field, but he has NFL talent. He was able to get open short and deep. He ran good routes and didn’t seem the least bit bothered by going up against good CBs. Crowder is only 5-8, 174, but don’t think of him as just a slot receiver. He was good inside and outside today.

* WR Antwan Goodley also had a strong showing. He really impressed with his hands. Goodley extends and catches the ball away from his body. He did a good job of getting open and getting separation today.

* Penn State pass rusher Deion Barnes had a solid showing in the 1-on-1’s. He was able to beat blockers off the edge with his burst and agility. I did not get to see if he got any LB reps or was purely a DE today.

* Nate Orchard was the pass rusher who really stood out. He was tough to block in the 1-on-1’s and the team drills. Even when the ball went away initially, Orchard seemed to end up getting in on the tackle. Very active, very disruptive.

* I didn’t get to study OL as much as I wanted. Robert Myers played LT in college but was at OG today. He looked good in pass pro on a few drills.

* RB Ameer Abdullah is absolutely deadly in space. He can make defenders look foolish with his quick cuts and excellent burst. Abdullah is only 5-8, 199 so I don’t know if he’ll start in the NFL, but at the least, he could be a dynamic role player.

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Some Weigh-In Info

Ed. Note — Tuesday was full from 830am to 830pm so I’m just now getting started on writing. Here are some thoughts from Tyler Astin on what he saw on the NFL Network’s coverage. — Tommy Lawlor

By Tyler Aston

Quick Note: For all 4 digit height numbers: first number is feet, next two numbers are inches and final number is eighths of an inch, so 6065 = 6 feet 6 inches and 5/8ths

Top OL prospect T.J. Clemmings had a good day. Weighing 307lbs, he measured in at 6045, which is at the lower end of height for a tackle prospect, but has long 34 7/8 inch arms and big 10 3/8” hands.

Minnesota RB David Cobb 5106 and 229lbs, but looked really well put together and not nearly as compact as those numbers would indicate at practice.

Hau’oli Kikaha came in at 6024 and 246lbs. This likely confirms his projection as a 34 OLB. Although he is a little short and 31 ½” arms don’t help. This may cause teams that focus on measurable such as length to ding him.

Much the same case for Harvard’s Zach Hodges at 6025 and 242lbs. He does however have impressively long arms at 33 5/8”. Continues to look like a good rotational OLB with upside in the 3rd or 4th.

Poor Jeff Luc was born 15 years too late. His freakish 5116 and 263lbs would have drawn rave reviews. He looked ok in space during the “uppers” practice today, but I just can’t see him being much more than a 2 down backer in the modern NFL.

The past 6 months have been tough for Ty Montgomery. He entered the season as a potential first round pick, with great speed and deadly return ability. He struggled to catch the ball all season, and battled through a bad hamstring and shoulder, missing time. Today was another blow to his draft stock as the listed 6’2 220lbs Stanford WR came in at just 5116 and 216lbs.

Bryce Petty having 10” hands will likely help him with some evaluators.

Clayton Geathers came in at 6012 and 212lbs. Good size for a safety. He has small hands. His right hand is 8 7/8” and left 8 2/8”. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen such a big disparity in hand size. Weird.

Cornerback Ladarius Gunter of Miami came in at 6013 and 200lbs. Throw in 31 7/8” arms and 9 6/8inch hands and he checked every box in the weigh in part of the application.

Louisville edge rusher Lorenzo Maudlin had a good day, hitting all the preferred minimums. He is 6035 and 256lbs. 10” hands and 32 1/8” arms. Teams obsessed with measurable may use this as a tie breaker over some of the other pass rushers here who came in a bit smaller than hoped.

LB Denzel Perryman came in at 5105 and 242lbs. I’m a bit surprised he came in over 5’10. He’s still going to have to convince teams his height isn’t a major disadvantage. Also I saw reports that the 242 may not be a great weight for him as he had a bit of a gut.

I’m a big fan of Miami TE Clive Walford. He’s not the tallest guy at 6041 but has 34” arms and 10 ½” hands. Those numbers would be good for an OT.

I couldn’t tell you a thing about Florida OT Trenton Brown. But at 6084 and 376lbs, if the whole NFL thing doesn’t work out, I’m sure he can find work in the WWE or in Hollywood.

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Senior Bowl Preview

I am down in Mobile, AL for the 4th straight year. The Senior Bowl is a great experience for everyone…the players, scouts, media and the town of Mobile. You could write a full story on every prospect here, but here is a preview focusing on select players.

10 to Watch – Offense

QB Bryce Petty – Baylor – There might not be a more divisive player in the draft than Petty. Some in the draft community hate him. Hate. Not personally of course, but as a prospect. I think some of this is backlash against Blaine Gabbert, another QB who thrived in a spread offense. Petty isn’t a great prospect by any means, but I think he’s better than some people are giving him credit for. He has solid size and a strong arm. He is a good athlete. He ran Baylor’s up-tempo offense about as well as you possibly could. Petty won’t be for every team, but he would seem to be a good match for the Eagles, and any other teams looking to run a fast break offense. He’ll get a chance to show what he can do in a conventional setting this week in Mobile. Huge opportunity for him. 

OT T.J. Clemmings – Pitt – Clemmings might be the most physically dominant blocker in Mobile. It should be a lot of fun to watch him in the 1-on-1 drills. Clemmings played RT for Pitt, but some think he has LT potential. Hopefully he’ll get some reps there this week so we can see how he handles that role. 

WR Jamison Crowder – Duke – He only lists at 5-9, 175, but Crowder plays bigger than that. He can play in the slot or outside. He can catch quick screens or go downfield for a deep ball. He attacks the ball in the air and isn’t afraid to play in traffic. Crowder could thrive in the 1-on-1 drills. 

WR Antwan Goodley – Baylor – Very different from Crowder. Goodley is 5-10, 225, an unusual build for a WR. There are times when he reminds you of Anquan Boldin, which is the highest compliment I can give to a WR. Goodley needs to show he can get open on his own and not just through Baylor’s explosive attack. 

OT Ty Sambrailo – Colorado State – 3 1/2 year starter at LT for CSU. Has good size, skills and athleticism. The only real question is how high he’ll go. A strong week in the 1-on-1 drills will give his stock a boost. 

QB Blake Sims – Alabama – Who is the #3 QB in this class? Some think it is Sims. He is talented, but inconsistent. I want to see how Sims does on intermediate passes. He has good deep accuracy, but like most college QBs, you don’t see enough intermediate throws. It will also be interesting to find out his measurements. Sims lists at 6-0, 208. That might be generous. 

WR Sammie Coates – Auburn – There is no question that Coates is talented. He has good size, speed and skills. But he was primarily a deep threat for AU, catching 34 passes for 741 yards and 4 TDs. Can he run crisp routes? Can he get open on short and intermediate routes? How does he catch those passes? 

RB Ameer Abdullah – Nebraska – Great college player who now faces NFL scrutiny. Abdullah lists at 5-9, 190. How big is he really? How will he do in the blocking drills? We know he can flat out run and catch. 

WR Devin Smith – Ohio State – Great deep ball receiver. Has good speed and does a great job of locating the ball. Really concentrates and can make contested catches. Doesn’t seem to pay attention to the DB at times. Like Coates, how good is he on short and intermediate routes? 

OG Robert Myers – Tennessee State – Played LT for TSU, but will be playing OG at the Senior Bowl. You always want to see how the small school guys do and it gets even more interesting when they change positions. 
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10 to Watch – Defense

DL/LB Preston Smith – Very fun player to watch. Plays the left and right side. Plays DE and slides in to NT in some Nickel/Dime sets. Natural pass rusher who has good moves and athleticism. Can 2-gap when asked to. Can drop into coverage on zone blitzes. Great frame at 6-6, 265. Could be 3-4 OLB or could play DE in either system. Really intriguing player that teams will see in many different ways. Is he a light version of Calais Campbell? Is he a heavy version of Dion Jordan? Is he similar to JPP? Can’t wait to see Smith in action. 

S Jaquiski Tartt – Samford – What a name, huh? Dude can play. Hits like a ton of bricks. I want to see what kind of cover skills he has. Is Tartt okay in centerfield? Can he play man? Is he more of a Cover 2 guy? Good size at 6-1, 220. Small school player with big time ability. 

S Clayton Geathers – UCF – One of my favorite Safeties in the class of 2015. There is nothing great about Geathers, but he is good all-around. Has good man cover skills. Hits and tackles well. Good size and a solid athlete. 4-year starter. Can play in the box or deep. 

CB Quentin Rollins – Miami OH – Former college basketball star decided to give football a try at the end of his career and boy was that a good idea. Rollins doesn’t have NBA talent, but absolutely has an NFL future. Natural football player. Had 7 INTs this year. Aggressive hitter and tackler. Nothing finesse about him at all. Has good size and is a gifted athlete. You can’t help but think of Richard Sherman when you read about Rollins. Sherman went from solid college receiver to elite NFL corner. I don’t know that Rollins has that kind of potential, but he will be drafted higher than Sherman was. 

DE/LB Hau’oli Kikaha – Washington – Explosive, violent edge rusher. Stuns blockers with his hands. Fires off the ball and there’s no subtlety to his game. Has some cover skills, but is meant to attack off the ball and be disruptive. Really looking forward to seeing him in the 1-on-1 drills. 

DL Danny Shelton – Washington – Goes 6-1, 339, but has the motor of a guy who is 285. Flies around the field. Can be a stout run defender when he wants to. NFL teams will want that part of his game to improve, but the potential is there for him to be dominant. There is speculation that he will be a Top 10 pick. Gets compared to Haloti Ngata a lot, but reminds me more of Dontari Poe. 

LB Mike Hull – Penn State – Is he more of a WLB or MLB? Lists at 6-0, 230 and I’m curious to see what his actual size is. Reminds me of a poor man’s Luke Kuechly. Not as athletic or instinctive, but always around the ball and has a terrific motor. At the least, could be a great STer. 

CB Imoan Claiborne – Northwestern State – Small school CB with a big attitude. Plays with a real nasty streak. Very physical CB. Solid size at 5-11, 187. Curious to see how he does in the 1-on-1s. Does he have the man cover skills needed for the NFL? Might also project to the slot. 

DB Josh Shaw – USC – Has played both CB and S. Press corner teams will want him on the outside. Others will prefer him at S. Just had a strong week at the Shrine Game. Biggest issue for him will be interviews with teams. Shaw has to explain an incident from this past summer that got him suspended for much of the season. 

DE/LB Deion Barnes – Penn State – Showed flashes of being a terrific pass rusher at PSU, but was inconsistent. Has good size at 6-4, 255. 3-4 teams will want to see if he can play LB or is strictly a DE.

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Senior Bowl Rosters

North

South

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ILB Paul Dawson – Scouting Report

by Tyler Aston

Paul Dawson: ILB, TCU, 6’2, 230lbs

OVERVIEW: You don’t play linebacker at a top Big 12 school if you can’t play sideline to sideline. Paul Dawson, a wide receiver coming out of high school, certainly fits that profile. He was a two year starter for the Horned Frogs and was the team’s leading tackler both years. The senior from Dallas has 128 tackles, 5 sacks, 4 interceptions, and one touchdown on the season. That’s an impressive stat line. Gary Patterson has done an excellent job at molding a great athlete, into a very good football player.

Athleticism is the first attribute that jumps out when studying Dawson. He has great range. Some linebackers are tackle to tackle players, others hash mark to hash mark, even fewer are sideline to sideline. Dawson falls into the latter however his range is borderline Gatorade cooler to Gatorade cooler. He should run a high 4.5/low 4.6 based on tape. He has the ability to stick with running backs and tight ends in coverage, and due to his speed, the zone he occupies is pretty large. He does a good job reading the QB’s eyes when in coverage and it lets him jump routes effectively.

His instincts are decent. He’s by no means is going to be mistaken for Luke Keuchly, but they are pretty solid nonetheless. It’s an area you can see is still improving. In the short term his burst once he makes his read compensates for any hesitation in what he sees. He takes bad angles from time to time, but that feels more like a player who hasn’t completely normalized to the position more than anything else. He’s most comfortable playing inside-out, and when allowed to play in this manner is much more instinctive and takes better angles.

His best asset against the run is that explosive burst. He diagnoses the play and in an instant is in the hole to meet the ball carrier. He needs work at taking on blocks, but this looks more like a matter of functional strength, as opposed to willingness. His best game against the run was actually against Minnesota, who plays smash mouth offense. He’s got no problem sticking his nose in there and mixing it up, he just needs to continue to fill out his frame.

Grade: 2nd Round

If you only watch one game: Minnesota (2014)

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Shrine Game Stuff

The Shrine Game used to feature elite talent, but no longer. It now is mostly guys in the 4th-7th rounds, with plenty of UDFAs. Teams can still find talented players there. Just not early picks or major college stars.

The game is Saturday and practices are going on all week.

Tony Pauline shared thoughts on some players. One of his “Risers”:

Darrian Miller/OL/Kentucky – Miller has stood out the past two days, proving he can handle the duties at left tackle. Today he shut out his bigger teammate from Kentucky, Za’Darius Smith, during full scrimmage, looking stellar in pass protection. The 6-foot-5, 290-pound Miller is athletic, nimble and explosive at the point. He’s built more like a guard, which may be his ultimate position in the NFL, but he continues to display next-level qualities at the all-important left tackle spot.

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Lance Zierlein is passing along some nuggets he’s hearing.

The scoop: More than one NFL observer here watching the practices commented on how Kansas inside linebacker Ben Heeney is generating draft buzz, more than I had anticipated.

The skinny: Heeney checked in at 6-foot-1 and 228 pounds, which is undersized by NFL standards. But conversations with multiple personnel men yielded the same result: Heeney can play in the league. NFL teams love production, and when it comes to production as a tackler, Heeney was near the top with 127 total tackles, 17 of them for loss. Heeney plays the game downhill and he continued to do that in practice on Tuesday by consistently beating offensive linemen to the spot and disrupting the running game.

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Finally, here is a bit of practice footage from the Shrine Game.

Always love to see some of the practices.

That’s from Emory Hunt.

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LB/DE Dante Fowler Scouting Report

by Tyler Aston

Dante Fowler Jr: EDGE, Florida, 6-3, 260lbs

Overview: The 5-star recruit from Lakewood certainly looks the part, as one of Florida’s legion of highly touted, physically freakish players. Fowler dropped 15 pounds during last offseason to accommodate a role change that saw him play out of a two-point stance more during his junior campaign. Florida used him creatively. He played the left and right side, in both a three-point stance and standing up. He was used as a standup blitzer inside the tackle box, and even played NT in passing downs against FSU.

In the run game, Fowler is at his best when allowed to attack the play. He maintains gap integrity well when allowed to penetrate and attack, but struggles when asked to engage and read a play. Alabama’s LT nickname must be UBER, because he took Fowler for some rides. He has longer arms that help him to maintain separation, but at this stage he simply does not have the power in his base to hold off larger offensive linemen, although he does a decent job against more similarly sized TE’s. Does a good job at disengaging blocks. Struggles with the zone read.

He’s a good pass rusher. He has a good first step, although his snap recognition leaves room for improvement. He shows the ability to bend the edge and “run the hoop”, however can be at times inconsistent in this regard. His primary pass rush moves are a rip, and a hand clearance/swat. The hand clearance in particular is a technically difficult move to pull off, as it requires great timing, and Fowler does with regularity. If he can learn to attack the opening this move creates more quickly, it could become an elite move. His counter move is currently a swim move. It works in college, but unless he converts it from a big windmill motion over the top, to more of a “punch-over” will get him buried in the league. He also has a spin move that he uses more as a disengagement move to reset the point of attack with the blocker, but it shows promise as a pass rush tool to develop. Doesn’t convert speed to power well, needs work there to develop a bull rush.

I didn’t get to see Fowler drop a ton. It looks a bit mechanical. I feel comfortable with him covering fullbacks and the flat at this point.

Grade: Late 1st-Early 2nd

If you only watch one game: FSU (2014)

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DE/LB Bud Dupree

Editor’s Note – Tyler Aston is a new contributor to Scouts Notebook, but he’s not new to following the NFL draft or evaluating players. His scouting reports will be a regular feature here. Enjoy.

Alvin (Bud) Dupree: EDGE, Kentucky, 6’4, 264lbs

Overview:

And I heard as it were the noise of thunder.
One of the four beasts saying “come and see”,
and I saw, and behold a man in blue, he doth wear number 2.

Length, loose hips, active hands, explosive power. These are all key traits in pass rushers. Bud Dupree checks each box. Dupree was the constant focal point of opposing offenses. They ran away from him, slid protection his way, and kept TE’s and RB’s in an effort to slow him down. Yet every game, there he was making an impact. Add in the fact he plays with a dogged relentlessness and has a high football IQ, and let’s just say the girlfriend didn’t appreciate the idea of remaking “You, Me, and Dupree”.

Dupree is a high quality run defender. He has active, violent hands that he uses to jolt the blocker back at impact, and then disengage him. He does a good job at setting the edge while not getting upfield, and effectively giving a huge lane to his inside. Teams don’t run at him very often. He still finds ways to bring down running backs. There is an old offensive line coach adage about leaving a backside defender unblocked on a perimeter play the other way: “If he can chase down our running back, well shit, we need a new running back”. Sorry coaches, your running back works just fine, Dupree is just that explosive.

Dupree rushes out of both a three-point and standup position, from the left and right side. His first step is electric. Most players lose some explosiveness when playing out of a two-point stance, Dupree gets low in his standup stance and absolutely uncoils. He uses this in combination with a quick move to knock down the offensive players’ hand and a quick rip. It’s enough to give even the best pass protectors a headache. Overall his pass rush moves are fairly limited. He mainly just has the quick rip. His ability to hand fight and his speed do help him work inside to counter. He has a rip back to the inside that is workable, but unspectacular. He did however throw a couple of club-rip counters, which had me giddily squealing

Overall his burst and hand fighting should get him by while his position coaches help him develop more complex pass rushing moves.

Dupree drops very well for a man of his size. He is better in coverage than most two down ILB’s. His fluid hips allow him to pedal quickly while keeping his eyes in the backfield. He’s covered backs and slot receivers on short drag routes and TE’s on wheel routes.

Grade: 1st (top 10)

If you only watch one game: Mizzou (2014)

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