Joe Marino’s Day Three 2016 Senior Bowl Notes and Lunch

The final day of Senior Bowl practices got underway in much warmer temperatures here in Mobile, much to the delight of all attendees. In case you missed any of my previous practice notes, links are below.

Day One Practice Notes

Day Two Practice Notes

North Practice Notes

-LA Tech DT Vernon Butler showed up just under 6’4”, 325 pounds and is a true dancing bear. He has show good movement skills and power.

-LA Tech RB Kenneth Dixon was the clear-cut best running back here all week and is making his case to be a day two selection. Dixon has a very translatable skill set with tremendous burst and is an excellent pass blocker.

-To continue my thoughts on LA Tech players, QB Jeff Driskell has the strongest arm of any QB here not named Carson Wentz. He is a developmental prospect but also very “toolsy”.

-I made it a priority to get down on field level to watch North Dakota State QB Carson Wentz throw and it was very telling. His throwing mechanics and the way the football comes off his hand are ideal. He has been excellent.

-Also on field level was Houston Texans Head Coach Bill O’Brien who wanted a close view of the QB crop. There is no chance Wentz is an option for them at the 22nd pick of the first round.

-I continue to dazzle at the skills of Ohio State TE Nick Vannett. He has improved as a route-runner all week and showed the ability to separate from safeties today.

-Utah State LB Kyler Fackrell flashed coverage skills today although he is best suited to play on the edge. He had a few quality pass rush reps and showed good hand usage.

-My favorite player today was West Virginia Safety KJ Dillon. I really liked his film coming in and I thought he displayed a balanced skillset. He was active against the run with relentless burst and physicality to the ball today and showed good reads in zone coverage.

-I have to give Harvard OL Cole Toner a lot of credit for what he did this week. Transitioning from the Ivy League to competing against the best Seniors in the country is no small feat and Toner shows that he belongs. While he hasn’t been perfect, he has played with good technique and a scrappy demeanor.

-The only area of concern I have with Indiana OT Jason Spriggs is that he over-commits to the outside rush and is susceptible to getting beat inside which happened a few times today. That is fixable and he should be a first round pick. A group of scouts from an AFC team said he could go as high as the top ten.

-Ohio State S Tyvis Powell looks great on the hoof and had an excellent session today. He lined up as the single high safety on multiple occasions and showed good reactionary skills while securing an interception in team drills.

-Minnesota CB Eric Murray continued to eat up stems, play physical and challenge receivers.



I’m not sure there was any greater highlight today than what we experienced at lunch. In the presence of numerous

Moments before Kyle Crabbs signs the waiver to participate in the Big Pig Challenge.
Moments before Kyle Crabbs signs the waiver to participate in the Big Pig Challenge.

NFL personnel including two general managers, the PFF staff and several NFL Draft analysts, NDT Scouting’s Director of Scouting Kyle Crabbs attempted a challenge like no other at the infamous Saucy Q’s. The challenge was to consume 2.5 pounds of pork, 1 pound of sauce, 1 pound of slaw and 5 buns in under 45 minutes. Only two people have ever actually conquered this challenge and we are sad to say that despite a valiant effort by Kyle, that number remains at two.

In an exclusive interview later in the day, Crabbs issued the following statement, “I take full responsibility for this failure on the field of play. I need to execute better and prepare more effectively in future contests.”

PFF’s Steve Palazzolo on Crabbs’ performance simply said, “stock down.”

I was able to capture the following pictures to commemorate the event.

12631155_10208710357341240_1364086619_o  12630971_10208710357181236_694052561_o   12656099_10208710357461243_679637577_o (1)  12637105_10208709207472494_754049760_o

South Team Practice Notes

-Arkansas G Sebastian Tretola had his best practice this afternoon. He displayed surprisingly nimble feet and the ability to absorb contact and recover.

-LSU OL Vadal Alexander doesn’t have the traits that I covet in offensive lineman and my board will reflect that. His coordination and balance is severely lacking and that was evident on the practice field.

-After three days of watching Virginia Tech OLB Dadi Nicolas try to hold up on the edge at 235 pounds and struggle, it’s time for him to focus on his off ball skills.

-Georgia EP Jordan Jenkins is a guy I liked quite a bit on tape. I thought he had upside as a pass rusher and was even better against the run. With that said, all week he lined up off the ball and struggled in space. I really wish Nicolas and Jenkins played in different spots this week.

-There was a buzz about SE Missouri State WR Paul McRoberts entering this week but he failed to make much of an impression until today. He has his best practice and showed skills to get open and adjust to the football in team reps.

-FINALLY another tight end not named Nick Vannett popped as South Carolina’s Jerrell Adams had a solid day. He found ways to get open and secure the football with soft hands and arms extended away from his body.

-Arizona State G Christian Westerman showed excellent technique today and I believe he has good upside in a zone scheme. His feet are quick and efficient.

-Clemson DT DJ Reader is a 340 pound, two-gapping nose tackle and he showed good power and movement skills today. Although he isn’t a pass rusher, he has the power in his lower half and hand technique to contribute.

-Alabama Jake Coker has quietly been solid this week. I look forward to getting a comprehensive look at his film in the near future. I’ve seen plenty of Alabama this year but not with a scouting lens on Coker.

-Eastern Kentucky EP Noah Spence is a sensational football player that could not be blocked all week. We’d be talking about a blue-chip prospect if he didn’t have off the field concerns.

Closing Shoutout

It was a real pleasure meeting so many members of the NFL Draft Community this week. The community is full

The PFF Crew, Kyle Crabs and Bryan Perez gathering around the Spark before practice.
The PFF Crew, Kyle Crabs and Bryan Perez gathering around the Spark before practice.

of high-quality, talented people with tremendous football minds. It has been thrilling to meet and interact with so many of them and I look forward to doing it again next year. While I won’t even try to name everyone, I’d be remiss if I didn’t recognize Draft Breakdown Co-Owner Bryan Perez. He is a terrific guy and the valuable resource that DB provides to the NFL Draft Community is in good hands under his leadership. Also not to be forgotten is the Chevy Spark that he drove the crew around Mobile, Alabama this week. This was truly a memorable and incredible week.


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Joe Marino is a Senior Scouting Consultant for NDT Scouting and co-host of the Locked of NFL Draft Podcast. Marino began his career as the Assistant Editor for USA Today Digital Properties Draft Sites Network in 2011. In 2014, Joe joined the highly regarded Draft Breakdown staff as a Senior NFL Draft Analyst where he received high praise for his coverage of the Senior Bowl, NFL Scouting Combine and prospect evaluation. Joe has been a featured NFL Draft Analyst on local ESPN Radio, national NBC and CBS Sports Radio, and numerous local radio shows and podcasts. Marino also contributes a weekly column to USA Today's Draft Wire.