Joe Marino’s Day One 2016 Senior Bowl Notes
Starting your day by watching 110 men in their underwear get measured in a room full of NFL coaches, scouts, executives and media personnel sounds odd but there was lot on the line for the NFL prospects invited to participate in the 2016 Senior Bowl.
All of the weigh-in results can be found in the results page: Senior Bowl Weigh-In Results
Other notables outside of what you can read on the chart:
-I was sitting next to an AFC offensive line coach. When LSU OL Vadal Alexander walked across the stage he wrote down one word to describe his body: sloppy. I also had the word sloppy written next to BYU DL Jason Fanaika, Western Michigan OT Willie Beavers and Arkansas G Sebastian Tretola.
-Alabama LB Reggie Ragland had a disproportionate frame. He is built like a defensive tackle in the lower half but slender up top.
-Alabama RB Kenyan Drake and CB Cyrus Jones showed up in great shape. Bothe were chiseled and stocky.
-Defensive Players with notable “bubble butts”: LA Tech’s Vernon Butler, Maryland’s Quinton Jefferson, Alabama’s Reggie Ragland, and Oklahoma’s Charles Tapper.
-LA Tech QB Jeff Driskell has one of the most chiseled frames of any player at any position.
-Texas Tech OT La’Raven Clake’s arms come down to his knees. He has unbelievable length.
It’s also worth noting that before the weigh-ins commenced, Phil Savage announce that only three players declined invitations to participate in the Senior Bowl by choice: Oregon DL DeForest Buckner, Michigan State QB Connor Cook and Alabama C Ryan Kelly.
I discussed Connor Cook’s decision to decline the invitation with a source that has knowledge of the situation and he told me that Cook called Phil Savage and said it did not fit into his schedule this year.
South Team Practice Notes
The South practiced in Fairhope which is located just outside of Mobile and my eyes were focused on the offensive and defensive lines. Some quick-hitting notes:
-Despite multiple years of starting at left tackle for Kansas State, Cody Whitehair played exclusively inside at guard. Many had already pegged him to kick inside and showing up with 31 ⅜” arms cemented that move.
-Many believe that LSU OL Vadal Alexander is a guard at the next level but lined up both at guard and right tackle on day one. He struggled to sink his hips and mirror in one-on-one drills and should focus on playing inside.
-Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin and assistant coach Joey Porter were locked in watching defensive front seven players. The Steelers have used a first round draft choice on a defensive front seven player in each of the last three drafts and six of the last eight.
-Virginia Tech’s Dadi Nicolas and Louisville DT Sheldon Rankins were among the most intense players in defensive line drills. Their high-effort and energy was obvious.
-Nicolas was asked to hold the edge in team drills and at 235 pounds, he struggled.
-Rankins was the most impressive player in one-on-one drills. He dominated with a variety of moves and was unblockable at times.
-Clemson DT DJ Reader was fatigued and it showed.
-Baylor OL Spencer Drango was continually off-balance and over-extended in drills and one-on-one’s.
-Alabama DL Jarran Reed continued to impress as a run defender with his ability to stack and shed.
-Coming into this week I thought Alabama LB Reggie Ragland was a dominant c-gap to c-gap player but that has minimal value in today’s NFL. He is clearly wanting to show a more diverse skill set and is lining up on the edge. This will be something to watch.
North Team Practice Notes
Before I get into my notes, I have to give credit to Jason Garrett and the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff for running an incredible practice. The intensity and competition level was far and away better than the South practice. It was setup to emphasize one-one-one battles and structured to allow the attendees to focus on them without missing useful reps at other positions.
-Notre Dame DL Sheldon Day’s intensity and effort was obvious in drills.
-Illinois DL Jihad Ward was incredible in drills and excelled in individual battles. He seemingly caught everyone’s eye today and I am eager to watch his film.
-Southern Utah S Miles Killebrew had a great day breaking on the football and showing a physical, competitive demeanor. The same can be said for Temple CB Tavon Young as he broke up multiple passes and competed with intensity.
-East Carolina TE Bryce Williams had a rough day and struggled at the catch point.
-Ohio State TE Nick Vannett is really intriguing and physically imposing. He flashed skills at the catch point and blocked well in team drills. Keep an eye on him as the process continues.
-Everyone is buzzing about North Dakota State QB Carson Wentz and he had a great day. He has excellent physical traits and physical ability while showing a live arm. He missed a few throws early on but settled in. His command and leadership skills are apparent. This stage is clearly not too big for him and he is performing despite the recent hype over his draft stock.
–All of the concerns that I had about Penn State DE Carl Nassib showed up in the first practice; a lack of twitch, agility and balance.
-In mid-December, I highlighted Indiana OT Jason Spriggs and stated he is the 3rd best offensive tackle in the class and a potential first round pick and he played like it today. He has the skills to be a starter on the left side in the NFL.
-Stanford G Josh Garnett and Notre Dame’s Nick Martin were excellent today in one-on-one’s. Both showed a strong anchor and good feet.
-The lowlight of the day was the play of Western Michigan OT Willie Beavers. He is simply over-matched on this stage.