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[Dynasty] 2016 Draft Class


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Rob Rang:

MOBILE, Ala. -- The life-blood of any NFL team is the draft and given the success John Schneider and his staff have enjoyed, the Seattle Seahawks know that better than most.

Seattle has enjoyed remarkable success with Senior Bowl prospects, plucking the likes ofRussell Wilson, Richard Sherman and Bobby Wagner after each starred at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in the sleepy southern town of Mobile.

Schneider and his scouting staff are back in Mobile this week for the latest Senior Bowl, with SeahawkFootball.com on hand, as well.

Tuesday served as the kickoff to the annual college football all-star with the Southand North team weigh-ins taking place first before practices began.

After taking in all of the minutia of heights, weights, hand width, arm lengths and wingspans, we actually got to watch a little bit of football.

Here are some quick notes on some standouts who would seem to be particularly good fits at positions of need for the Seahawks.

Noah Spence DE/OLB, Eastern Kentucky: The 6-3, 254 pound Spence was a dynamo off the edge Tuesday, blowing past the South team's tackles in pass rushing drills while proving surprisingly strong at the point of attack. Frankly, there are few edge rushers in this class who boast Spence's combination of agility, closing speed and power. The Seahawks are hoping to convince outside linebacker Bruce Irvin to return to Seattle but he's likely to generate significant interest in the free agent market. Spence could be a possible replacement, though it would almost surely require the club's first pick, No. 26 overall.

Jarran Reed DT, Alabama: If Spence was the best of the South's defenders Tuesday, Reed was a close second. The powerfully-built Reed may not make it to No. 26 overall but if he does, the 6-3, 313 pounder would certainly help up front against a defensive line which was beaten up by the Carolina Panthers in the playoffs and is facing the possibility of losing starting defensive tackles Brandon Mebane and Ahtyha Rubin in free agency.

Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville: Rankins isn't as stout in the run game as Reed (frankly, few are) but at just under 6-2, 304 pounds, he's also powerfully built and offers quickness as an interior pass-rusher, as well. Given the durability struggles of Jordan Hill, Rankins is an interesting prospect to keep an eye on.

Braxton Miller WR, Ohio State: The Seahawks are still lacking a big receiver to take some of the pressure off of their undersized playmaking duo of Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett and that need will only grow if starting split end Jermaine Kearse is allowed to leave in free agency. At 6-1, 203 pounds, Miller doesn't have elite size but he's simply a different caliber of athlete than the other receivers in Mobile. The body control and soft, reliable hands he demonstrated during Tuesday's practice is all the more impressive given that until this season he'd been a quarterback. Few teams are as willing to draft for traits as the Seahawks, which could make Miller all the more intriguing.

Jason Spriggs OT, Indiana: By now, you're likely screaming, but what about offensive linemen? Fortunately for the Seahawks, there are some intriguing ones playing in this year's Senior Bowl, including Spriggs, a highly athletic former tight end who has been the picture of durability and consistency for the Hoosiers, starting every game the past four years at left tackle. The 6-6, 301 pounder has the frame to get bigger and stronger and is very quick to the second level, showing the agility and balance to handle pass protection against speed rushers.

Le'Raven Clark OT, Texas Tech: Possessing an even better combination of height (6-6), weight (312) and length (36 1/2" arms!), Clark is another tackle to keep an eye on this week. Like Spriggs, Clark's biggest question is the fact that he comes from a relatively pass-happy offense which could make his transition to Seattle's power running game a tough one. That said, Russell Okung made a similar switch after playing his collegiate ball at Oklahoma State.

Joshua Garnett OG, Stanford: Now, we're talking power football... Garnett, a Puyallup native, won the Outland Trophy as the nation's top interior lineman for Stanford and his power (and length) has already been on display in Mobile. The 6-4 (and a 1/2), 317 pounder is quick off the ball and very powerful, knocking defenders onto their heels in the running game.

Vadal Alexander OG/RT, LSU: Alexander is a similar prospect to Garnett in some ways though he's played right tackle for the Tigers, as well. If he remains outside in the NFL, he will be vulnerable to speed rushers, though he possesses the length (34 1/4" arms) to push them wide. He's very powerful as a run blocker, getting a strong initial shove at the line of scrimmage to knock defenders back and is surprisingly quick to the second level.

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Eric Galko: http://optimumscouting.com/draft/2016-senior-bowl-headquarters.html

Quarterbacks

-North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz is clearly the talk of Mobile, as Phil Savage put a huge target on his chest for the media with top-10 talk. I’ll probably have ample articles trying to ease the hype, as only one team in the top-10 really has legit interest. He has the best velocity of the North quarterbacks (which isn’t saying much). But he had three really noticeable incompletions, a combination of timing of routes, reacting to the man coverage alignment and just poor placement. He was fine, but this is who Carson Wentz is: tools-y, but a guy who needs time and patience, not overhype.

-The other quarterbacks all had their woes. Kevin Hogan of Stanford had adequate velocity in slant routes and shorter throws, but once he worked downfield, his delayed release allowed DBs to react, and he simply didn’t have the velocity to really threaten on the perimeter. USC’s Cody Kessler seemed to have a slight hitch in his perimeter throws and really needs to load up on the perimeter. He had a few errant throws. And Jeff Driskell….didn’t have a good day.

Running Backs

-Didn’t get a great look at the running backs, but Kenneth Dixon of Louisiana Tech actually looked like the best of the bunch as a pass-catcher. He’s the best running back on the North squad (and probably the whole Senior Bowl crop), but I’m expecting Tyler Ervin of San Jose State to impress as the week goes on. And keep an eye out for Navy’s super athletic but a bit raw Chris Swain.

Receivers/Tight Ends

-I probably will gush about him all week, but Braxton Miller of Ohio State isn’t a project receiver. Deliberate and focused in his routes, he’s mere reps and secondary anticipation development from being a first-round worth receiver. He finished away from his frame well again today, and he’s such a natural pass-catcher. He had great battles with Temple’s Tavon Young (more on him below).

-Rutgers’ Leonte Carroo showed off as the North’s best true route runner, getting consistent separation with explosive steps at the top of his stem and breaking in, out, on post routes and quick hitches/comebacks with success. Didn’t get a chance to attach vertically yet, but he’s got that in his arsenal as well.

-The two small-handed receivers in Aaron Burbridge of Michigan State and Tajae Shapeof UMass (both with 8 inch hands) had strong days. They’ll have to overcome the hand size woes, but Burbridge finished in traffic well on two occasions (as he did in college), and Sharpe hung in air on three different occasions to reel in misplaced outside throws.

Offensive Linemen

-Indiana offensive tackle Jason Spriggs was stellar. He was the only tackle to consistently block Jihad Ward who dominated every other offensive lineman. He moves extremely well and has some nastiness to his game.

-Stanford guard Josh Garnett performed well for the North squad. Garnett stonewalledSheldon Day a few times in pass rush one on ones. Garnett is built like a house and he performed up to his hype today.

Defensive Linemen

Vernon Butler from Lousiana Tech had a decent start to the Senior Bowl week. He showed up heavier than his listed weight and did a great job plugging holes against the run. His pass rush reps were a little shaky, but he has rare length.

Linebackers

-Like the running backs, I didn’t get a great look at the linebackers, but Ohio State’s Josh Perry played well in both team and mid-range coverage, and looks to be the most NFL-ready linebacker on the North squad. Tyler Matakevich surprisingly wasn’t bad in flat coverage either.

Defensive Backs

-As I stated in the week preview, Tavon Young of Temple is the best cornerback here, and he had a great day today. Despite measuring in at 5’9, he continued to play physical in receiver’s route buildup, reacted when they hit their stem and consistently finished at the catch-point. He’s an NFL outside cornerback, and may be a top-3 or 4 CB overall in this class when it’s all said and done.

-Virginia’s Maurice Canady runs vertical with his receivers with ease, and his bend and vertical speed is remarkable in man coverage. But his lack of physicality in forcing receivers off their route and recovering to underneath routes is a major issue. He’ll test the part at the Combine, but may not be reliable for most NFL teams.

-Northern Iowa’s Deiondre Hall looks the par with tremendous length and engaging with some receivers in space, but his hip fluidity concerns are going to linger in the draft process.

-Among the safeties, Boise State’s Darian Thompson impressed, but he was late on two occasions to transition outside-in in center field, allowing two seam catches by tight ends. Ohio State’s Tyvis Powell had one strong stand against Bryce Williams in coverage, but got beat later that drill against Nick Vannett

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More Galko:

Eric Galko (@OptimumScouting on twitter) covered QB, RB, WR, LB, and DB. Charles McDonald (@SundayFiasco on twitter) covered OL/DL.

Quarterbacks

-To me, the best quarterback of the South today was Arkansas’s Brandon Allen. At the very lease, he had the best velocity of the four quarterbacks on the South roster. He’s a bit of a fastball-er too much at times, and had a slight sidearm delivery on shorter routes that may be an issue at the line of scrimmage. I had been told he struggled towards the end of practice (as I transitioned to the North for the day), but he did his best to generate some good discussion after having 8.5 inch hands in the weigh-ins this AM.

-Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott was adequate today, but his biggest concern on film as a throw was that he tends to try and place passes rather than throw with confidence and velocity on routes. His perimeter placement was an issue, and he just looked a hair off on most routes today. While I would chalk that up to just being his first day with his receivers, it wasn’t an issue for Allen and, to some extent, Jacoby Brissett.

-On Jacoby Brissett, his biggest issue is his release point. He’s a taller passer with a high release point, and his passes under 10-15 yards tend to stay too high too often. In those shorter routes, he doesn’t always give his receiver room to work upfield. It’s likely a slightly coachable fix, but it’s a concern nonetheless.

Running Backs

-I didn’t get a great look at the running backs for the South squad, but Jonathan Williamsflashed a little bit of everything on day one. He’s a natural pass catcher, he’s well position in pass blocking and quick routes and he’s always in control in his vision as an upfield runner.

Receivers/Tight Ends

-Surprisingly, the receiver I came away most impressed with on day one was Baylor’s Jay Lee. Despite hailing from a spread offense, Lee looks efficient in getting off press, staying balanced through cornerback contact and finishing his route with subtle separation with his hands just before rising to the catch point. He beat James Bradberry and Jonathan Jones on two separate plays during plays just like that.

-Georgia’s Malcolm Mitchell was the best among the receivers in finishing away from his frame, reeling in two really impressive hands catches. He’s clearly an impressive athlete and a natural receiver, and in positional drills he’s displaying when he had so much promise coming into his Georgia career.

-SE Missouri State’s Paul McRoberts is one of my favorites of the receiver class, but he had an expectedly inconsistent day. He’s a smooth, efficient yet slightly slow moving receiver who relies on speed change and efficient steps to succeed as a receiver. He even admitted as much that it’s an adjustment against better quality cornerbacks. But he’ll improve as the week goes on, and he’ll leave as one of the top four or five receivers here.

-Didn’t get many notes on Oklahoma’s Sterling Shepard, as he was pretty routine and effective, but didn’t get a chance to show much other than his overall polish as a route runner.


Offensive Linemen

Graham Glasgow’s day was mixed. He looked very fluid moving in the kickslide drills, but his work against the South defensive line was a mixed bag. He faired better in the run game than isolated pass blocking, which is fairly common.

-Georgia offensive tackle John Theus did not fair well at all. Eric Striker blew through and by him. Theus really needed a strong showing this week to prove he’s worth a draft pick; he’s not off to a good start.

-Arkansas guard Sebastian Tretola had an impressive day as well. He anchored well against the heavier defensive lineman and had light feet in pass protection.

Defensive Linemen

Sheldon Rankins from Louisville was completely dominant. He showed impressive burst and athleticism, an array of moves pass rushing and versus the run, and read the offensive line play beautifully.

Jihad Ward was dominant today. He didn’t produce much at Illinois, but his potential is obvious. Rod Marinelli spent a lot of time coaching Ward up and he proceeded to get better as the day went along.

Jarran Reed from Alabama had a solid first day in Mobile. He was immovable off the line of scrimmage and showed some quick, efficient hand usage. There were a couple reps where he threw Michigan center Graham Glasgow on the ground

D.J. Reader was a late addition to the Senior Bowl and he justified his roster spot on the first day. Reader is 6’3”, 340 but moves much nimbler than you would think. His athleticism was on display in run game and pass rush one on ones.

Charles Tapper from Oklahoma showed off solid athleticism. He was able to bend around the edge against Spencer Drango a few times and showed off impressive power on bull rushes.

Shawn Oakman and Dadi Nicolas struggled tremendously. Nicolas looks clueless out there and Oakman can’t anchor against the run or rush the passer at all. Both look like fringe draftable talents.

Linebackers

-Like the running backs, I didn’t get a great look at the linebackers, but Oklahoma’s Eric Striker had a strong day when working as an edge rusher (especially against Georgia’s John Theus and Texas Tech’s Le’Raven Clark), and LSU’s Deion Jones’s balance and transition to explosiveness upfield was clearly on display.

Defensive Backs

-Playing a few roles for the LSU defensive secondary, Jalen Mills looked the part of an NFL ready cornerback. Possessing a similar frame to last year’s LSU second-rounder Jalen Collins, Mills was a naturally fluid corner who transitioned vertically with plus-hip quickness and in-synch body control. And either he or SE Louisiana’s Harlan Miller was the top press cornerback for either team. Miller’s length impressed as well.

-Maryland’s Sean Davis is a favorite of him, and the former safety, turned cornerback in 2015 and now back at safety had a strong day today. His experience as a cornerback appears to have helped his turn and run steps and confidence, and he was one of the better defensive backs in terms of staying low in his turn and getting vertical with control. As the week goes on, look for him to really impress in team drills.

-Samford cornerback James Bradberry played with high pad level in multiple drills, and get bullied a bit by a few receivers as they rose to the catch-point. William & Mary’sDeAndre Houston-Carson didn’t show a whole lot of fluidity in turn and run drills, and I don’t think he’s suited to play cornerback in the NFL despite playing there at a high level in 2014.

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Dan Kadar:

MOBILE, ALA.: With five players on the North roster, it should come as no surprise when Ohio State players have good days at this year's Senior Bowl. That was the case on Day 1 of practices on Tuesday with a couple of Ohio State's big names standing out in front of throngs of NFL scouts and personnel people.

One of the bigger attractions on the day was Braxton Miller, the quarterback turned wide receiver. Pressed about the position switch on Tuesday, Miller declared his quarterback days are "in the past" and that he's a receiver now. As he's switched to wide receiver, Miller said he closely studies Julian Edleman of the New England Patriots andRandall Cobb of the Green Bay Packers.

On the field, Miller displayed many of the same skills Cobb does. He runs crisp routes, has quickness and really impressive body control. Miller looked like a natural returning punts as well. He's the type of multi-talented player who can fill two roster spots for a team.

Side note: Miller said he never considered transferring to Alabama before last season, despite some reports to the contrary.

Another Ohio State player who stood out on Day 1 was defensive tackle Adolphus Washington. He's the total package as an interior defensive lineman. He used his speed to work past blockers and his power to push them around. After practices concluded, a couple scouts were quick to meet with Washington and set up future meetings. (Random things you learn hearing a scout interview a player: Washington was only subleasing his apartment and is figuring out his living arrangements. Scouts ask weird questions)

Washington moved from nose tackle to the three-technique defensive tackle role for Ohio State season. Washington said he prefers the new position. He said teams have spoken to him about staying at that position as a pro.

"I like three-technique because it lets me use my quickness," Washington said. "(Three-technique) lets me get to the quarterback faster."

Quarterbacks quiet on Day 1

Things are a little different for the quarterbacks at this year's Senior Bowl. In previous years, each team had three quarterbacks. This year it's four per team. That means less snaps for each. Because of that, it was hard to get a gauge on them because real consistency could be developed.

The headliner, of course, is Carson Wentz of North Dakota State. His day started optimally at weigh-ins where he came in at 6'5 1/4 and 233 pounds. His hand measurement of 10 inches also caused stir. The belief has always been that larger hands mean a better grip, so there should be no questions for Wentz in that regard. On the field, though, a few of his passes were off. During one string, he threw the ball at his receivers feet, threw it over the receiver's head on the next play and finished the series by overthrowing on an outside pass. Wentz's passes had a lot of zip, and his timing with a new group of receivers was impressive. But over the next couple of days it would be nice to see his accuracy on point.

Still, Wentz looked like the best quarterback in this year's game. Alabama's Jake Coker threw a few solid deep outside passes. Dak Prescott of Mississippi State showed good placement on a few plays, and the ability to move out of the pocket when there's pressure. The other quarterbacks in attendance really did nothing else of note.

Spence stands out on the South roster

Eastern Kentucky pass rusher Noah Spence lived up to the hype on Tuesday. Spence moved around effortlessly in drills, tossing blocking dummies to the side with ease. Some of the drill work can be overblown, but it does show functional traits to help project a player to the next level.

Spence's aggression was utilized on sentient beings as well. In one-on-one drills against offensive linemen, Spence's mean streak showed. Following one play against John Theus, Spence had to be physically removed from the Georgia blocker. At 6'2 5/8 and 254 pounds, Spence looks the part. On Tuesday he played like it.

More notes

Dadi Nicholas of Virginia Tech didn't have an especially impressive first day. His hand technique looked sloppy and the pass rusher allowed blockers to get underneath his pads. Baylor's Spencer Drango gave Nicholas trouble on two consecutive plays. On the first one, Drango got underneath Nicholas and then popped him in the head. Nicholas complained to get another shot and proceeded to get thrown around by the Baylor tackle.

Clemson defensive tackle D.J. Reader is as powerful as you'd expect at a blocky 340 pounds. On one play he drove an offensive lineman back like he was nothing. On another play he powered Missouri guard Connor McGovern to the ground.

One of the noteworthy takeaways from weigh-ins was LSU linebacker Deion Jonesweighing just 219 pounds. When he got on the field a few hours later, it didn't matter. Jones moved around more fluidly than any other linebacker on the South and never appeared to get overpowered. Fellow South linebacker Kentrell Brothers also looked good on Tuesday. He moved around better than expected for a 249-pounder.

Baylor wide receiver Jay Lee had a good day of practice. He can gain easy separation on deeper routes with simple fakes and showed good hands. Jacksonville Jaguars wide receivers coach Jerry Sullivan got after Lee for getting beat the top of a comeback route, but that was the only critique sent his way. Sullivan also spent a fair amount of time working with Oklahoma's Sterling Shepard on his footwork to hasten his short routes.

Kansas State guard Cody Whitehair is among the best players in Mobile, and it showed Tuesday. He's a powerful and effortless blocker. He played tackle last season, but will be a guard in the NFL.

Louisville defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins looked really good. He plays a lot likeAaron Donald of the Los Angeles Rams, but that's not to compare the two. Hopefully more to come on Rankins in the next day or two.

Temple has three players on the North roster, and two of them stood out on Tuesday. Cornerback Tavon Young looks like a solid nickel cornerback because of his quickness and ability to close ground in a hurry. Defensive tackle Matt Ioannidis destroyed Western Michigan offensive lineman Willie Beavers so thoroughly on one play that his teammates screamed and spray water bottles in a approval.

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-The two small-handed receivers in Aaron Burbridge of Michigan State and Tajae Shapeof UMass (both with 8 inch hands) had strong days. They’ll have to overcome the hand size woes, but Burbridge finished in traffic well on two occasions (as he did in college), and Sharpe hung in air on three different occasions to reel in misplaced outside throws.

With today's gloves, do 8" (small hands) even matter? I mean guys are catching balls all over the place with one hand with these gloves.

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Jon Ledyard from new USA Today draft page:http://thedraftwire.usatoday.com/2016/01/27/2016-reeses-senior-bowl-first-practice-report-one-on-ones-notes/

On each day of Senior Bowl week following practice, I’ll be posting a recap of the day’s events, including one-on-one results, team session observations, and other notes.

Today the players were in helmets, shoulder pads, and shorts, but most of the drills were fairly full contact. Defenders didn’t finish tackles, but they didn’t hesitate to lay a pop into the ball carrier either. The South practice was extremely energetic, while the North session took a little longer to get going. Both coaching staffs did a great job, but I loved Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley’s passion and verbal presence at the South practice. This is his third year heading up the event for one team at the Senior Bowl, and he and his staff are clearly comfortable and enjoy the interactions with players.

One-on-One Defensive Linemen/Edge Rushers vs. Offensive Linemen

I didn’t see every one-on-one due to how quickly they were moving through matchups on the field, but I caught the majority of battles and documented them here.

1. EDGE Charles Tapper got leverage on OG Cody Whitehair and tossed him aside for a “sack”. Whitehair had a good day overall, but got off to a slow start and one coach got in his grill a bit to amp him up. After that he was pretty dominant.

2. EDGE Shawn Oakman push-pulled OT Le’Raven Clark to all fours on an impressive rush for the long senior

3. EDGE Dadi Nicolas worked the edge and beat OT Spencer Drango soundly

4. OG Sebastian Tretola cannot be beaten with power. The man’s anchor is absurd, and DL Quinton Jefferson found out the hard way and got buried trying to bull rush the Arkansas guard.

5. EDGE Noah Spence and OT John Theus had some battles on the far side. I couldn’t quite see who won the matchups, but Spence definitely countered him inside at least once, forced Theus to hold, and then the two went at it facemask to facemask, twice. Coaches broke up the second exchange, but Theus told me after practice the two players laughed about the moment after practice. Just good, fun competition.

6. Tretola buried DT Jarran Reed in a clash of two behemoth power players.

7. Jefferson on the ground twice more, couldn’t see who put him there on back-to-back plays.

8. EDGE Bronson Kaufusi ripped under OG Vadal Alexander’s punch for the sacks.

9. Reed got revenge on Tretola, swimming over the over-extended guard immediately with a brilliant move that brought oohs and ahhs from the crowd of coaches and scouts.

10. DT Sheldon Rankins push-pulled C Graham Glasgow to the ground and many on-lookers went wild again.

11. Alexander got beat again, did not see the perpetrator, but coaches spent a lot of time with him working on his footwork. Today made it painfully clear he cannot play on the perimeter at all, if anyone still held that belief.

12. Jefferson finally got a win, catching Tretola lunging off-balance to dance around the big guard.

13. NT DJ Reader ran over Glasgow. Straight bull rush to the ground. Awesome.

14. Spence beat Clark cleanly inside with a counter move, exploding through the pocket and laying a pretty big hit on the Jacksonville coach standing in as the mock quarterback. Both player and coach went to the ground hard, but popped up quickly. Spence has one speed man, and it is full tilt.

15. Spence beat Clark untouched for a sack, but they ran it back because the Texas Tech tackle missed the snap. The second time Spence bent the edge impressively, again recording the sack.

16. LB Eric Striker jumped in to join the edge rushers for a few reps. He whipped Theus inside on a counter move for an easy sack, then the Georgia tackle managed to ride him out on the second rep.

17. Drango worked LB Josh Forrest pretty good in one of the linebacker’s few pass rush reps. Just got into his frame and locked him out.

18. Alexander got beat twice around the edge by Nicolas

19. Tretola vs. Reed, two more epic battles. Reed discarded the big guard late both times, but I’d call it a stalemate. Tretola is tough to move, and even when he loses position, he works extremely hard to regain leverage and ride out a defender. Great recoveries from him today.

20. Reader beat Glasgow soundly on two separate reps, the second time with a nice rip move. I’m a huge fan of Reader’s tape, and he made himself some money during the first practice. Moves extremely well for a 340-pound man, and carries his weight really well. Advanced hand usage for a true nose tackle.

21. Whitehair mirrored Jefferson really well despite getting leveraged initially. The guard’s balance is one of his best qualities.

22. Tapper tried bending the edge and got knocked down by Clark. Went with a bull rush the next rep and ran straight through the Texas Tech offensive tackle. Tapper may be resigned to the power game, but that isn’t always a bad thing. Know what you do well and enhance it.

23. Kaufusi beat Drango around the edge despite a poor get-off. The tackle opened the gate far too early, causing a pause in the action for Drango to get some teaching on reaching the proper landmark in his pass set.

24. Rankins spin move on Glasgow. Not even sure the Michigan center touched him. Just dirty.

25. Jefferson tried to replicate Rankins’ manuever, but Westerman gripped him up mid-spin move and tossed him straight to the grass. Sealed Jefferson’s rip move off on the next play.

26. EDGE/LB Jordan Jenkins beat Drango around the edge.

27. Rankins whooped C Evan Boehm with the spin move. THE spin move.

South Live Team Session Report
  • S DeAndre Houston-Carson laid a big hit on RB DeAndre Washington in the team session.
  • EDGE Shawn Oakman leveraged the offensive guard (didn’t see who) and filled his gap really well on one play, even pushing his blocker a yard deep on the play. The coaches went wild and gave him some love. Nice moment on a day that wasn’t as terrible as I expected it to be for Oakman. Then again, my expectations are very low.
  • OG Christian Westerman got to the second level and buried LB Jake Ganus on one stretch play. Just ran him over.
  • RB Kenyan Drake is absolutely electric with the ball in his hands. Bounces runs too often, but his quickness and agility to get to the perimeter in a flash is eye-popping. He has special talent, but his role remains a bit unclear at the next level.
  • DT Jarran Reed blew up runs with regularity throughout the team session. Just too powerful to be handled up front.
  • S Jeremy Cash made an excellent stop in the box, flowing across the formation, sifting through trash, and holding the ball carrier to a short gain. His instincts near the line of scrimmage are just fantastic to watch. Some team is going to get one heck of a football player.
  • S Jalen Mills playing outside corner, LB Deion Jones working with safeties (not exclusively) after weighing in at 219 pounds Tuesday morning. LSU versatility on display at South practice.
  • EDGE Dadi Nicolas had ups and downs today, but got coaches amped with his effort to chase Drake to the boundary on one play. He plays very hard and energetic, but is often a lot of activity without much purpose. Wild card snap-to-snap.
  • Steelers Depot writer Alex Kozora told me Drake struggled in pass protection during individual drills, but Drake did step into Nicolas with a resounding pop during the team period. The physicality is there, just not the experience or technique.
  • QB Dak Prescott stepped nicely into a post route throw to WR Malcolm Mitchell (who I heard had an excellent practice), who reeled the ball in fearlessly despite Jeremy Cash closing in quickly. Were it a game, Mitchell may no longer be with us. Cash is explosive moving forward.
  • I think Ganus blew a coverage in the flat on Drake. Pretty sure I heard one of the coaches telling him he has to take the back if he leaks out.
  • LB Eric Striker chased WR KJ Maye 60 yards downfield after ten whistles had blown and knocked him to the ground. Coaches loved the hustle, which is something you’ll always get from the Oklahoma linebacker.
  • QB Jacob Coker took a nice deep shot to WR Sterling Shepard, who beat pretty good coverage by CB Harlan Miller to adjust and reel in the slightly underthrown pass. Another scout told me Shepard had a ridiculous toe-tapping, full extension grab earlier in practice too. He’s the best receiver here, and today confirmed it.
North Live Team Session Report
  • WR Aaron Burbridge said eight inch hands be damned, as he attacked the football nicely on a deep out, and slid to the ground to reel in another low toss from QB Cody Kessler.
  • TE Nick Vannett stemmed outside, got his teammate S Tyvis Powell to bite, then cut inside sharply to make a great full extension catch down the seam – all while Powell hung onto his waist. Pretty impressive move that drew cheers from the rest of the team.
  • S Darian Thompson either stripped the ball or forced a drop from WR Leonte Carroo with a great closing burst on the ball. Couldn’t tell from my vantage point, but the defense went nuts.
  • I missed what he did, but S K.J. Dillon made a splash play and was mobbed by his teammates.
  • QB Carson Wentz rolled out and rifled a perfect pass to the near sideline on a deep out that WR Tajae Sharpe dropped
  • The Football Educator analyst Brandon Thorn told me OG Joshua Garnett took DT Austin Johnson for a little ride on one play. That is not an easy thing to do.
  • QB Jeff Driskel was way off all day.
  • DT Vernon Butler dominated his gap consistently, re-routing backs all day
General Practice Notes
  • Field goal block was the first drill of the day for the South, and EDGE Shawn Oakman’s impressive wingspan looked formidable on the defensive side of the ball. Unfortunately he was consistently the last player off the snap, albeit in a low-intensity drill.
  • Baylor WR Jay Lee got coached up on his hand usage during a release drill simulating getting off press coverage. The receiver went underneath the defensive backs’ “hands” (blocking pads) rather than chopping downward to release. Jacksonville coaching staff immediately jumped in and gave him some pointers.
  • EDGE Noah Spence and DT Sheldon Rankins quick feet were evident working on defensive line footwork drills.
  • You can immediately see EDGE Dadi Nicolas’ labored lateral change of direction, more due to his out of control movements than having heavy feet. He also reached with the wrong hand when trying to trip the tackling dummy of the velcro football, which led to a stern reprimand from nearby coaches.
  • EDGE Charles Tapper had a strong day overall, showcasing exceptional power in his upper body when moving through the pop-up bags. His hands are deadly when he utilizes them, just has to get precision down. I thought Tapper had an impressive all-around day, and his thick build lends itself to a strong-side 4-3 defensive end who is pretty immovable against the run.
  • EDGE Bronson Kaufusi clearly doesn’t have the lower body flexibility that many of his colleagues possess, but the big BYU defensive end works extremely hard and is very coachable. Soaking up what the Jacksonville defensive line coaches were instructing him on. He also led every drill, and being the guinea pig doesn’t always lend itself to immediate success.
  • OG Joshua Garnett pulling into space is a beautiful thing. So crisp and nimble, yet you know destruction is about to befall some poor helpless sap on the receiving end of his blocks.
  • I missed what he thought he did poorly, but Garnett walked away from the huddle on one play cursing loudly, which caused OT Jason Spriggs to walk over and give him a quick pep talk. Fun moment of team bonding.
  • Former Dallas Cowboys OT Marc Colombo working a lot with Spriggs and OT Joe Haeg at practice on Tuesday. Showing them proper knee bend and hand placement to gain leverage and still maintain a sound base.
  • C Jack Allen had a nice rep anchoring against DT Austin Johnson.
  • Johnson took out his frustration on C Austin Blythe, swimming him quickly.
  • Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney stood next to me throughout most of the South practice, graciously accepted thank yous from various personnel people, before quickly asking them about their kids, families, and loved ones, usually in exquisite detail. He wasn’t giving lip service, he truly cared about each individual he interacted with, despite the fact that he clearly hadn’t seen many in years. Even held an umbrella for a couple of elderly members of Alabama’s board of trustees when it started raining. As genuine and sincere a man as you could ask for. One of the easiest guys to root for in any sport, and clearly well respected here.
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More from Ledyard, who is sure not afraid to type:

South Practice: Stock Up

1. DT Sheldon Rankins, Louisville

Rankins has been one of my top prospects in the 2016 class for months now, but the first day of Senior Bowl practice should have officially removed any doubt surrounding his status. Rankins is built like a brick house, with a stout lower half and exceptional explosiveness in all his movements. He tore up the one-on-one drills against opposing offensive linemen, showing off the spin, push-and-pull, and swim moves he has in his impressive repertoire. We’re getting closer to him being universally recognized as the top 15 lock he should be.

2. EDGE Noah Spence, Eastern Kentucky

Spence was absolutely dominant off the edge, showing incredible bend and the ability to counter with

quick feet. The former Ohio State edge defender displayed his physical side too, working into offensive linemen with leverage before slipping around the off-balance blockers. Spence is clearly out here with something to prove, more on that later.

3. LB Reggie Ragland, Alabama

Reggie Ragland was impressive playing on the edge in practice. He called Senior Bowl executive director Phil Savage last week and told him he’d like to play some 3-4 outside linebacker this week, and the early results were eye-opening. Ragland’s first step is explosive, and he diagnoses plays extremely quickly. He shot down the line of scrimmage unblocked for a tackle for loss today, before setting a hard edge to spill a run back inside to where Kaufusi could clean up with a big hit.

Speaking of Ragland, I had the pleasure of sitting next to longtime NFL defensive end and pass rush specialist Chuck Smith at weigh-ins, who runs Defensive Line Inc, designed to train front seven defenders for the NFL. Ragland is one of Smith’s clients, and the former Atlanta Falcons defensive end told me that he believes Ragland might be the best 3-4 pass rusher in the entire country. High praise, even amidst a so-so 3-4 edge class, as Ragland played most inside linebacker at Alabama, only seeing the occasional rep as a pass rusher. Ragland flashed even with limited opportunities off the edge however, tearing up Georgia tackle John Theus when the two met this season. He looked great today in pass rush drills, and will only improve as he learns to use his hands better

South Practice: Stock Down

1. OT Le’Raven Clark, Texas Tech

Clark had a great weigh-in, with the longest arms at the combine at 36 1/4 inches. It was all downhill from there though, as the offensive tackle struggled to combat speed and power off the edge all day. Spence worked him thoroughly, inside and out, and even Shawn Oakman got a few licks in. His footwork is the major issue, so we’ll see if the Jaguars staff are able to help him throughout the week.

2. DL Quinton Jefferson, Maryland

Jefferson is light on his feet, but definitely lacks some body control. Winds up to get power behind his hands and his outside foot will come well off the ground consistently. He got worked pretty good in one-on-ones. I need to get into his tape more, but he struggled today, and I wanted to see a little more fire.

3. OT Spencer Drango, Baylor

One-on-ones obviously aid the defensive side of the ball given the ample space pass rushers have to work with, but to say Drango struggled today would be kind. He simply doesn’t have the feet to mirror speed rushers, and can get yanked around by more powerful defensive linemen when he doesn’t win inside with his hands. They’ve got to try him inside at guard this week I think, but his issue extend beyond just his position. I love his fire and tenacity, but Drango has a lot to work on as a pass protector.

North Practice: Stock Up

1. DL Matt Ioannidis, Temple

I’ll be honest, I saw Ioannidis as a tenacious, run-stuffing defensive linemen before today, but his performance as a pass rusher during Tuesday’s practice was truly impressive. He won a number of one-on-one battles, showing good hand usage and quickness inside. I’m excited to continue watching him this week.

2. DE Carl Nassib, Penn State

Nassib has clearly continued to fill out his frame since the regular season ended, and looked plenty strong at the point of attack today. His length and physicality immediately set him apart in one-on-ones, but Nassib’s ability to bend the edge at 6-6 is really impressive. He dominated Kyle Murphy.

3. DE Jihad Ward, Illinois

Talk about a guy who plays with a relentless motor and exceptional physicality, Ward’s frame is among the most imposing of any prospect here in Mobile. Vines for arms and ridiculously balanced mass to all major muscle groups, Ward needs to play with better technique and leverage, but his arm extension and violence at the point of attack is fun.

North Practice: Stock Down

1. OT Joe Haeg, North Dakota State

I had the pleasure of watching Haeg with The Football Educator analyst Brandon Thorn, who astutely noticed the shallowness of Haeg’s pass set. He consistently got beat around the edge, even by limited speed guys like Jason Fanaika. Haeg has some rawness, and may get a few looks at guard this week. His feet need work to survive on an island.

2. QB Jeff Driskel, Louisiana Tech

I didn’t spend a ton of time watching quarterbacks, but what I did see left me pretty unimpressed with Driskel. The former Bulldog and Florida Gator was wildly off-target, tossing one throw several yards out of bounds. He held the ball far too long in the pocket, and the speed of the game looked overwhelming to him. Desperately needs two good days to stay on teams’ radar.

3. OT Kyle Murphy, Stanford

Again, easy to pick on the offensive linemen, but Murphy really had a rough day, and continues to show he’ll have issues sealing the edge at the next level. He just isn’t very nimble and has a hard time with speed rushers. Even at right tackle he looked overmatched. I like aspects of his tape, but I’ve got to see more the next two days.

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Rotoworld:

Rutgers WR Leonte Carroo (ankle) pulled out of the Senior Bowl.

Unfortunately, Carroo was not able to even answer durability questions this week. He reaggravated the injury that cost him two games last season by rolling his ankle during Wednesday's practice. Carroo's size is also a question after he measured in to the Senior Bowl at just 5-foot-11 7/8 (though, to be fair, he was a "chiseled" 217 pounds). Lastly, his character will be scrutinized as we move through the process because of last fall's arrest that resulted in a two-game suspension. Carroo will head back to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., to rehab and continue preparing for the combine, where he hopes to blaze the tracks.

Source: NJ.com

Jan 28 - 2:08 PM

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Senior Bowl Spotlight: DeAndre Washington, RB Texas Tech University

FYI - I was listening to the RosterWatch team on satellite radio this morning and they commented that they didn't see Wentz as a first round pick yet (certainly not a top 5 or top 10 pick), that Braxton Miller was looking very sharp, and that Cincinnati WR Chris Moore was a great dynasty name that the majority of leagues don't know anything about.

Edited by Faust
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Rotoworld:

ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay indicated that he believes that Ohio State TE Nick Vannett is "a more dangerous pass-catching weapon than some might have thought entering this [senior Bowl practice] week."

McShay noted that Vannett's "developed into a solid blocker" with hidden offensive ability. He has the frame (6-foot-6, 260 pounds) to play at the next level, but the actual production has never been there. For his career, Vannett logged just 55 catches for 585 yards and six touchdowns. Brugler might have liked what he saw, but Rotoworld's Josh Norris has noted that Vannett's failed to use that giant frame to standout against smaller defenders during the week.

Source: ESPN Insider

Jan 29 - 8:29 PM

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Rotoworld:

ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay noted that Oklahoma WR Sterling Shepard " proved this [senior Bowl practice] week...that he's one of the best route runners in this class."

Shepard's lack of top-end speed has already been documented, but McShay believes he makes up for that with a number of other attributes. "With good hands and quick feet," wrote the veteran analyst, "he has the look of a natural slot receiver at the next level." The 5-foot-10, 195-pound wideout caught 86 passes for 1,288 yards and 11 touchdowns this past season. Rotoworld's Josh Norris is likewise enamored, writing earlier this month that Shepard is "already precise in some of his breaks, creating separation and sustaining it." The former Sooner's also a catching savant (PFF graded him as having the best catch-rate in the country) and has the ability to haul in passes in contested situations.

Source: ESPN Insider

Jan 29 - 7:37 PM

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Rotoworld:

NFL teams are comparing Alabama RB Kenyan Drake to former USC RB Reggie Bush, TFY Draft Insider's Tony Pauline reports.

The 6-foot-1, 202-pound Drake was actually compared to Bush by OC Lane Kiffin (who coached Bush in college) earlier this month. The Drake evaluation is turning into an interesting case of eye-of-the-beholder, where the ultimate grade says more about the team (and the schemes they employ) than Drake himself. This is because Drake has uber-pronounced strengths and weaknesses. For the strengths, Pauline specifically mentioned Drake's "burst and explosion." Drake is also a tremendous asset as a receiver and returner and breaks tackles when the ball is in his hands. As for the weaknesses, Rotoworld's Josh Norris says Drake is one of the worst pass protectors he's ever seen at the Senior Bowl. The NFL loves Drake as a receiver, but defenses aren't going to be caught off guard with play calls when he's on the field.

Source: Tony Pauline on Twitter

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Rotoworld:

Dak Prescott - QB - Bulldogs

Mississippi State QB Dak Prescott said, "We have tons of guys in college football right now who are dual-threat guys who can use their feet. Its opening the door for us."

Prescott counted Russell Wilson and Cam Newton as quarterbacks who he believe have helped pave the way for dual-threat gunslingers such as himself. Said the 6-foot-2, 230-pounder, "Guys who can make throws from the pocket but can also use their feet and put the pressure on the defense. The defense never knows whats coming." He hasn't exactly received rave reviews during the Senior Bowl practice week, but earlier this week, NFL Media analyst Charles Davis noted that he's seen legitimate improvement in Prescott's passing mechanics over the last year. This past season, he completed a career-best 66.2% of his passes. While Prescott's legs are certainly a plus, whether he can find ultimate success in the NFL is going to hinge on the advancement of his passing.

Source: rivals.com

Jan 30 - 1:32 PM

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