Posted by Walter
As we saw last year (hello Jay Cutler!), a prospect's performance at the Senior Bowl can make a huge difference in where he gets drafted. This year is sure to be no exception as the Senior Bowl rosters are laden with more talent than ever before. Even with late pullouts from Laron Landry, Brady Quinn, and Joe Thomas, there are nearly 100 prospects in Mobile this week vying for a shot at the first day of the draft.
The big thing that scouts like to watch at the Senior Bowl are the practices. In practice we get to see elite prospects go one on one against each other. If you'll recall last year Matthias Kiwanuka's woeful performance against D'Brickashaw Ferguson caused him to tumble all the way to the end of the first round. Without discounting the value of the practices, I will be paying more attention to the game itself. I prefer players who perform at their best in live game situations than in one on one drills.
As I am not in Mobile to watch practice live I will have to rely on the peerless NFL Network and my trust Tivo to get my game film. But armed with those two things I intend to break down the day's practices and Senior Bowl happenings every evening. So, without further ado.......onto the news and notes from Day 1.
Day 1 - Monday 1/22
The big thing on Monday was the weigh ins where we get the official heights and weights of every prospect at the game. Most of the initial practice is spent installing offensive plays and defensive sets, so there isn't a whole lot of action there. But the weigh in is as crucial as anything. Taking a look at the official weigh in results, here is my list of winners and losers from the morning weigh in:
The Big Winners:
1) Troy Smith, QB Ohio State (6'0'' 222 lbs.) - He was listed at 6'1'' by Ohio State but many scouts figured his official measurement would come in far lower. Though he came in an inch short, six feet on the dot is far better than most expected and well within the range of an NFL quarterback. Furthermore, 222 lbs. is 7 lbs. up from his listed weight and word out of mobile was that Smith looked trim and cut carrying the extra weight.
2) Tony Hunt, RB Penn St. (6'1.25'' 239 lbs.) - We all know Hunt is a straight power back, so his showing up with an extra 8 lbs. of muscle is a good thing. That his listed height was only a quarter of an inch more than his actual height is also good news. Hunt carries his weight well and did not look as though he lost a step during the afternoon practice. Hunt is going to take a lot of punishment in the NFL, and the extra bulk will help.
3) Dwayne Bowe, WR LSU (6'2.25'' 222 lbs.) - Bowe measured in at nearly three quarters of an inch under his listed height, but word was that Bowe looked extremely impressive at 222 lbs. Anything over 210 lbs. is considered big for a WR, but Bowe looked like a cut, svelt wideout capable of going over the middle in the NFL.
4) Levi Brown, OT Penn St. (6'5.5'' 323 lbs.) - More on Brown later, but he came in at a half inch taller than his listed weight, and apparently carried his 323 lbs. very well. A common theory among scouts at weight ins is that "not all 300 pounders are made equal." This means that some big guys are fit and some are flab. Brown is the former.
5) Tony Ugoh, OT Arkansas (6'5.5'' 313 lbs.) - Wow. Ugoh, already known as an oustanding prospect, came in a half inch taller than expected and looked extremely athletic with a slimmer build. One of the knocks on Ugoh was his inconsistency in pass protection. His more athletic build will serve him well in this area of deficiency.
6) Victor Abiamiri, DE Notre Dame (6'4.5'' 271 lbs.) - Word out of Mobile is that no single player looked the part more than Abiamiri. The word I have seen most commonly describing Abiamiri is "specimen." Victor was extremely productive at Notre Dame and his adonis like physique has put him on everyone's first round radar.
The Big Losers:
1) Lorenzo Booker, RB Florida St. (5'10.5'' 188 lbs.) - Booker, already an undersized RB prospect, came in even small than he was listed. He is really going to have to show an ability to be a home run threat all three phases of the game (running, catching, returning) to assure himself of being selected on the first day. I like Booker, but man is he small!
2) Ryan Harris, OT Notre Dame (6'4.75'' 299 lbs.) - Harris, already a shaky prospect given his collegiate performance, appeared soft and "maxed out." Scouts are already concerned with Harris' ability to perform in the running game, and if his body is carrying all the weight that it can he is going to have a tough time getting any stronger.
3) Dan Mozes, OG/C West Virginia (6'2.5'' 300 lbs.) - Mozes looked short and flabby. He is up 10 pounds from his listed weight, but it didn't look like muscle. Mozes is already an undersized prospect, and the fact that he measured in at 1.5 inches shorter than his listed height will preclude him from putting on too much more weight.
4) Daymeoin Hughes, CB California (5'10'' 192 lbs.) - Word is that Hughes looked athletic and cut at 192 pounds, but I am extremely concerned that his height measured at a whopping 4 inches lower than his listed height of 6'2''. Bottom line is that Hughes isn't fast enough to be an NFL lock down corner at 5'10'', and will have to show ability in the running game to be a sufficient cover 2 corner.
The Wild Cards:
1) Amobi Okoye, DT Louisville (6'2'' 287 lbs.) - Wow. Okoye came in an unbelievable 30 pounds below his playing weight. Originally viewed as a 1 technique tackle, Okoye's new, sleaker look could allow him to play the 3 technique (the more coveted position). The one caveat will be that Okoye MUST now show the athleticism, especially in the pass rush, to play that position.
2) Brian Leonard, FB/RB Rutgers (6'1'' 224 lbs.) - Leonard slimmed down, way down, for the Senior Bowl in an effort to show scouts that he can play tailback at the NFL level. Leonard reportedly looked lean and cut, but a big part of his game has always been wearing defenses down with his power running. At only 224 pounds, Leonard is going to have to show a lot more speed.
Monday Practice Notes
- Saw Paul Poszlusny (OLB Penn St.) playing over the weak side guard in 9 on 7 drills. Not only did he make some plays but he looked very comfortable scraping and taking on blocks. This is a different alignment than what we have seen from Puz. Most people, including myself, viewed him strictly as a weak side OLB, but today he showed the potential to move to the middle/inside in nickel or dime package.
- Marcus McCauley (CB Fresno St.) looked very shaky in man coverage. His hips were slow, and his balance was all out whack. McCauley played very high in his back peddle which slowed his reaction time to cuts. He really needs to work on keeping his weight over his knees to allow for decisive cuts when the WR makes his move.
- Dan Mozes was repeatedly beat by bigger, stronger defensive lineman. Mozes worked out at both center and guard but it didn't help. He looked slow off the ball and routinely couldn't handle bull rushes. The knock on Mozes all along has been his size and strength. Today he looked like a one trick pony (he did look good pulling), and may be an overrated prospect by many (myself included).
- Levi Brown on the other hand, looked fantastic and took a big step in solidfying himself as the #2 tackle behind Joe Thomas. Brown dominated two all big 10 ends in Lamar Woodley and Anthony Spencer in one on one pass rush drills. Brown displayed outstanding balance against the speed rush of Spencer, and looked very strong locking out on Woodley and keeping him from using his hands.
- Drew Stanton (QB Michigan St.) looked outstanding running bootlegs, and his play faking and mobility should make him a very attractive option for a West Coast offensive team. I wouldn't be shocked to see Jon Gruden fall in love with Stanton.
- Amobi Okoye was inconsistent but flashed unbelievable athleticism on a few inside pass rushes. He displayed a great first step (thanks to his new, sleaker physique), and went right around Manuel Ramirez with an otherwordly spin move.