MOBILE, Ala. –
– I’ll be departing from here later this afternoon but before I do I wanted to share with you all some of the nuggets of information I’ve gleaned from various scouts I’ve talk to this week. Some of them are scouts with teams right now, some run scouting services online and others are former scouts down here looking for work. I wanted to get an idea of what some thoughts were not only on guys here at the Senior Bowl but on this draft class as a whole even at this early stage of the process. The opinions below are those of those scouts and not of the St. Louis Rams or myself.
– One thing some people are debating is who is the best quarterback in the draft and some wonder if Robert Griffin III of Baylor will in fact challenge Stanford’s Andrew Luck to be the top pick in the draft. The consensus here is no, he won’t. For as much as scouts like Griffin as a kid and a player, he apparently doesn’t have the one intangible thing Luck has in spades: the ability to read defenses before the snap and make that quick read. Luck is still considered as NFL ready as any QB to enter the league since the man he might replace: Peyton Manning. And he’s considered a better athlete than many give him credit for.
– One former league scout said he believes the Rams Sam Bradford still was a better prospect than Luck, though and believes long term Bradford will be the better quarterback. For what it’s worth.
– It’s very clear that Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon is regarded as the best WR in the draft. And though some are curious what he’s going to run when the time comes, the majority believes Blackmon is indeed good enough to be a top five pick. One scout compared him to Julio Jones, saying he has similar after the catch ability and though he isn’t as fast as Jones, has better hands.
– There is some differing opinions on the top tackle in the draft, however. USC’s Matt Kalil is considered the best but there are a few dissenting opinions that believe Iowa’s Riley Reiff is the better player. And a couple of scouts say that Stanford G David DeCastro is actually the best lineman in the draft regardless of position.
– South Carolina WR Alshon Jeffery is apparently someone who draws split opinions. Scouts seem to agree he doesn’t have the speed or route running skills to separate consistently. But what he does better than anyone is “high point” the ball and go get it. He always seems to be covered but it doesn’t seem to bother him because he makes catches anyway.
– A sleeper name to remember at wide receiver? Wake Forest’s Chris Givens. Numerous scouts mentioned him as a guy that is better than advertised with the deep speed to blow the top off a defense. Keep an eye on him, he could be a fast riser and run something big time at the combine in February.
– At running back, it’s Alabama’s Trent Richardson and then everybody else. Richardson is viewed as a top 10 pick and is apparently the total package. He could slip if only because backs don’t seem to have the value they once did but there’s no question Richardson will go in the top half of round one. After that, it’s anybody’s guess right now.
– As for some consensus thoughts on the players at this year’s Senior Bowl:
– In a straw poll, the following earned votes as the best player here (in order of most mentions): North Alabama CB Janoris Jenkins, North Carolina DL Quinton Coples, Alabama LB Courtney Upshaw and one mention for Clemson DT Brandon Thompson.
– Jenkins, of course, is the transfer from Florida who has some character questions. But there’s no doubt that he has first-round talent as a man cover corner.
– Coples has questions about his work ethic and effort from play to play but he certainly looks the part.
– Upshaw is being called the next LaMarr Woodley.
– Thompson is an intriguing guy because he had a big junior year but didn’t produce much as a senior. He’s still considered an intriguing prospect, though.
– A sleeper name to consider here? Louisiana-Lafayette CB Dwight Bentley. He’s been a revelation the first couple days here and could work his way up some draft boards in the weeks leading up to the draft.
– There are some with concerns about the lack of size of Nebraska LB Lavonte David but those same people think he might be the best pure 4-3 OLB prospect here, even better than the speedy North Carolina LB Zach Brown.
– That’s going to do it for my time here in Mobile. I’ll have some more features and such on guys from here in the next few days but otherwise will be turning my attention to the rest of the Rams coaching staff filling up. Of course, I will be in Indianapolis again for the Scouting Combine in February with plenty more to discuss on this draft. And I’ll be doing my chat tomorrow so feel free to shoot me questions about some draft prospects and I’ll answer them best I can. Thanks for reading.
Posted in From the Sidelines | 1 Comment »