By Brandon Thorn
I’ve returned from the Senior Bowl in Mobile after spending the entire week there including game day (which was a treat) and have many notes, observations, and side stories that I’m excited to share with everyone shortly.
With it being Super Bowl week it is the most bittersweet time of the year for NFL fans. We have the culmination of the entire off-season, regular season, and postseason in the ultimate grand finale in sports while it also being the last game of the year. Fortunately for me (and many others) the NFL has become such an all-encompassing entity that there really is no true “off-season” to speak of so the chance to get your football fix is some form or fashion is always available. I will touch base more on the Super Bowl later on with a fun fact as well as a few interesting nuggets of past games.
Top 5 Positional Rankings
My feature piece of the journal. This will be my second update (post-Senior Bowl) to my positional rankings for the 2015 NFL Draft. I will update this list again post-Combine, post-Pro Days, & a last time before draft day. This will allow me time to further my tape study and gather a stronger opinion on each player. What will separate this journal from others is the scouting reports that I have/will be doing for each player on my list. The format I will be using has been used by various NFL teams and is very in-depth. These reports will show exactly what I saw on tape and how I reached my rankings of the players.
2015 Top 5 Positional Rankings
|Jameis Winston - FSU||Melvin Gordon - Wisconsin||DeVante Parker – Louisville||Maxx Williams - Minnesota|
|Marcus Mariota - Oregon||Todd Gurley - Georgia||Kevin White – West Virginia||Clive Walford - Miami|
|Garrett Grayson - Colorado State||Ameer Abdullah – Nebraska||Amari Cooper – Alabama||Jesse James - Penn State|
|Bryce Petty - Baylor||Duke Johnson - Miami||Dorial Green-Beckham - Oklahoma||Ben Koyack - Notre Dame|
|Chris Bonner - CSU-Pueblo||David Johnson - Northern Iowa/Jay Ajayi - Boise State||Jalen Strong - Arizona State||Jeff Heuerman - Ohio State|
|Ereck Flowers - Miami||Brandon Scherff – Iowa||Cameron Erving - FSU|
|Andrus Peat - Stanford||Ty Sambrailo - CSU||Ali Marpet - Hobart College|
|T.J. Clemmings - Pitt||Daryl Williams - Oklahoma||Shaq Mason - Georgia Tech|
|La'El Collins - LSU||Laken Tomlinson - Duke||Hroniss Grasu - Oregon|
|D.J. Humphries - Florida||A.J. Cann - South Carolina||John Miller - Louisville|
|Randy Gregory – Nebraska||Leonard Williams – USC||Denzel Perryman – Miami||Marcus Peters - Washington|
|Shane Ray – Missouri||Danny Shelton – Washington||Eric Kendricks - UCLA||Tre Waynes - Michigan State|
|Dante Fowler Jr. – Florida||Malcolm Brown - Texas||Paul Dawson - TCU||P.J. Williams - FSU|
|Alvin "Bud" Dupree - Kentucky||Eddie Goldman - Florida State||Benardrick McKinney – Miss St||Alex Carter - Stanford|
|Vic Beasley - Clemson||Carl Davis - Iowa||Bryce Hagler - Baylor||Kevin White - TCU|
|Shaq Thompson – Washington||Ameer Abdullah – Nebraska||LB Taiwan Jones - Michigan State|
|Landon Collins - Alabama||J.J. Nelson - UAB||WR Rannell Hall - Central Florida|
|Gerod Holliman - Louisville||Mario Alford - West Virginia||WR Kenny Bell - Nebraska|
|Ibraheim Campbell - Northwestern||Ty Montgomery - Stanford||RB T.J. Yeldon - Alabama|
|Eric Rowe - Utah||Stefon Diggs - Maryland||DE Trey Flowers - Arkansas|
THE * INDICATES I HAVE A COMPLETED REPORT ON THE PROSPECT. THESE WILL BE POSTED ON THE TFE HOMEPAGE PERIODICALLY AS WELL AS LINKED TO THE PLAYER’S NAME.
THESE RANKINGS ARE BASED SOLELY OFF OF MY EVALUATION OF THEIR TAPE (WHICH IS INCOMPLETE) AND TO HOW THEY PROJECT IN THE NFL ON THE FIELD. I WON’T GET INTO OFF-FIELD, CHARACTER TYPE OF ISSUES BECAUSE I DON'T HAVE ENOUGH ACCESS TO FEEL COMFORTABLE EVALUATING THAT SIDE OF THE EQUATION.
2015 Reese’s Senior Bowl Recap
I flew into New Orleans, LA on the Monday before the Senior Bowl festivities kicked off, rented a car, and drove roughly two hours to my hotel room in Mobile, AL. I got in late Monday night but was up early ready to go for the weigh-ins on Tuesday. The event for me was especially enjoyable as I just took anatomy and physiology as well as kinesiology courses so not only was the height/weight important, studying the body types of the players had a lot of intrigue as well.
Heading into the Senior Bowl one of my favorite players in the class was Ameer Abdullah from Nebraska and it just so happens his brother Mohammad sat next to me at the weigh-in. I got to chat with him quite a bit that day as well as throughout the week and really enjoyed it. Ameer comes from a long line of successful family members and most are very well-educated. Mohammad is an active attorney in Alabama and Ameer routinely in interviews expresses admiration for his siblings. Mohammad told me that Ameer tends to be modest as he graduated from Nebraska in just three and half years.
Perhaps the most exciting part of the trip for me was the opportunity to meet NFL scouts and to get my name out there. I prepared for this trip for months and I left with 10 thumb drives full of my scouting reports and resume. I was able to hand them out to different NFL teams. Not only that but I got to meet my childhood hero John Elway who was very gracious and engaging. I got to chat with a few general mangers and roughly 15-20 scouts. I approached them with questions about their specific history in the profession and soaked up the advice and stories with a smile on my face. I also got to meet several great people from the draft community on Twitter. It was truly a memorable experience for me.
One of my main goals for this trip was to eat as much fresh seafood as possible since that’s not really possible here in Colorado. That mission was accomplished as I treated myself to Wintzell’s Oyster House several times for dinner and most definitely got my shrimp fix in.
Notes from the weigh-in
RB Ameer Abdullah – Nebraska at 5082/198. Ameer was incredibly sculpted and has evenly dispersed muscle throughout his upper and lower half. Displayed a very strong base.
OT TJ Clemmings – Pittsburgh at 6045/307. Clemmings fit the bill of the “new-age” offensive tackle by having more muscle than fat and being very solid. His lower half in particular stood out as his posture was excellent.
S Kurtis Drummond – Michigan State at 6005/205. Drummond had a very defined and proportioned body with impressive calves and legs.
LB Jordan Hicks – Texas at 6014/241. Very strong lower half, sculpted overall.
WR Ty Montgomery – Stanford at 5116/216. Montgomery came into the event as one of the players expected to shine here and he did. Has an incredibly developed back and looked like a freakish athlete.
CB Josh Shaw – USC at 6004/198. Incredibly defined all the way around.
LB Denzel Perryman – Miami at 5105/242. Perryman is on my winners and losers list but he’s here because he has one of the thickest lower halves I’ve ever seen on a human. His quads/hamstrings/calves were huge and his upper half was well-developed too.
OT La’El Collins – LSU at 6045/308. Collins’ knees were a concern as he appeared to either have tight ankles or hips (which tends to lead to ACL issues) but his overall muscle development was phenomenal. He looked like more of an athlete than interior lineman.
OT Ty Sambrailo – Colorado State at 6056/309. Very good height/weight but he his knees are valgus. This means they appear to be collapsing inward or medially. It’s a poster deviation that’s directly associated with ACL injuries. It is correctable in most cases through strengthening the hips or improving quad/hamstring function but its something to keep an eye on in the future.
C Reese Dismukes – Auburn at 6027/295. Valgus knees.
DT Danny Shelton – Washington at 6016/343. Teams will love his sheer size and mass but his knees were the most valgus I saw. It looks like he’s about to collapse onto himself. I have a note to keep tabs on if Shelton ever has an ACL injury in his career.
CB Kevin White – TCU – While his thin frame will hurt his stock, White is very fluid flipping his hips and trailing receivers closely. He is very athletic and has excellent ball skills. He presents his best value as a day 2 pick.
CB Quandre Diggs – Texas – Diggs was around the ball all week and from what I saw played the best out of the corners throughout the week including notching an INT in the game on Saturday. His ball skills really stood out.
CB Nick Marshall – Auburn – Marshall chose to play corner this week instead of cornerback due to it likely being his best position in the pro game. Marshall has previous experience here from his days at Georgia and transferred over very smoothly in practice. He has the natural athleticism and technique in coverage to warrant a late round flyer. The initiative and willingness he showed to make the switch impressed people as well.
DT Carl Davis – Iowa – Davis was the best interior defensive lineman here and was unstoppable at times with his impressive combination of strength, size, and athleticism. He consistently stacks/sheds blockers with ease and was a nightmare at the point of attack for blockers this week. His performance combined with solid tape gave him a chance to sneak in at the end of round one come draft day.
OG Laken Tomlinson – Duke – Tomlinson began the week a little slow and looked somewhat overmatched to me especially against Danny Shelton. As the days went on however he really improved and settled in. His most redeeming quality is his versatility. He has the size/strength to play in a power run scheme and the movement ability to play in the zone scheme.
OT Rob Havenstein – Wisconsin – Heading into the week Havenstein was a virtual unknown to me as I didn’t get a chance to watch his tape. After the week he was one of the few guys I highlighted to break down his film right away because he looked like the most polished tackle here at times. It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise though, Badger OL are renown for being technicians.
RB David Cobb – Minnesota – Cobb showed that he has a solid understanding of identifying the hole and getting through it with decisiveness all week. With his ideal height/weight Cobb elevated his stock significantly here.
WR Jamison Crowder – Duke – A scout mentioned to me that Crowder reminded him a little bit of T.Y. Hilton from the Indianapolis Colts. People knew that he could fly and that he had moves out of the slot but his ball skills and tracking ability really shined this week.
DE Trey Flowers – Arkansas – Flowers was an extremely productive player at Arkansas not through an elite burst or athleticism off the edge but with effort and technique. That translated very well this week as he made plays in the backfield and produced pressure in team drills as much as any player here off the edge. Flowers plays with excellent leverage, functional strength, and tenacity that make him a very difficult player to block with just one man.
WR Phillip Dorsett – Miami – Dorsett was arguably the fastest player in Mobile and what made him stand out was his effort. He was full speed all week and didn’t drop a ball in the snaps I saw.
FB Tyler Varga – Yale – Not only did Varga look a professional body builder at his weigh-in, he was by no means stiff when he put his pads on. Varga displayed soft hands throughout the week, a willingness to stick his nose in the hole, and scored two rushing touchdowns in the game. With his obvious intelligence and dedication, Varga proved to me that he can play in the NFL.
OT Ty Sambrailo – Colorado State – I only got to view a few tapes of Sambrailo prior to the week but the two concerns I had about him were functional strength and overall athleticism. Both of these things showed up for me this week as Sambrailo looked overmatched physically at times on the edge. He is an extremely tough and technique-driven player who will be a day 2 pick, but he by no means wowed me this week.
WR Sammie Coates – Auburn – Coates is one of the most fascinating players on this list because physically, he looks like Terrell Owens 2.0. His consistency is a serious question as he can disappear at times and take over at others. He is still very raw in terms of route running but he showed some surprising ball skills on corner fades in the end zone this week. He could be put on the winner or loser list but for me it was more of a confirmation that he needs to become a more consistent player.
All of the quarterbacks – This was a bad week for every quarterback on both sides as there was an eye-opening amount of bad throws. Nobody that I saw demonstrated the accuracy to be a starter at the next level without major improvement. If I had to pick one guy of the bunch to draft it would be Bryce Petty. He has very underrated athleticism and enough arm strength to succeed.
LB Zack Hodges – Harvard – There was some buzz surrounding Hodges coming into the week and while his long frame looks impressive, he is going to get the dreaded tweener tab in the draft. He didn’t look particularly comfortable rushing the passer as he didn’t have enough strength to go through guys and not enough explosion to go around them. I haven’t studied his tape but on the surface he looks like a day 3 pick.