As always, there was a lot of information to gather and not nearly enough time to absorb it. I got behind (I always get behind) so we’re doing one big wrap up today.
But over the next couple of weeks we’ll be starting to take a closer look at the various position groups and individual players as well—flipping between the big names like Geno Smith and the unknowns, or later round guys as well.
I’ve been asked by a few people which group really stood out to me this past week and the truth is, none. It’s not that any position group was bad—though I was least enthusiastic about the linebackers by a wide margin. It’s just that no group blew me away.
Individual players stood out though. So it’s not like there wasn’t talent—it’s just that the talent was spread out across various groups, not concentrated in just one.
One of the things I did in Mobile was shoot a video with B/R’s Matt Miller about our initial quarterback thoughts.
Three days later and I am still not in love with any of these quarterbacks. Syracuse’s Ryan Nassib looked the best—he had the arm, showed good accuracy and made few, if any, mistakes. I’m curious to watch him closer on game film and see how he does in a real game. A few people I respect are high on him—and rumor had him as a person of interest for the Bills at eight by the end of the week.
Another guy who I thought showed promise was Tyler Wilson, who definitely has the arm. Monday he looked flat out bad—the pick I refer to in the video was pretty awful and he followed it up with another near pick. As the week went on his settled down and played more controlled, though as with all the the quarterbacks he had an uneven week.
The guy who seemed to split the crowd most completely was Mike Glennon. It seemed like people liked him or hated him (I was one of the ‘haters’). To me, I saw him throw passes that had little to no arc on them. Flat and downward were his two modes, which tells me his release point isn’t what it should be.
He definitely killed a few worms with low football passes as well.
Still, some didn’t see that and like the North Carolina State quarterback’s arm and over skills.
I’m intrigued and look forward to watching more tape of him.
The two guys who surprised me the most were Johnathan Franklin, a running back out of UCLA (ugh, that hurt to type) and Eric Fisher, offensive tackle from Central Michigan.
Franklin came away as very, very coachable. That may not seem like something which should be listed first ion his attributes but makes a huge difference my opinion. When I first saw him Tuesday (I had seen just the South practice Monday) he kept trying to bounce runs outside.
Now, that’s fine in college. Most of the time your speed will outstrip the containment. So when your first read after the handoff is that there is too much traffic at the line, you can bounce and it will work.
That rarely flies in the NFL where everyone is much faster than they were in college. Even this week, when Franklin bounced outside, he often got contained.
At some point though, he got coached up and after that, Franklin stayed in his lane. When he did that, good things happened and he has the speed to really be a pain in the defense’s ass when he hits the second level.
Franklin can take what a coach tells him on one play, and apply it to the very next one. Aside from Franklin, Conner Vernon—a wide receiver from Duke—also showed the ability to absorb coaching tips quick and apply them.
We’ll get more into the receivers another time this weekend or early next week.
Fisher was dominant pretty much the entire time. And not against scrubs—he had defensive end Alex Okafor’s (Texas) number all week. It took until Wednesday for Okafor to get his measure and beat him and even then it wasn’t easy.
Fisher is incredibly tall (just shy of 6’8″) and heavy (305) but has quick feet and can move well. His first punch is brutal, and his follow up moves often end with pancaked defenders.
Once on Okafor, he knocked him back with a powerful initial blow then when Okafor quickly recovered and came at him again, Fisher slapped him down (it’s the only way I can describe the hand motion) and flattened him.
Again, Okafor was one of the better defensive ends there and had a fantastic week. So keep that in mind when you picture him flattened by Fisher.
The Senior Bowl is only the beginning for these young men and it doesn’t finish until April. Over the intervening time, I’ll be doing a lot of individual player analysis as well as some positional lists and, hopefully, some film work and highlight videos for you as well.
Next week we’ll have the Super Bowl, so I might end up doing a few short pieces between now and then to keep the momentum going and share all I saw.
Also I have a book review and some other things planned for the off-season.
So stay tuned!