Wait, wasn’t the Senior Bowl like 6 years ago? Sure seems that way. It’s been forever since I stared into Jimmy Bama’s cold, soulless eyes, followed Adam Caplan as he pulled an illegal driving maneuver, and had Les Bowen let me know just how sun burnt my bald spot was. Ah, the glorious days in Mobile.
Since returning I’ve gone back to re-watch the NFL Network’s coverage of the practices. I’ve watched the game a couple of times. I had to mix this in with writing about Bill Davis, Dave Fipp, and the gang. That delayed my final Senior Bowl post until now, but it serves as a good intro to the Scouting Combine.
I’m not doing a generic review of the Senior Bowl. This is a write-up on how the players in Mobile fit the Eagles. I’ll cover the guys who do and mention some of the notable guys who don’t.
Eric Fisher – The best LT in Mobile. Very good player who should fit all 32 teams.
Lane Johnson – Great athlete. Former QB, TE, and DE. Would be an ideal fit in Chip Kelly’s up-tempo offense. Good pass blocker, but also has a nasty streak. Finishes blocks and likes to punish defenders. Can play RT or LT. Did both at Oklahoma and in Mobile. Not good enough to go at #4 and won’t last to the 2nd round. Too bad. He’d be a great fit for the Eagles and Kelly. Johnson was very good in the drills. He did a great job of extending his arms and getting control of rushers. Has a thin, athletic build, but still anchored well.
Kyle Long – Played for Chip at Oregon. Missed the practices due to an illness. Stayed in Mobile and kept up with things so that he could get healthy and play in the game. I can’t recall ever hearing of a guy doing that. Very impressive. Long played LG and LT in the game. I liked what I saw. I don’t think he’s got the footwork to play LT in the NFL, but might be able to play RT. Tough, physical player. Really pounded on defenders when he got the chance. Played strong. Able to get movement in the run game and hold his ground in pass protection. Uses his hands well. Figuring out his value is tricky. Would love to get him in the mid-rounds.
Terron Armstead – Athletic LT from Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Played well at the Shrine Game and then was a late addition to the Senior Bowl. Armstead is a bit of a project. Needs to get bigger and stronger. Does have the potential to be a starting LT in the NFL. Could he play in 2013? That’s the tough question. I think he’d be worth the risk because of the potential he showed. I loved the fact that he showed up in Mobile late, but never looked overwhelmed. He did well in the drills and in the game. Armstead is a natural pass blocker. Good feet. He’s also confident and competitive. Kelly loves guys like that. Armstead could be a terrific fit in the Eagles offense.
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Datone Jones – Measured in at 6-4, 280. Interesting size. Do you play him at DE or DT? Looked really good as an edge rusher in the drills and in the game. Only guy all weak to cleanly beat Fisher. Jones used a hard inside move and flew right by him. The Eagles could be interested in Jones in a couple of ways. They could stick him at the 3-technique spot and shift Fletcher Cox out to the 5-tech. Or they could leave Cox at 3-tech and put Jones out at 5-tech. Question is whether the Eagles prefer a pass rusher or run defender at the 5-tech. I do think Jones versatility will have Chip Kelly and Bill Davis very interested. He’s got an excellent frame (could easily add weight) and is a gifted pass rusher. Should go in the 2nd or early 3rd round.
Kawaan Short – Another versatile DL. Short is 6-3, 308. He had a good showing in Mobile. His quick burst and rip move helped him to beat blockers more than a few times. Looked good in the game. Short could be a 3-tech DT for the Eagles, but could also be a NT, assuming the team does want more of a 1-gap type NT. Short can take on double teams. It isn’t his specialty, but he will battle them. Should go in the 2nd round.
Brandon Williams – Small school kid who came to Mobile and opened some eyes. Measured in at 6-2, 340. Had a solid day on Tuesday and then looked very good on Wednesday. Quick off the ball. Light on his feet. Able to beat blockers and get into the backfield. My biggest question is his ability to take on double teams, but there were some plays in the game where he showed that kind of potential. Williams certainly has the size and strength. He was able to overwhelm single blockers more than a few times. If Williams is able to max out his potential, he could be an outstanding NT. Not sure what his value is right now.
Sylvester Williams – Another versatile DL. Could play 5-tech, NT, or 3-tech. Measured in at 6-3, 313. Able to get his hands on blockers and play 2-gaps on some plays. When he fires off the ball, has the quickness to get into the backfield and be disruptive. In the game Williams was able to get good push vs Brian Schwenke multiple times. Williams has a good combination of strength and quickness. Could be a real interesting NT for the Eagles. Probably goes in the 2nd round.
Ziggy Ansah – Ziggy, Ziggy, Ziggy. Never stood out in the 1-on-1 drills. Looked good in the team drills. Then had a great showing in the game. The only question with Ziggy is where the Eagles would prefer him. At 6-5, 274 he could be the 5-tech DE or he could be the SAM. That might sound crazy, but I think he could handle both. Ansah is strong enough and physical enough to be a good run defender. He’s athletic enough to be a good pass rusher. He’s at his best on the run and just making things happen, which is what you’d want at SAM in the new system. I think Ansah would be fine in coverage. Think of him as similar to Willie McGinest, who played OLB and DE for the Pats over the years. I think Ziggy could be in the mix at #4.
John Jenkins – Massive NT at 6-4, 359. Whether you call it the 3-4 or 4-3 Under, there is a need for someone to be the NT. Jenkins can be dominating at times. Played some DE at Georgia as well, but strictly as a run defender. Had a solid showing in Mobile. I was impressed with the effort he showed. Had some very good moments. I didn’t love what I saw because as big as he is, didn’t always look like a 359-pound DL. Big guys need to be bullies that play with a mean streak.
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Jonathan Cyprien – Arguably the best defensive player in Mobile. Was good in coverage, but great vs the run and as a hitter and tackler. Really stood out when I studied the game. Lined up deep at FS and attacked downhill aggressively. When he was in the box he got to the runner before the LBs on many plays. Tough. Physical. Good range. Athletic. Can cover. Could play either FS or SS. Would love to get him with the 2nd round pick, but not so sure he lasts that long.
Phillip Thomas – Didn’t stand out in Mobile, but had a solid showing and he’s a good S prospect. Projects to FS because he’s such a natural ballhawk. Did show great hands in the drills and practices, but we knew that coming in. Led the nation with 8 INTs this year. The Eagles must come up with more takeaways.
POSSIBLE PLAYERS OF INTEREST
Vance McDonald – Versatile player from Rice came to Mobile and made a name for himself. Showed the speed to get deep, despite being 6-4, 262. Had some drops, but also made tough catches. Good athlete that Chip Kelly could have interest in. Best football is in front of him.
Mychal Rivera – Small guy who is a TE/H-back type. Only goes 6-3, 237. Better blocker than I expected. Showed the ability to get downfield as a receiver. Made a couple of highlight grabs. If Kelly wants a player to move around and create matchups with, Rivera could be of interest.
Kyle Juszczyk – One of the stars of Mobile. Goes 6-3, 240. Played TE at Harvard, but FB in Mobile. Very physical player. Stood out in blocking drills. Could be a TE/H-back for the Eagles. Also would help on STs. Nicknamed…Juice.
Denard Robinson – If the price is right…Chip Kelly could be interested. He loves players that can be moved around to create good matchups. Robinson is 5-11, 196. That’s good size for him. Could be RB. Showed WR potential. Was lost as a RS, but just needs work. If Robinson is available on Day 3, maybe the Eagles take a chance. Would be a luxury pick, but Robinson has the potential to be a playmaker.
Justin Pugh – Rough trip. Arms were only 31.5 inches. That means playing LT in the NFL is a long shot. Got plenty of reps at LT in the practices. Showed that he has the footwork to play OT, but his arm length was an issue going against top competition. Got snaps at LG in the practices and the game. Showed potential. Good run blocker. Chip Kelly likes versatile OL. Pugh could get plugged in at RG or RT. Might be able to play LT, but I’ve got my doubts.
David Quessenberry – Played LT at San Jose State. Tried some OT in the practices in Mobile. Didn’t show LT footwork. Got plugged in at OG and looked right at home. Did get some reps at RT and was okay. Quessenberry has a tall, athletic build. That frame and his versatility could make him of interest.
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Margus Hunt – Huge DE at 6-8, 277. Could be a 5-tech DE for the Eagles. Gifted athlete, but not special. Bill Davis coached a big, tall, athletic guy in Arizona – Calais Campbell. But Campbell is/was better than Hunt. Hunt flashed at times, but wasn’t a consistent force off the edge. He’s older and that has to be factored in.
Josh Boyd – Late addition. 6-2, 312. DT from Mississippi State who showed some potential as a NT. I came away impressed and wanting to watch more tape on him.
Alex Okafor – Another guy who could be in the mix for the 5-tech spot if the Eagles want a pass rusher there. Goes 6-5, 265. Okafor struggled when going up vs Fisher in the drills. He just didn’t have the speed to beat him. Okafor did have better success when he shfited to a bull rush.
Kevin Reddick – DeMeco Ryans isn’t getting any younger. Reddick could be a good ILB. Has some size at 6-2, 246. Stood out in pass rushing drills. Loves to attack. Isn’t a conventional ILB. You saw good moments in the game, but really does need to be in a system that will take advantage of his skills.
Sio Moore – Odd player. Loves to rush the passer. Looks good at DE. Problem is that he’s only 6-1, 240. Moore looked good at times in the game. He’s best when attacking, whether off the edge or downhill from ILB. He’s shorter than most guys Kelly likes, but his ability to get to the QB and make plays could have the Eagles attention. Would need to play ILB in the Eagles system.
Nico Johnson – I didn’t get a strong feel for Johnson while down in Mobile. He started for Alabama, so you know he’s got ability. Failed to flash on a regular basis. Had one really nice tackle in the game where he got through traffic to hit a runner in the backfield. At 6-2, 249, Johnson has the build of an ILB.
Chase Thomas – 3-4 OLB from Stanford who made a ton of plays in the backfield. Got to Mobile and they put him at 4-3 SAM. Thomas struggled in coverage. He has some athleticism, but is so much more comfortable rushing the QB than dropping into coverage. Thomas had some good moments in the game. He is a tough, physical player. He could be an interesting target for the SAM role in Philly. Remember, that’s 70 percent rush/30 percent cover (approx).
Ty Powell – Small school player from Harding (Remember Tank Daniels?). Powell played DE in college and had 8.5 sacks this year. Watching him in the drills, you could see he was a talented pass rusher. At only 6-2, 245, he was shifted to OLB in Mobile. Did a solid job. Struggled in coverage, but it was more due to experience than lack of athleticism. Powell is a bit of a project, but the Eagles could look at him as someone to develop. Doesn’t have the ideal build (would need to be 6-4). No idea if he could play ILB.
Vince Williams – The Eagles have good ILBs right now, but there is a need for depth, unless you fully trust Jamar Chaney and Casey Matthews. Williams is a limited athlete, but was arguably the most physical player at the Senior Bowl. He knocked the crap out of a few OL. RBs who came through the hole were not happy to see Vince. Has limited speed and range, which may keep him from being a starter in the NFL, but the kind of thumper that could be a solid backup.
Duke Williams – Only goes 5-11, 201 or he might be listed in the first category. Bill Davis and John Lovett both say they prefer big DBs. Williams stood out to me with his man cover skills in the drills. There were a few reps when he locked down WRs. I wasn’t expecting that. Good hitter/tackler. Played with Cyprien in the game and you could see the difference in them, but Williams is a good prospect.
JJ Wilcox – Former RB from Georgia Southern showed big time potential as a Safety prospect. Has a sturdy, thick build at 5-11, 214. Wilcox was up and down in the coverage drills. He’s better as a run defender and tackler. Seems best suited to being a FS. Keep things in front of him and then attack. He is a downhill player and will knock the crap out of you. Good speed and range. Plays hard. He’s still new to DB so the man cover skills should develop with practice. Remember that he played at a school that runs the triple option. Wilcox wasn’t getting good coverage reps in practice.
TJ McDonald – I had a mixed opinion of McDonald going into the week and came out feeling the same way. Excellent frame at 6-2, 211. Could easily bulk up to 220 and play in the box or could stay thin and be a FS. I was highly impressed with the ball skills he showed in drills. McDonald caught the ball very easily. Looked natural. Can also be a tough guy. There was a day in practice when he attacked an OL on the move and flattened the guy. You see the potential, but the performance leaves you wanting more. Burned for a TD in the game by a 269-pound TE. McDonald had a chance to knock the ball away, but missed it. Is he an underachiever or a guy who simply has yet to put it all together?
Shawn Williams – Measured in at 6-0, 211. That’s solid size. Looks like more of a SS type, which is what he played at Georgia. Failed to really stand out, but had a solid showing. Did look better in coverage than I expected. Also got some shots in on receivers and was a physical presence, which we need.
Marc Anthony – I knew very little about the Cal CB when I got to Mobile, but he impressed me right away. Looks natural in coverage. Fluid player with good instincts and he plays with the right kind of attitude. Looked good in practice and the game. Goes 5-11, 191. That’s solid size for a CB, but I’m not sure if he’s what Davis and Lovett are looking for.
Desmond Trufant – One of the stars of the week. Trufant was outstanding in Mobile. He was very physical with receivers. Too physical at times. He jumped routes and played very aggressively. His lack of deep speed is a question, but the guy has good cover skills. Big time attitude, which can be good at CB. Wouldn’t admit to getting beat on plays where he was cleanly beat. Goes 5-11, 190. Could be a 1st round pick.
Blidi Wreh-Wilson – I think he was the tallest CB in Mobile at 6-1. The UConn star didn’t have a great week of practice by any stretch, but his frame and movement skills will get the Eagles attention if they’re looking for big corners.
Jordan Poyer – Another CB who shined in Mobile. Measured in at 6-0, 182. That’s good height, but needs to add muscle. Poyer was outstanding on short and intermediate throws. Showed great instincts. Incredibly quick in his break on the ball. That allows him to break up and pick off lots of passes. Doesn’t have top long speed and that’s a concern, but if you want a playmaking corner, Poyer is at the top of the list. I’m thinking he goes in the 2nd round.
Other CBs – There were plenty of other good CBs in Mobile. What I’m not sure of his if the Eagles will want guys that look like they could be projects. The secondary has major holes. It would be great to get players who can contribute right away. I focused on guys that I thought the Eagles were most likely to be interested in.
RBs – I think the Eagles are pretty set here so it isn’t worth mentioning.
WRs – I don’t see the Eagles adding anyone early. The team could add a bigger WR later in the draft, but no one in Mobile jumped out as a late round target.
QBs – We’ve already started talking about them and that will continue. They are a subject unto themselves.
Larry Warford – Terrific week, but the massive RG just doesn’t seem to fit the Chip Kelly offense or style of play.
Cornelius Washington – Good week, but at 6-4, 264 I’m not sure what to make of him. I think he’s best suited for 4-3 DE. Good pass rusher. I’m not sure how athletic he is. Looked like a straight-line player to me.