NFL Draft Stock Up, Stock Down for Day 2 of Senior Bowl Practice
Tempo picks up on the second day of practices at the Senior Bowl. This year, the morning practice was punctuated by cold wind that left everyone just a little miserable. Yet with pads on (and popping), it gives everyone a much better chance to see these prospects in action.
Overall, both practices were crisp and surprisingly action-packed for two coaching staffs known for their mental error-prone teams (Oakland and Detroit.)
Other than that, what was on the field mirrored what many players said at Monday's media session—the coaching squads are preparing these young men well for the transition to the NFL.
With timing better than Day 1 and more hitting being done, who had the best (and worst) Day 2?
Stock Up: Eric Fisher (OT Central Michigan)
No one looked better on the second day than Eric Fisher of Central Michigan. Frankly, I'm not sure anyone was close.
Regardless of whom Fisher was matched up against, he found ways to stone his man on every single matchup. His long arms, impressive punch and pro-level kickslide set him apart from any lineman in Mobile.
Speaking to one source with knowledge of a team's draft board, Fisher was labeled as a "top five" (overall) player. Another person said top three would be feasible. A skeptic might say he is just benefiting from the draft decisions of Taylor Lewan (OT Michigan) and Jake Matthews (OL Texas A&M), but this week, he is doing more than that—he's capitalizing.
Stock Down: Zac Dysert (QB Miami of Ohio)
In a quarterback-light year and on a group of North quarterbacks that are almost habitually underwhelming, Dysert hasn't done anything good to set himself apart from that group.
On tape, I'm a fan of the tools Dysert brings to the table. He's ridiculously smart and tough as nails. He's got check marks on every NFL-caliber physical attribute, even if he's not elite in any one area. The pre-draft team he has around him of Mike McCartney (former Eagles personnel guy, agent at Priority Sports) and Chris Weinke (former Florida State quarterback, now quarterback guru with IMG) are going to have him ready for April.
Here in Mobile? Dysert looks every part the system quarterback critics will try to paint him as.
Stock Up: Kawann Short (DT Purdue)
Short benefited from some level-of-competition issues today (more on that in the next slide), but showcased some good mobility and an impressive rip move that utilized his use of leverage to consistently make plays in the offensive backfield.
There are a glut of borderline first-round defensive linemen, and if Short continues his strong play, he could find himself on the top of that list.
Stock Down: Braxston Cave (OL Notre Dame)
Cave may have been broken by Jesse Williams during the BCS National Championship Game, because he was repeatedly thrown around during this morning's practice.
He made Kawann Short look like an All-Pro and may have made a lot of other interior linemen (Brandon Williams in particular) a lot of money during these practices.
Stock Up: Michael Buchanan (DL Illinois)
Buchanan had some nice one-on-one reps with Eric Fisher and probably did as well as anyone against the elite-looking tackle prospect. His use of length and body lean won him a lot of matchups against the other tackles.
He also showed a fiery streak and tried to get in Fisher's head as well as under his pads. While lapses in composure aren't positives for many other positions, NFL coaches like their defensive linemen with a couple of screws loose. Buchanan looks like he has the intensity demanded of the position.
Stock Down: Margus Hunt (DL SMU)
My initial thoughts about Margus Hunt were positive, but for a guy that has so many people buzzing (especially when he measured in at a legitimate 6'8"), his play was surprisingly "blah."
He needs to gain some weight if he's going to play end in a 3-4 (perhaps his most natural position) and a lot of weight if he wants to play inside like he did in his bowl game this season. Even more daunting would be any team that wants to stand him up. At his weight, it would make some sense and free him up against blockers, but he doesn't move well at all.
Hunt doesn't need to wow to be a first-rounder (he naturally wows just by walking into a room), but he'll have to show more explosiveness if he wants to continue climbing up draft boards.
Stock Up: Stepfan Taylor (RB Stanford)
It's an average group of backs here in Mobile (most senior classes of backs are these days), but Taylor had a good practice showing vision and the ability to find creases that other backs would ignore. Most importantly, he hit a lot of those creases and showed good lateral agility at full speed.
Taylor is a tough, natural runner. The ceiling isn't very high, but he's the type of back who will reward teams who give him a decent workload and could be a steal on the second day of the draft.
Stock Down: Ezekiel Ansah (DL Brigham Young)
Who's the guy named Ezekiel Ansah that is supposedly a first-round prospect? Because, frankly, that guy didn't show up to Mobile, AL for these practices.
Ansah looks like "just a guy" athletically and doesn't show a lot of polish in his pass-rushing game that would help him against the higher level of competition in the NFL. He's a blank slate who definitely has his best football ahead of him, and that will excite teams.
However, unless he's paired with a solid defensive line coach who's willing (and has the time) to put in the work it will take to make him an NFL-caliber player, he could be more Vernon Gholston than Jason Pierre-Paul.
Stock Up: Larry Warford (OL Kentucky)
Warford is a big guy, but drew some eye rolls at the weigh-in as he showed up "loose" (in scouting parlance), looking like he spends more time with drumsticks than dumbbells. Sure, it's nice to have a big, stout interior lineman, but Warford just looked sloppy.
Then, out on the actual football field, Warford left a lot of his fellow linemen in his dust when he raced through agility drills and held up on the inside well against his competition.
Stock Down: Robbie Rouse (RB Fresno State)
Some backs get to be slow; others can be small.
NFL-caliber backs can't be both.
Rouse is training with NFL speed guru Travelle Gaines and will undoubtedly leave scorch marks on the combine track like every other athlete Gaines has put into the NFL. But on the field, Rouse looked slow, deliberate and like a straight-line athlete without much ability to throttle up and down.
If Rouse times fast later on in the draft process, some team will fall for him, but he didn't help his stock on Day 2.
Michael Schottey is the NFL national lead writer for Bleacher Report and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Find more of his stuff at The Go Route.