Scouting Notes from Day 3 of Senior Bowl Practice

Matt MillerNFL Draft Lead WriterJanuary 23, 2013

Scouting Notes from Day 3 of Senior Bowl Practice

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    Day 3 of the 2013 Senior Bowl is in the bag—and I have the sunburn to prove it.

    The weather has been beautiful for scouting and analysis this week, making the job that much easier while watching the top 100 seniors in college football.

    Who made the most noise on the third day? Both the North and South squads took to the field with varying levels of intensity and success, and many of the players we've been tracking all week continued to flash on the field.

    Here's a look at my notes from the day.

Desmond Trufant

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    The Washington cornerback will be following in his brother Marcus' footsteps very soon. Desmond has the look and feel of an NFLer. He impressed today as I watched secondary drills with a former NFL defensive back. We were both blown away.

    Trufant has the size and bulk to play in press coverage up on the line of scrimmage, and he's quick enough to recover when he has to. I don't mind that Trufant missed on a few jams at the line because he was always able to get back into position. That's real life.

    With his size, pedigree and quickness, Trufant looks like a first-rounder. He'll be moving up on my board.

Marquise Goodwin

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    Another day, another impressive performance by Marquise Goodwin.

    The Texas wide receiver has been very good on the field all week, but today he solidified his move up my board. Goodwin is known for his speed, and it's definitely there. But unlike most track guys, his quickness translates well to the field. He's agile and able to change direction quickly; he's not just straight-line speed.

    Goodwin's hands were on display again today. He's catching everything catchable that's thrown his way. He does have a tendency to jump at balls a bit, but that's an easy habit to break. What's most important is that Goodwin has shown the route-running skills and hands to pair with his world-class speed. 

Lane Johnson

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    The man who held Damontre Moore to three tackles, one tackle for a loss and zero sacks is a lock as a first-round pick after three great days of practice.

    Lane Johnson was a fringe first-rounder for me before Mobile, but being able to see his footwork and agility in person has been enlightening. The OU product's quickness and his fluid movements coming off the ball, getting to the corner and in shuffling his feet are elite. To put it simply—Johnson has elite feet.

    That he lacks strength isn't a concern—guys can always add strength. Is the foundation there—footwork, athleticism—to be a great player? For Johnson, the foundation is definitely there.

Eric Fisher

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    The most impressive player here all week has been Central Michigan's Eric Fisher, and that didn't change Wednesday.

    It was great seeing Fisher matched up with Texas defensive end Alex Okafor quite a bit today in drills. Okafor is the type of player Fisher will see in the NFL—big, strong enough to come off blocks, and quick off the edge. Fisher controlled him every time, causing Okafor to get too high, which makes him easy to control.

    Fisher has straight-up dominated people in every situation. Be it in run-blocking or pass protection, he's excelled. The top 10 is now Fisher's home.

Johnathan Cyprien

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    I can't get enough of Florida International safety Johnathan Cyprien. In a game where so many players half-ass practices, Cyprien is putting his hat on anything that moves. I love it.

    Not only is Cyprien a hitter, but he's impressed me in coverage. Former pro Matt Bowen and I watched him this morning and saw a player who excelled when lining up in press coverage drills. He showed good balance at the line, quick hands to jam and great recovery speed once he had to turn and run. 

    And then there's the fact that he can hit. And oh boy can he hit. Cyprien is moving way up.

Ezekiel Ansah

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    The man. The myth. The legend. 

    Ezekiel Ansah is a favorite in the NFL draft writer community, and for good reason. While some see a freakish athlete who hasn't developed into a great player yet, I see a great athlete who can be coached into a great player. 

    Ansah made a great play Wednesday in team drills. The ball was snapped and Ansah, lined up at left defensive end, read the play great. He saw it was a three-step drop and throw situation, so instead of trying to bull rush the tackle, he timed his jump and batted the ball down. That showed me great vision, instincts and athleticism.

    Does Ansah need work? Yes, but the large majority of the players in this year's class need work. He has the athletic foundation and outside quickness to develop quickly into a stand-up pass rusher. The play referenced above shows us that he's almost there.

    It's early to say this, but I wouldn't be shocked to see Ansah drafted in the top five picks.

Mike Glennon

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    I've been hard on Mike Glennon all week, so I really wanted to start over and give him a chance. Not much changed on Day 3.

    It was clear today that Glennon is getting more comfortable, but he's still just not that impressive. Glennon throws a pretty deep ball, but everything from him looks the same. I see too many passes where there's a ton of air under the ball—and that's on everything outside the hashes.

    Also frustrating is that Glennon's passes have a downward trajectory. That's somewhat normal for a 6'8" quarterback, but this is extreme. When throwing underneath, Glennon's passes far too often are placed below the waist of the receiver. His release point and mechanics need a lot of work.

    On my board, Glennon is falling. He looks like a fourth-round pick to me.

Ryan Nassib

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    Yes, Ryan Nassib is my guy. He's done enough this week to stay there, too.

    Nassib has thrown the best ball of any North quarterback, outpacing Mike Glennon and Zac Dysert in terms of placement and mechanics. He's the more polished of the three, and it's definitely showing.

    Nassib made one really impressive throw today that stood out on my notes. He was rolling to his right and had to square his shoulders to pass on the run. The route was a 20-yard out to the sideline. And he nailed it.

    Being able to move and make that throw will turn heads, as NFL teams don't care if you can throw it 90 yards. They care about the strength to make playbook throws. Nassib has that. 

Miscellaneous News and Notes

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    - Marshall wide receiver Aaron Dobson hasn't impressed me. He's a long strider and not very fast. That makes route running tough, as he's not quick enough to get in and out of cuts well. 

     

    - Robert Lester from Alabama hasn't impressed me. He's slow to change direction and is reckless in coverage. He's a strong safety who is best playing in the box.

     

    - Clemson defensive end Malliciah Goodman has been sluggish and slow. He's not fast enough to win on the edge in the NFL.

     

    - Landry Jones has a good platform to impress this week, as he's not throwing against pressure, but he's been too inconsistent. I'm not sold. 

     

    - UConn cornerback Dwayne Gratz hasn't received a ton of publicity, but he's a money-maker for a general manager as a mid-round guy with starting potential early on.

     

    - I like Markus Wheaton from Oregon State as much here as I did on film. He has the body type to be an outside, vertical receiver. Good speed, great ability to track the ball.

     

    - There are many good wide receivers here who are impressive. Wheaton, Goodwin, Chris Harper and Quinton Patton are moving up the most.

     

    - The tight end crop here isn't great, but Rice's Vance McDonald is my favorite. He's an athletic guy who you can move around a lot pre- and post-snap.