San Francisco 49ers: Full Scouting Guide for the 2013 Senior Bowl

Joe Levitt@jlevitt16Contributor IIIJanuary 25, 2013

San Francisco 49ers: Full Scouting Guide for the 2013 Senior Bowl

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    For the San Francisco 49ers, last week’s East West Shrine Game was one thing, but scouting the 2013 Senior Bowl is something else entirely.

    The previous all-star game highlighted late-round NFL hopefuls.

    This latest installment, however, showcases more early-round prospects with a higher likelihood of making an immediate impact at the pro ranks.

    And, to be sure, this game features players from north-south locales.

    Regional semantics aside, key starters and productive contributors in the NFL made their presence felt in last year’s Senior Bowl. Russell Wilson threw an early touchdown pass for the North, while the Colts’ Vick Ballard and Panthers’ Joe Adams led the South in rushing and receiving, respectively.

    Starting middle linebacker Bobby Wagner (Seahawks) and Packers’ cornerback Casey Hayward each grabbed an interception as well.

    Concerning the 49ers, front office personnel will surely have their eyes trained on a little thing called the Super Bowl for the next week or so. That said, team scouts have keenly studied this collection of seniors during practice and will continue to do so during Saturday’s game-time festivities.

    Even teams that reach the NFL’s promised land aren’t without their flaws. San Francisco, in particular, could use depth at defensive tackle and safety, as well as another wide receiver and pass-rusher.

    Fans of the Red and Gold might also find value in discovering future players at these positions for their beloved franchise.

    (At the very least for a brief respite from “Harbowl” coverage, if they so desire.)

    With that in mind, take heed 49er Faithful, and follow along as we provide a scouting guide on Senior Bowl prospects that can fulfill team needs for next season and beyond.

    Note: We will evaluate three top players on each side of the ball from both the North and South. Said prospects can be seen on Saturday, January 26, at 4 p.m. ET. NFL Network will provide televised coverage.

North Offense: Aaron Dobson, Wide Receiver, Marshall

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    6’2’’, 203 Pounds, 4.55-Second 40

    2012: 57 REC, 670 YDS, 11.9 AVG, 3 TD

    Career: 165 REC, 2,398 YDS, 14.5, 24 TD

    Football Traits (h/t ESPN):

    Exceptional: Durability

    Above Average: Ball Skills, Big Play Ability, Competitiveness, Height-Weight-Speed, Intangibles, Production

    Average: Separation Skills

    Highlights From Senior Bowl Practices

    Wednesday (h/t Todd McShay, Kevin Weidl, Steve Muench of ESPN Scouts, Inc.):

    [Dobson] had the best day [for a WR] and what stands out about him is his release. Washington's Desmond Trufant is a bigger, longer, stronger corner who did a good job on Wednesday, but Dobson did a nice job against Trufant, getting off the line of scrimmage and getting into his route early.

    Wednesday (h/t Eric Galko of Optimum Scouting):

    [Dobson was] a favorite of mine the past two years because of his highlight reel catches and production despite poor QB play…showed great routes today, especially along the sideline. His development there is better than I expected, and with his upside and quick feet to pick up speed and drive through contact on the interior, he could be a trendy 2nd round favorite.

    Thursday (h/t ESPN Scouts, Inc.):

    …caught the ball well. He made a nice over-the-head catch in the end zone in red zone drills. He made a couple other tough contested catches. The past two days he has really come on and found his comfort zone.

    Projected Round: 2-3

    Projected Role With 49ers: No. 4-5 WR

North Offense: Markus Wheaton, Wide Receiver, Oregon State

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    5’11’’, 183 Pounds, 4.45-Second 40

    2012: 91 REC, 1,244 YDS, 13.7 AVG, 7 TD

    Career: 227 REC, 2,994 YDS, 13.2 AVG, 16 TD; 20 ATT, 631 YDS, 7.6 AVG, 5 TD

    Football Traits (via ESPN):

    Above Average: Ball Skills, Competitiveness, Durability, Intangibles, Production

    Average: Big Play Ability, Height-Weight-Speed, Separation Skills

    Highlights From Senior Bowl Practices

    Tuesday (via ESPN Scouts, Inc.):

    [Wheaton] stood out in the wide receiver group…has speed…You can see his extra gear…and he also has caught the ball well the first two days here after struggling late in the year.

    Tuesday (via Optimum Scouting):

    He made it quite clear to scouts that he was the best wide receiver from the North squad. Long-legged yet quick out of his cuts, Wheaton separated underneath well enough to provide a clear throwing lane, while dominating with deep speed in the vertical game. Able to separate once the ball is thrown in his bench-and-go and fly routes, Wheaton has a home-run hitting skill set to be a dangerous weapon at the next level.

    Wednesday (via Optimum Scouting):

    ...consistently eats up cushion quickly and caused most defensive backs to turn their hips sooner than they wanted after selling the fade…for most of the week, he showed exceptional hands plucking away from his body and securing the football through contact.  He made two really nice catches today…one was on an out route when he dove to snag a pass low and in front of him using all hands.  Another was an acrobatic back shoulder catch in traffic on a seam route just before being blasted by the nickel corner and safety over the top.

    Projected Round: 2-3

    Projected Role With 49ers: Speed/Vertical Threat at WR

North Offense: Justin Pugh, Offensive Line, Syracuse

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    6’5’’, 301 Pounds, 5.12-Second 40

    Football Traits (h/t ESPN):

    Exceptional: Intangibles, Pass Protection

    Above Average: Awareness, Durability, Height-Weight-Speed, Intangibles, Production, Run Blocking, Toughness

    Highlights From Senior Bowl Practices

    Monday (h/t Kevin Weidl of ESPN Scouts, Inc.):

    [Pugh] has good feet and good balance, and strong in-line power. He checked in under 6-foot-5, but has short arms and that brings up some concerns. But he's a guy who can play guard or center. I think he could be a good starter in the NFL. I like his instincts and toughness.

    Wednesday (h/t Optimum Scouting):

    Speaking of offensive tackles converting to guard, Justin Pugh—who measured in with shorter than ideal arms—kicked inside for reps at left guard today and made the block of the day, pulling out on the perimeter and finishing at the point of attack with an audible clicking of pads. Athletic enough to stay at tackle in a zone scheme, but also able to be an on-the-move guy inside at guard.

    Projected Round:

    Projected Role For 49ers: Swing Guard, Future Center

South Offense: Mike Gillislee, Running Back, Florida

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    5’11’’, 207 Pounds, 4.50-Second 40

    2012: 244 ATT, 1,152 YDS, 4.7 AVG, 10 TD; 16 REC, 159 YDS, 9.9 AVG, 1 TD

    Career: 389 ATT, 2,072 YDS, 5.3 AVG, 20 TD

    Highlights From Senior Bowl Practices

    Tuesday (h/t Optimum Scouting):

    Wrote Eric Galko: "Gillislee looked solid today, and his decisive steps, especially once he passes the first level, was noticeable today in team drills" (via 

    Wednesday (via ESPN Scouts, Inc.):

    …stood out on Wednesday. He's always running hard, he's instinctive and he can get in and out of tight spots. He's not the biggest, but he has adequate size and he doesn't have terrible speed. He just really has great instincts and quickness.

    Strengths (via Rob Rang of CBS Sports):

    Naturally elusive runner with good lateral agility and acceleration to turn a small crease into positive yardage. Has a quick burst to and through the hole when it is there and enough speed to pull away when he breaks into the open field.

    While not a true grinder, Gillislee doesn't shy from contact and spins often as tacklers arrive, rarely giving defenders a clean shot on him and slipping ahead for positive yardage. Improved receiver, showing good hand-eye coordination and soft hands. A bit slight for pass protection but gives good effort when facing up or cutting defenders.

    Projected Round: 4-5

    Projected Role For 49ers: RB Depth, Big-Play Backup to Frank Gore

South Offense: Quinton Patton, Wide Receiver, Louisiana Tech

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    6’0’’, 202 Pounds, 4.5-Second 40

    2012: 104 REC, 1,392 YDS, 13.4 AVG, 13 TD

    Career (2 Years): 183 REC, 2,594 YDS, 14.2 AVG, 24 TD

    Football Skills (h/t ESPN):

    Exceptional: Ball Skills

    Above Average: Durability, Height-Weight-Speed, Intangibles, Production, Separation Skills

    Average: Big Play Ability, Competitiveness

    Highlights From Senior Bowl Practices

    Tuesday (h/t ESPN Scouts, Inc.):

    Patten has emerged as the top wide receiver in Mobile. Patton runs great routes, is sudden and smooth, and is physical in traffic. He has great focus, is a strong runner and transitions upfield quickly after the catch. Patton runs crisp routes and catches the ball well. He has had an excellent week so far.

    Tuesday (h/t Optimum Scouting):

    The best receiver of the day was easily Quinton Patton of Louisiana Tech...Patton does all the little things extremely well. He’s extremely clean and decisive in his short area routes, with zero wasted steps, explosive cuts, and maintaining balance throughout his route tree. He snatches balls across the field well, and positioning his body in the middle of the field. It’s hard to find anything not to like about Patton...He’s the type of player every team will want in the top two rounds if possible.

    Wednesday (h/t Optimum Scouting):

    ...LaTech’s Quinton polished in everything he does and is probably the best receiver at the Senior Bowl…His best play was against Robert Lester (a mismatch) where he ran a stop and go and tracked a deep pass down the sideline and into the end zone while keeping his feet in bounds.   

    Compares To (h/t Rob Rang of CBS Sports):

    Nate Washington, WR, Tennessee Titans -- Scouts had questions about Washington's readiness for the NFL when he left Tiffin, but like Patton he has used his savvy and deceptive athleticism to develop as a quality NFL starter.

    Projected Round: 2-3

    Projected Role With 49ers: Mid-Depth Chart Possession WR

South Offense: Mychal Rivera, Tight End, Tennessee

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    6’3’’, 237 Pounds, 4.85-Second 40

    2012: 36 REC, 562 YDS, 15.6 AVG, 5 TD

    Career (2+ Years): 76 REC, 1,018 YDS, 13.4 AVG, 6 TD

    Highlights From Senior Bowl Practices

    Monday (via Todd McShay, Steve Muench of ESPN Scouts, Inc.):

    Another player who flashed skills was Tennessee TE Mychal Rivera. It was a great day for him to shine, and he took advantage. He's the tight end with the most suddenness at the Senior Bowl. He also made a nice adjustment on a pass thrown behind him during team drills.

    Tuesday (via Optimum Scouting):

    At tight end, Mychal Rivera...was the most impressive. Though not built as well as you’d like in the blocking area, he showcases some ability to drive inside. And as a receiver, he showed great extension away from his body, in both the seam and on the outside.

    Wednesday (via Optimum Scouting):

    Rivera...[is[ continuing to showcase the ability to extend for throws away from his frame and complete the catch through contact. Rivera is limited in terms of overall size and girth as a blocker, but has shown more than adequate effort, positioning and willingness to develop further as an end-of-the-line Y. Rivera’s fairly developed route tree should intrigue teams in need of that second or third option at tight end.

    Strengths (via Rob Rang of CBS Sports):

    Rivera has good initial quickness to gain a free release off the line of scrimmage and is a reliable hands-receiver dragging across the middle. Like most collegiate tight ends in recent years, he's more of a receiver specialist than a third offensive tackle, but isn't afraid of mixing it up as a blocker.

    Projected Round: 7-FA

    Projected Role For 49ers: No. 3 Pass-Catching TE

North Defense: Datone Jones, Defensive Line, UCLA

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    6’5’’, 280 Pounds, 4.80-Second 40

    2012: 62 T (45 SOLO), 19.0 TFL, 5.5 SK, 1 FF, 1 SAFETY, 1 BLOCKED KICK

    Career: 148 T (90 SOLO), 36.5 TFL, 12.5 SK, 5 PD, 3 FF

    Highlights From Senior Bowl Practices

    Tuesday (h/t ESPN Scouts, Inc.):

    Jones…jumped out because of his effort. He just kept showing up…[has] good quickness and knows how to turn that into power as a pass-rusher. He does it better than a lot of guys here, and he makes an offensive tackle do three things: defend the inside, protect the outside and guard against his strength. Offensive linemen can't play him to a tendency.

    Jones was the only guy on Tuesday who beat CMU OT Eric Fisher(6-foot-7¼, 305 pounds) in a one-on-one drill, and he did it with an outside-in move. Fisher usually protects that pretty well, and Fisher stoned Texas' Alex Okafor on a similar move earlier in practice.

    Monday-Thursday (h/t Optimum Scouting):

    The best player from the week, even more impressive than Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher, was UCLA Defensive Lineman Datone Jones. He showed suddenness upfield consistently, playing with great pad level, driving with his legs very well, and showcasing a strong rip to disengage on the inside and out.

    He plays very well before contact, and his ability to both drive his blocker as well set up counters (and was surprisingly sudden laterally this week) allowed him to have success against every blocker this week, including getting the better of Fisher on 3 of 5 occasions.

    Strengths (h/t Rob Rang of CBS Sports):

    Versatile, has started at tackle and at defensive end. Has the combination of bulk, strength and athleticism to handle the end position. Thickly-built frame with broad shoulders and has packed on as much muscle as possible to his body. He is extremely active with a quick first step and explosive closing burst, attacking blockers with power and speed.

    Good short-area burst off the edge, and wins with strength and quickness at the point of attack. Load to handle because he is so relentless, making offenses plan for him on every snap. Adds value as a potential impact player blocking kicks on the field-goal unit.

    Projected Round: 1-2

    Projected Role For 49ers: Hybrid 3-4 DT/DE/OLB

North Defense: Desmond Trufant, Cornerback, Washington

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    5’11’’, 190 Pounds, 4.45-Second 40

    2012: 36 T (27 SOLO), 4.5 TFL, 1.0 SK, 1 INT, 9 PD, 1 FF

    Career: 195 T (151 SOLO), 8.5 TFL, 2.0 SK, 6 INT, 38 PD, 1 FR, 1 TD, 3 FF

    Football Traits (h/t ESPN):

    Exceptional: Durability, Instincts/Recognition, Production

    Above Average: Ball Skills, Cover Skills, Height-Weight-Speed, Run Support

    Average: Intangibles

    Highlights From Senior Bowl Practices

    Tuesday (h/t ESPN Scouts, Inc.):

    Trufant…had a nice day Tuesday. He has quickness, anticipation and route recognition. Trufant is a little tight when he needs to make a full 180-degree turn…but his ability to recover and short-area quickness are good.

    Tuesday (h/t Optimum Scouting):

    Desmond Trufant proved today, at least in my eyes, that he was the most NFL-ready in terms of footwork and technique among the North DB’s. Competitive and consistent with his effort, Trufant showcased the pedal steps, pad height and recovery speed to work in off-man coverage at the next level.

    Called out by Markus Wheaton in press-man 1-on-1’s, Trufant stepped up to the challenge and used the sideline effectively to force an incompletion. Trufant isn’t ideally suited to press and could stand to improve his punch strength, loved the way he competed and held separation to a minimum today.

    Projected Round: 2

    Projected Role With 49ers: Dime CB

North Defense: Jonathan Cyprien, Safety, Florida International

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    6’0’’, 209 Pounds, 4.60-Second 40

    2012: 93 T (54 SOLO), 3.5 TFL, 3 INT, 8 PD, 1 FF

    Career: 365 T (213 SOLO), 13.5 TFL 1.0 SK, 6 INT, 1 TD, 28 PD, 6 FF

    Highlights From Senior Bowl Practices

    Monday (h/t Dane Brugler of via CBS Sports):

    In a talented safety group, Florida International's Jonathan Cyprien stood out on Monday with his aggressive playing style and active demeanor. He practiced at full speed and left it all out on the field, not shying away from getting physical.

    Whether it was a contact drill or not, Cyprien is going to meet the ball-carrier with a pop, refusing to let up. With Kenny Vaccaro (Texas) and D.J. Swearinger (South Carolina) deciding to skip Mobile, Cyprien has a chance to emerge as one of the top safeties at this year's Senior Bowl.

    Tuesday (via Optimum Scouting):

    Cyprien might’ve been the best-kept secret prior to the Senior Bowl, but that no longer will be the case. Extremely physical, aggressive and instinctive, Cyprien impresses in the way he can man cover the slot or play in deeper zone coverage…[ideal] body type and quick-twitch element…

    Overall (via Optimum Scouting):

    [Cyprien] made his case this week for the best senior safety…His range, timing of his breaks, reading of the quarterback, and aggressiveness could make him one of the NFL’s best free safeties. I’m looking forward to watching more film, but it’s clear he has elite upside as a safety.

    Projected Round: 4-5

    Projected Role With 49ers: Backup FS Behind Dashon Goldson, Backup SS Behind Donte Whitner

South Defense: Cornelius Washington, Defensive Line, Georgia

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    6’4’’, 264 Pounds, 4.75-Second 40

    2012: 22 T (8 SOLO), 3.0 TFL, 0.5 SK, 1 PD

    Career: 76 T (46 SOLO), 17.0 TFL, 10.5 SK, 3 PD

    Football Traits (via ESPN):

    Above Average: Height-Weight-Speed, Instincts/Recognition

    Average: Durability, Production, Range vs. Run, Take-On Skills

    Highlights From Senior Bowl Practices

    Tuesday (via ESPN Scouts, Inc.):

    Washington…stood out on Tuesday because of his power…has an impressive build, and he's the guy you want off the bus first…[has] power. He did a nice job getting into guys' pads…He had good body lean and good leverage…

    Washington's ability to create power in a short area was impressive. On a couple of plays, he launched himself and his ability to drive his legs and drop down showed up. Washington would be good in a 3-4 front.

    Tuesday (via Optimum Scouting):

    And among the speed-to-power pass rushers, it was Cornelius Washington of Georgia, not Lavar Edwards that stood out. Very much a bull in a china shop, Washington wreaked havoc with an explosive outside-in power rush.

    Leveraging underneath his opponent, Washington finished each of his power rushes by collapsing the pocket and displayed tremendous explosive burst through the point of attack. One of the winners from Monday’s weigh-in, Washington proved that he is more than an impressive body and had himself an outstanding second day of practice.

    Projected Round: 6-7

    Projected Role With 49ers: 3-4 DE/OLB

South Defense: Vince Williams, Inside Linebacker, Florida State

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    6’0’’, 247 Pounds, 4.90-Second 40

    2012: 59 T (38 SOLO), 6.5 TFL, 1.0 SK, 2 PD

    Career: 139 T (85 SOLO), 12.5 TFL, 3.0 SK, 1 INT, 8 PD

    Football Traits (h/t ESPN):

    Above Average: 3rd Down Capabilities, Instincts/Recognition

    Average: Height-Weight-Speed, Intangibles, Range vs. Run, Tackling, Take-On Skills

    Highlights From Senior Bowl Practices

    Monday (h/t Todd McShay, Steve Muench of ESPN Scouts, Inc.):

    Florida State ILB Vince Williams showed good discipline and positioning in the underneath zone. He has limitations in man coverage but is physical. And he has better range than expected for someone his size (6-0½ and 247 pounds).

    Wednesday (h/t ESPN Scouts, Inc.):

    Williams is big and strong. He really shows up when they do any type of hitting and striking. He did a nice job of slipping blocks when he should slip blocks, did a good job of taking them on when he should take them on. He's playing with a chip on his shoulder. Sometimes guys emerge as leaders at the Senior Bowl, and this year Williams is one of those guys.

    The other players are rallying around him when he makes a play. You can see there's a little more emotion and fire with Williams. On Wednesday, you could see that he's a guy that everyone looks to on this defense to light a spark.

    Wednesday (h/t Optimum Scouting):

    [One] of the most surprisingly impressive linebackers...[was] Vince Williams from Florida State…[He]finishes his tackles with great pop, drives well on the interior, and doesn’t shy away from contact.

    Projected Round: 7-FA

    Projected Role With 49ers: ILB Depth Behind Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman

South Defense: Marc Anthony, Cornerback, California

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    5’11’’, 191 Pounds, 4.55-Second 40

    2012: 52 T, (35 SOLO), 7.5 TFL, 2 INT, 1 TD, 5 PD, 1 FF

    Career (3 Years): 137 T, (96 SOLO), 13.0 TFL, 5 INT, 1 TD, 26 PD, 2 FF

    Highlights From Senior Bowl

    Tuesday (h/t ESPN Scouts, Inc.):

    The best defensive back of the day was California's Marc Anthony (5-11⅜, 191), who played with speed and balance, and showed patience in his reads and backpedals. Anthony had a handful of pass breakups, including one during the team period that popped into the air and into the hands of Florida State LB Vince Williams for an interception.

    Wednesday (h/t Optimum Scouting):

    California’s Marc Anthony made more plays today as one of the more unheralded defensive backs at the Senior Bowl…there is no doubt he has the athleticism and physicality you like for the position.  He had a handful of pass breakups between one on ones and team sessions…As film shows, he breaks on the ball very quickly (in run support as well)...

    Thursday (h/t ESPN Scouts, Inc.):

    Anthony…has stood out all week. He was the best defensive back from the South squad. He was the guy who got his hands on the ball the most. With good instincts and anticipation, he is good at reading routes, he's very balanced and has a knack for finding the ball.

    His timing is great when it comes to leaping for the ball, and he's aggressive trying to rake the ball away. I have not seen a defensive back get his hands on more passes than Anthony. He capped off a good week and helped himself, for sure.

    Projected Round: 5-6

    Projected Role For 49ers: CB Depth, (Potential) Future Safety

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