What Are the Experts Saying About NFL Draft Stock After the Senior Bowl?
The NFL's "silly season" is underway in earnest, as last week's Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama was a chance for some of college football's best and brightest to show off for scouts and coaches from across the National Football League.
The week went better for some than for others and led to a great deal of speculation from draft pundits across the Internet as to how what transpired at the Senior Bowl might affect this April's NFL draft.
Here're what some of the industry's top draft "experts" had to say.
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Six of the nation's top quarterbacks were in attendance in Mobile, but none of those players really did anything to set themselves apart in what appears to be a weak and muddied draft class at the position.
Tyler Wilson of Arkansas was named Most Outstanding Performer at the position by coaches after a solid week of practices, but a so-so showing in the game itself left former NFL executive Phil Savage unimpressed according to Dane Brugler of CBS Sports.
I'd agree RT @dannyparkins Phil Savage on Tyler Wilson: "Obviously he's not the number one pick in the draft... Second round likely."
— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) January 28, 2013
Mike Glennon of North Carolina State didn't fare any better, as the same inconsistency that plagued Glennon throughout his collegiate career was on display once again both in practices and during the game.
According to Bleacher Report's own Matt Miller, Glennon is sliding on draft boards.
Another NFL scout told me today that his team has a late-round grade on Mike Glennon. Teams already stacking their boards.
— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) January 24, 2013
Ryan Nassib of Syracuse had a decent week of practice but struggled in the game. ESPN Denver's Cecil Lammey reports that the poor game showing may not have impacted Nassib's stock much.
Scout chat from last night, AFC guy told me Ryan Nassib's poor #SeniorBowl game won't impact their grade, they have him as mid-2nd round guy
— Cecil Lammey (@cecillammey) January 28, 2013
Finally, E.J. Manuel of Florida State won MVP honors in Saturday's game, but after Manuel threw a beautiful scoring strike during the contest Draft Countdown's Scott Wright cautioned people not to get suckered in.
That is the type of "Wow" throw that #FloridaState QB E.J. Manuel would flash at times this week, they were just too few and far between.
— Scott Wright (@DraftCountdown) January 26, 2013
Offensive Linemen Stand Tall
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The quarterbacks may not have shined at the Senior Bowl, but the same cannot be said of the folks who block for them.
Central Michigan offensive tackle Eric Fisher was named the top overall performer in practices, and after dominating competition all week long, the third-team All-American is rocketing up draft boards and may flirt with the top five, according to Jeff McClane of The Philadelphia Inquirer.
— Jeff McLane (@Jeff_McLane) January 24, 2013
Fisher wasn't the only tackle who enjoyed a great week in Alabama. Oklahoma's Lane Johnson also had his way with defenders all week long, and the NFL Draft Bible tweeted that the top 10 of April's draft may be very top-heavy on the offensive front.
Would not be surprising if Luke Joeckel, Lane Johnson, DJ Fluker, Eric Fisher all go top-10. Toss Chance Warmack into mix, could have 5 OL.
— NFL Draft Bible (@NFLDraftBible) January 24, 2013
It wasn't just the tackles that tore it up at the Senior Bowl.
Kentucky guard Larry Warford was also a standout in practices, and as Ryan Lownes of Bleacher Report pointed out, Warford's strong week in Mobile may have pushed him into the first round.
Larry Warford - #Kentucky - Wide-bodied OG with light feet. Tremendous run blocker negates pass rushers as well. Late 1st-Early 2nd
— Ryan Lownes (@ryanlownes) January 25, 2013
A Yo-Yo Week for Ezekiel Ansah
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It was a wild week at the Senior Bowl for BYU defensive end Ezekiel Ansah.
The 270-pounder was the talk of the Senior Bowl as practices got underway, with many pundits comparing Ansah to Jason Pierre-Paul, including radio host David Newberry.
The JPP comparisons will not go away for Ezekiel Ansah. His wingspan is 82' 3/8
— David Newbury (@newbury1310) January 21, 2013
In fact, early in the week Bleacher Report's Matt Miller predicted that Ansah could go as high as fifth overall to the Detroit Lions.
Lions getting an up close look at Ezekiel Ansah. He'll be in play if available at #5.
— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) January 23, 2013
However, once practices got going much of that hype died down, with Ansah struggling to shed blocks with any consistency.
Ezekiel Ansah lacks variety and polish as a pass rusher. In no way was he able to separate himself from other DEs present. #SeniorBowlSOUTH
— Ryan Lownes (@ryanlownes) January 25, 2013
The game was a different story. Ansah was a disruptive force in the South's win, but Bleacher Report NFL draft analyst Dan Hope remarked that one good exhibition game didn't erase what he's taken away from Ansah's practice reports and watching him on tape.
Ezekiel Ansah's hype is growing by the play. He's having a fantastic game, but one all-star performance won't change my evaluation much.
— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) January 26, 2013
According to the NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah Ansah's up and down week has created a deal of dissension in the scouting community.
Following a huge Senior Bowl game, NFL execs are still split on Ziggy Ansah. One guaranteed he's a top 10 pick, another told me he's 2nd rd
— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) January 28, 2013
Small School Stars Stand out
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Of all the players who attend each year's Senior Bowl, the week's practices are often most important to players from small schools, who get a chance to prove that they belong on the same stage as the big boys.
A few players availed themselves of that opportunity this year.
They include Florida International safety Jonathan Cyprien, who may have been the best defensive player overall among this year's attendees and who drew raves from the likes of Omar Kelly of The South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
I love this Jonathan Cyprien. I think he's close to making the man crush list. Stood out from day one at the Senior Bowl and is consistent.
— Omar Kelly (@OmarKelly) January 26, 2013
Missouri Southern defensive tackle Brandon Williams also stood out in practices, and while Optimum Scouting's Eric Galko thinks the second round would be reaching, he also tweeted that he wouldn't be surprised if an NFL team took the plunge in April.
@lasportsdude Neither in Top 2 rounds. MAYBE reach for Brandon Williams with lack of great NT depth in class.Both in 4th-6th range for grade
— Eric Galko (@OptimumScouting) January 27, 2013
On the offensive side of the ball Louisiana Tech wide receiver Quinton Patton may have toiled in relative obscurity in 2012, but the Packer Report relayed that after his performance in Mobile that's no longer the case.
LaTech WR Quinton Patton dropped a pass today. Perhaps the only blatant mistake he made all week, Could see him in first round.
— Packer Report (@PackerReport) January 24, 2013
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As is always the case, there were no shortages of opinions after the game on how players fared.
Darin Gannt of Pro Football Talk bemoaned the poor quarterback play but theorized that some team will take a risk they'll live to regret.
Because of the dearth of qualified applicants, someone from the group of Ryan Nassib or Mike Glennon or Tyler Wilson is going to be drafted far higher than he should in the top portion of the draft.
But when he does, he’ll fall right in line with “top 10” picks such as Blaine Gabbert or Jake Locker, or more accurately, a “first rounder” such as Tim Tebow.
NFL Draft Geek gave props to Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant, who they called the second-best player in attendance.
We saw a very strong group of cornerbacks in Mobile, and after a superb week of practice, Desmond Trufant looked like the best of the bunch. We've always know Trufant to be one of the most fluid athletes, and best pure cover guys in the country, but he showed us something else this week. Trufant was aggressive, and physical, which was something we hadn't seen a whole lot of at Washington. From a pure athletic standpoint, Trufant is as good as any corner in the draft, so now that he's shown the aggressiveness we were all looking to see, he's certainly got himself on the 1st round bubble.
Finally, Rotoworld's Josh Norris thinks the strong showing of UCLA running back Jonathan Frankin may have bumped him considerably up draft boards.
Off of his 2011 games, I considered Franklin an adequate but draftable prospect. Fast forward to this year and the Bruin showed much better vision when finding cutback lanes or working off blocks and his ability to make people miss at the second level was greatly enhanced. Don’t be surprised if we see him selected at the end of the second day.