The Wulf Den: Senior Bowl Reflections

Discussion in 'Fan Zone' started by Wulfman, Jan 26, 2013.

  1. Wulfman

    Wulfman Unofficial GM

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    The Wulf Den: Senior Bowl Reflections

    Having watched as much of the Senior Bowl practices as I could, and now having seen the game, I'm going to throw out some names that we should be keeping an eye on going forward. There will likely be others once I've had a chance to go back and break down the tape of the game, but from my perspective, there were some guys who helped themselves:


    I liked what I saw from G Larry Warford from Kentucky. This guy is massive, yet showed the ability to get to the second level on running plays. At 343 lbs., he's going to flatten a lot of guys in one-on-one situations. I currently have a third round grade on him.

    There was a lot of talk about OTs Eric Fisher from Central Michigan and Lane Johnson from Oklahoma, and they dominated during the majority of the workouts. In the game, however, the defensive linemen as a group dominated the offensive linemen, even these two guys on a couple of plays. They're both still legitimate starters at the next level, and I think Fisher is still a lock for the first round. Johnson likely will sneak into the end of the first round as well.

    Two other interior offensive linemen I liked were C/G Brian Schwenke and G/OT Kyle Long. Schwenke will be a better C than G at the next level, in my opinion, but does have the quickness to play at the position, especially if you're looking to pull and lead block. Long is likely going to end up playing G instead of OT, but he has huge upside. Has some off-field baggage from Florida State, but you cannot deny his bloodline. He's also only started 11 games, so his upside is huge.

    At the skill positions, I liked what I saw from RBs Mike Gillislee from Florida and Stepfan Taylor from Stanford. Gillislee seemed to be the most explosive out of the backfield, and Taylor was far and away the best RB all week. His ability to catch the ball out of the backfield as well as pick up the blitz make him one of the few 3-down players available at the position this year. He had a heavy workload at Stanford, but putting him in a RB rotation should prevent him from getting used up too quickly. Taylor right now has a third round grade on him, but will likely go late in the second. As for Gillislee, he may be one of those guys who slides with little reason like DeMarco Murray did. He currently has a 4th round grade, but likely will be targeted by a team towards the end of the third.

    When talking about WRs, I was expecting to be talking about Louisiana Tech's Quinton Patton and Baylor's Terrance Williams in this post. Instead, I saw them covered and unable to get open very much throughout the game. Instead, I'll talk about a couple of guys who showed up in a big way: Marquise Goodwin from Texas and Markus Wheaton from Oregon State. Goodwin is going to get marked down because of his size (only 5'9", at best), but he simply got open and caught the ball. And that's what you expect him to do. As for Wheaton, it's rare that you not only see a guy who gets open, but who automatically keeps both feet inbounds coming out of college. For the few that do, it's clearly instinctive, and that's the kind of effort that you have to have at the next level. Wheaton currently has a 4th round grade on him, but a good combine could move him into the third round. Goodwin's lack of size will be used against him, and is one of the primary reason he only has fifth round grade on him. It will be hard for him to get far above that...but he'll be a huge value pick there for the team that takes him. I'll also throw a shout out to Conner Vernon from Duke, the ACC's all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards. He's not the biggest or the fastest, but he might run the best routes of any receiver that's come through the Senior Bowl in recent years, and he doesn't drop the ball. At the next level, he could develop into a security blanket possession receiver in the Steve Largent mold. I know that's high praise, but I think he has the potential.

    Here's a pet cat of mine that showed up: FB Kyle Juszczyk from Harvard. He can get the hard yards inside when he needs to, and lays down some nasty lead blocks. He likely will be available in the 6th round, and could potentially start from day 1.

    I'll also say I didn't see much in the way of TEs making plays, but I did like what I saw from Alabama TE Michael Williams. He has the size to be a better than average in-line blocker at 272 lbs., and showed nice hands in his 6'5" frame down the field.I currently have him with a late 5th/early 6th round grade.

    I wasn't really impressed with any of the QBs. E. J. Manuel from Florida State made some nice plays with his arm and feet, and several of the others showed good arms. But they were all too inconsistent, and since the Cowboys don't need to look at that position this year, I tuned out fairly quickly. This appears to be a fairly poor year for QBs overall.


    The Cowboys need defensive linemen, and they were on display in a big way in Mobile, Alabama this afternoon. There are a lot of them that I could pick out, but I'll focus on a few that were dominant.

    Leading the pack was Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah from BYU. My goodness, this guy is a freak...and yes, I mean in the Jevon Kearse-JPP sense of the word. The biggest question about him was his lack of football experience, but you can't teach what he's got. A 270-pound guy that was running 10.9 in the 100 meters just before he started playing football?!? Are you kidding me?!? He may not have practiced the best through the week, but I'll take the guy who brings it on gameday EVERY time. I know Anthony Spencer is saying that he wants to stay in Dallas, but if Ansah is available at #18 you take him and start him opposite Ware from day 1. The image of those two on the line would make RG3, Eli Manning, and {insert random Eagle QB name here} piss themselves. Officially a pet cat.

    There were a couple of other DEs who did well for themselves. Cornelious Washington from Georgia was in the QB's face all day long, and pushed the much-heralded OT Eric Fisher straight back into the pocket on more than one occasion. I only had a 5th round grade on him, so I'm going to have to go back and look at some more film. He certainly played better than that. Also, Datone Jones from UCLA had a nice week of practice and followed it up with a nice game. If you want quick upfield penetration and disruption in the backfield, these two guys brought it.

    At DT, there were a lot of guys who played very well. But none was better than Kawann Short from Purdue. This guy was constantly pushing the middle of the pocket, and split double teams to make the tackled for little or no gain on multiple occasions. He has a strong second round grade on him right now, but it's likely now to be a high second rounder with a chance to squeeze into the bottom of the first round.

    A couple of other DTs who I particularly noticed on more than one occasion were Jordan Hill from Penn State and Sylvester Williams from North Carolina. Both guys showed an ability to push the pocket and penetrate the backfield, and both beat at least one double team to make a play. Hill would be a 3-technique at just under 300 lbs., while Williams has the size at 320 lbs. to play the 1-technique. Williams has a second round grade on him at the moment, while Hill has a fourth. If there's a run on DTs in the draft, though, I'll be surprised if Hill last that long. I'll also give a shout out to Missouri Southern State's Brandon Williams. He went up against a much higher level of competition this week and showed himself very well. And at 328 lbs., he could be a very nice pick-up in the third or early fourth round.

    At LB, a guy the Cowboys should be looking at is Sio Moore from Connecticut. This guy was all over the place making sure tackles, and there was a lot of positive talk about him from the coaches and scouts throughout the week. He has the size to play SLB, and with a fourth round grade, he could be a very nice find. I also liked Vince Williams from Florida State. He played inside for the Seminoles, and I don't know that the Cowboys will look his way unless they think he can play outside as well. But he was delivering some "impact hits" (just for you, CC), and you can't get too much of that. He's currently borderline to be drafted at all, but I think his performance this week will move him at least into 5th-6th round round consideration. If he shows well at the combine, he could climb even higher than that. I also liked Zaviar Gooden from Missouri. He was really flying around to the ball, and with a fourth round grade, he could be a good pick-up.

    In the defensive backfield, I was really expecting to see Desmond Trufant from Washington continue the excellent work he'd been putting in all week. But aside from a nice pass defense early in the game, I really didn't notice him at all. Now that could be because he was shutting his man down all night, and I'll have to go back and look at the tape again to see. But he still has a second round grade on him, so he certainly didn't lose any ground.

    The guy that made a move up the draft boards at CB was Robert Alford from Southeastern Louisiana. Not only did he have excellent ability at the corner, defending several passes, but started off the game with a 95-yard kickoff return. He also went down and covered kicks, coming away with at least one special teams tackle as well. That's a guy that can contribute immediately and develop into a starter in a few years. He had a third round grade on him coming in, but if he shows well at the combine, he likely moved into the second. Jordan Poyer from Oregon State played well, and solidified his second round draft grade by breaking up a pass that was intercepted by a teammate.

    At safety, I was really hoping to see some good things from T. J. McDonald from USC, especially considering his ties with Monte Kiffin. I came away somewhat disappointed. He supported the run well, but was beaten for a TD on a ball where he had perfect position. Granted it was a perfect pass to a tall receiver, but he was there and didn't locate the ball until it was too late. I'm going to leave the third round grade on him for now, and I still think it will be up to Kiffen to determine whether or not the Cowboys will show any interest. The safety they should be interested in, though, is Jonathan Cyprien from Florida International. This guy came in with question marks about his ability to cover, and I never saw him out of position. He laid the wood on ball carriers consistently, and played with a chip on his shoulder. I had a sixth round grade on him, but he's likely not going to make it past the fourth round now, if he even makes it that far. J. J. Wilcox from Georgia Southern also had a nice week despite not doing much in the game. He had a fifth round grade coming in, and it doesn't change on my board.

    Having seen what I've seen so far, and recognizing that there are a number of seniors and underclassmen who were not represented today, here's a look at a potential draft just using these guys based on where their stock is currently:

    Round 1 - DE Ansah
    Round 2 - DT S. Williams
    Round 3 - G Warford
    Round 4 - LB Moore
    Round 5 - S Cyprien
    Round 6 - FB Juszczk

    Despite not getting another O-lineman, a back-up RB, or a developmental CB, I'd take that draft in a heartbeat based on what I've seen thus far. Of course, some of those draft grades are going to change significantly as the offseason progresses, but that's half the fun of following it.

    Considering the depth of quality linemen on both sides of the ball in this year's draft, the rest of the offseason promises to be fun.

    Stay tuned...
  2. Titleist

    Titleist Well-Known Member

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    Awesome post and recap. I don't have NFL Network and wasn't able to watch the game, so this was very useful for me. Much appreciated!!
  3. Sasquatch

    Sasquatch Lost in the Woods

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    Busy man the past 24 hours, Wulf. Appreciate the hard work.
  4. alsmith

    alsmith Member

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    I would take that draft in a heart beat... good job..
  5. jobberone

    jobberone Kane Ala Staff Member

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    Always great stuff. Glad to have you back.
  6. AmishCowboy

    AmishCowboy if you ain't first, you're last

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    I can't see Warford making it out of the 2nd
  7. DFWJC

    DFWJC Well-Known Member

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    I really like Williams, Warford and Cyprien from your draft, where toy took them.
    But Cyprien won't make it to the 5th, wulfie.
    That draft would give us a lot to work with though!
    Ansah has seemed very risky at 18 to me. Maybe I need to see more tape.
  8. Aven8

    Aven8 Well-Known Member

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    Ansah did look like a beast. I don't think he will make it out of the top 10 however after today. I would add a comparison to Aldon Smith as well. Would love to take him.
  9. jjktkk

    jjktkk Well-Known Member Zone Supporter

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    Thanks Wulf.
  10. Muhast

    Muhast Newo

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    Warford will go in the first imo.
  11. Wulfman

    Wulfman Unofficial GM

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    A long way to go yet...if this were the last thing people saw before the draft, I'd agree. I didn't change the grades I had on them just because they jumped out this week, but Cyprien will likely climb into the third at least if he continues to show up the way he did this week.

    And watch the tape on Ansah...guy really is a freak, and his motor never stopped.
  12. Wulfman

    Wulfman Unofficial GM

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    I was going to respond to AmishCowboy's post above about Warford, but since you posted as well, I'll just do it here.

    Warford's current grade is a third round, but I think he'll end up in the first half of the second or so. Again, I went with the draft grades I had on them coming in with only slight changes, as there's still a long way to go in the draft process. And for the record, I don't think he'll make it into the first round for two reasons: interior linemen aren't as valued as most other positions, and there are two underclassmen who are ahead of him on the draft board at G (Chance Warmack and Jonathan Cooper) and a senior who can play nearly any position (Barrett Jones).
  13. AsthmaField

    AsthmaField Outta bounds

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    Good work man.

    I'm afraid that Cyprien might have worked himself up into the 3rd... or even 2nd if he shows well at the combine. I really like the guy and the way he plays the game.

    Ansah still hasn't sold me, but that could change. I think we end up going DT in round 1 and there are plenty to choose from.
  14. Goldenrichards83

    Goldenrichards83 Active Member

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    Great analysis. I think Warford has moved up to the 2 Rd and Cyprien has moved up maybe to the 3rd however I love your draft. Ansah could be a superstar under Maranelli. I would nab Warford in the 2nd, and Cyprien in the 3rd and B. Williams in the 4th.
  15. dart

    dart Benched

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    not going to happen like that

    your draft
  16. Picksix

    Picksix A Work in Progress

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    Thanks for the write-up, Wulf. I tried to watch the game, but haven't felt well all day, so I ended up sleeping through a lot of it. In between going in and out, I do remember hearing Ansah's name a lot. That draft would be nice, but doubtful it works out like that. But you never know.
  17. Muhast

    Muhast Newo

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    You very well could be right. I know russ lande and a few others think he will move up to the first. I dont see him making it to our pick in rnd two. I cant see any way he falls to the 3rd, although things happen all the time once the draft process starts
  18. Wulfman

    Wulfman Unofficial GM

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    Again for those of you not paying attention earlier: this is not how I expect our draft to fall...this is how it could have fallen based on the draft grades players had coming into Senior Bowl week. Considering how those guys showed up, it would have made for an excellent draft. With the way players will move up and down draft boards between now and then, there's no way those picks will even be close. But then, that wasn't the point in the first place.
  19. burmafrd

    burmafrd Benched

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    Ansah scares me

    I have seen physical freaks before bust badly.

    He truly is someone who will be one or the other

    Pro Bowl or Bust
  20. Wulfman

    Wulfman Unofficial GM

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    I was in the same camp until I watched him play against the best senior O-linemen available--guys that had been talked about and gushed over all week (and rightly so). He made them look like high school players trying to block a pro on a regular basis. And he wasn't going against the same guy every time, and lined up on both sides.

    He's rough on his technique, and that will certainly have to improve. But if he has the desire to play (which will come through in the interview process), his ceiling is WAY to high to pass up, IMHO.

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