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GBN toughts on the QBs and their Top 10 at Mobile this week .


Draftnut57
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To QB or not to QB... Playing in the all-star game format is always tough to evaluate QBs because they are working with unfamiliar receivers in an unfamiliar offense and seldom get enough reps to get into any kind of rhythm. And while this year's QBs were better than in some other recent years, overall scouts had to be a little disappointed with the group. That said, the QB with the most upside in Mobile apears to have been Joe Flacco of Delaware. Flacco, a one-time Pitt recruit, is a big guy with a very strong arm who can make all the throws, plus he has surprising mobility for a 6-5, 230-plus pounder. Michigan's Chad Henne also probably enhanced his draft status this week. Scouts would prefer that he were a little taller, however, Henne threw the ball with authority and showed good poise and leadership on the field.

On the other hand, both Andre Woodson of Kentucky and Hawaii gunslinger Colt Brennan had to leave NFL execs scratching their heads just a bit. Woodson, for example, still has the nice easy delivery, but doesn t put much mustard on his throws with the result, in part, that few of his passes hit the receiver in stride; too often the target has to slow, stop, or otherwise reach behind him to pull the ball in. For his part, Brennan still had that odd throwing motion that came from his hip and caused too many of his passes to sail high or wide. Meanwhile, both Erik Ainge of Tennessee and USC's Jon David Booty threw the ball well enoug especially in the short and medium ranges, but still look to lack prototype arm strength.

Top 10 players in Mobile

1. Southern Cal DT Sedrick Ellis

2. California WR Lavelle Hawkins

3. Tennessee State DB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie

<>4. Maryland DT Dre Moore

5. Indiana CB Tracy Porter

6. Florida WR Andre Caldwell

7. Troy CB Leodis McKelvin

8. Arizona State C Mike Pollak

9. Virginia Tech OLB Xavier Adinbi

10. Southern Cal OG Drew Radovich

Funny I had the top 2 DTs at Mobile this week in my first Mock , To bad that Moore will not last till the 3rd round mch less the 5th .

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2008 Senior Bowl Week Wrap-up

by Colin Lindsay, GBN Editor and Publisher

That's a wrap.... Perhaps the most important thing to remember when heading home from Mobile and this week's Senior Bowl workouts is not to overestimate the impact of the various players' performances here, especially - and perhaps ironically - what they do on the field. Indeed, it appears that pro scouts spend almost as much time just watching the players and how they react to various situations on and off the field such as how they react to making a mistake; how do they seem to relate with their teammates; are they paying attention to the coaches; what they do when they are not on the field; even how they warm-up.

Its also critical to keep in mind that everything is relative and the players must always be rated in comparison with the guys around him; a player could dominate, however, if what's the level of the talent he's working with and against. This week, for example, Texas A&M C Cody Wallace really struggled, for whatever reason in the individual line drills and any DT drawing him for reps almost by definition had a good day. It is also important to keep in mind that what happens in Mobile, in statistical terms, is a very small sample. When all is said and done, the players are really on the field for a total of 3-4 hours and will only be involved in a limited number of plays at speed with real contact. It is perhaps even more important to keep in mind that the ultimate goal of pro scouts is to try and project how well a player will perform in the NFL in 2-3 years rather than whether he necessarily makes a play today. That said, the following are some of the trends observed at this year's Senior Bowl practice week.

Taking care of business..almost! Even with so many quality juniors in the 2008 draft class not eligible for the Senior Bowl, as well as the fact that the half dozen or so top seniors opting to pass on the game, expectations were high for this year's event in large part because of the depth in this year's draft class. And while there were more solid performances this week that poor ones, on balance pro scouts had to be just a tad disappointed by what they saw at this week's Senior Bowl practices. On the one hand, there really weren't any 'knock-your-socks-off' performances this year like LSU receiver Dwayne Bowe put on last year. As well, a number of the very best prospects in Mobile this week will likely leave town having with more questions than they answered.

The good, the bad and the ugly... The 2008 draft is expected to be rich at both CB and WR and that really showed this week in Mobile. The CBs as a group in particular really showed well led by Tracy Porter of Indiana, Troy's Leodis McKelvin, Chris Godfrey of Iowa and Patrick Lee of Auburn, all of whom played very well. The most intriguing CB in Mobile though may have been unheralded Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie of Tennessee, who actually worked out at FS most of the week, but displayed the athleticism and instincts to be a solid shut down corner, although like a number of other of the top corners, including Porter, he needs to do a better job of finding and reacting to the ball when its in the air. At the same time, though, second-tier prospects like Terrence Wheatley of Colorado, DeJuan Tribble of Boston College, Simeon Castille of Alabama and Chevis Jackson appeared to lack either the pure foot speed or instincts to figure among the top-tier CBs, but did show enough potential to get long looks in the middle rounds this coming April.

The WRs weren't quite as solid this week as a number of them took a day or two to really get going but overall the group scored an above average grade. Forida WR Andre Caldwell, for example, was one of the South's best overall players at any position while Eddie Royal of Virginia Tech, Donnie Avery of Houston, late-arrival Dexter Jacskon of Appalachian State and Harry Douglas of Louisville showed plenty of speed and quickness along with good hands, although Douglas did struggle to catch the ball early on in the week. Jordy Nelson of K-State also fought off a case of the butterfingers early in the week to emerge as a decent underneath target, but lacks the quickness of the other top receivers. The big story at receiver though was the emergence of Cal's Lavelle Hawkins, who probably did more to enhance his draft status than any player in Mobile this week, as a legitinmate first-day prospect. Hawkins was simply uncoverable and caught everything in sight.

While Hawkins may have been one of the Senior Bowl's biggest surprises, Oklahoma State WR Adarius Bowman had to be one of the biggest disappointments. Bowman came to Mobile looking to solidify a first-round grade, if not the top overall rating at WR period, but struggled to get open all week, alhough he did make some underneath receptions. Same story for D.J. Hall of Alabama who seldom got open and dropped the ball the one time he did break free deep.

We didn't get a chance to spend a lot of time watching the TEs, but it was hard to miss Tennessee TE Brad Cottam who at 6-8, 270 was the biggest looking player out there. And Cottam played pretty big also, surprising people with his hands and his ability to get open over the middle, although he'll likely never be a big threat in the seam. Michigan State's Kellen Davis, a sometime DT in college who stuck to offense in Mobile, also made a couple of noteworthy catches, but we didn't see much from the other TEs

We also didn't spend much time studying the RBs as they only get a few touches per day in an all-star setting and the real value of a back only really starts to come into focus until after they've had 12-15 carries. As well, with junior RBs like Darren McFadden and Felix Jones of Arkansas, Rashard Mendenhall of Illinois, Oregon's Jonathan Stewart and Jamaal Charles expected to dominate the top of the position at the 2008 draft, the backs in Mobile were primarily second-tier types. That said, what we did see was some real quickness and explsoion from guys like Justin Forsett of California, Chris Johnson of East Carolina, the one senior who could ultimately figure in the mix of juniors leading the position, and Tashard Choice of Georgia Tech. At the same time, jack-of-all-trades FB types Owen Schmitt of West Virginia, Peyton Hillis of Arkansas and LSU's Jacob Hester showed pretty decent versaility in all three aspects of the FB position.

<>While CB and WR are expected to be deep positions at the 2008 draft, DT is not considered one of the stronger groups this year. Somebody forgot to tell the DTs in Mobile, though, who took turns abusing the interior offensive line. Certainly it was no surprise that USC DT Sedrick Ellis was dominant. Ellis was the highest rated player at any position in Mobile and he left little doubt that he is top 10 talent as he showed quickness and upfield explosion as well as a great motor. Meanwhile, Notre Dame's Trevor Laws appears to have a found a home inside. Laws, who played more of a DE with the Irish, in fact, looks a lot like Ellis in terms of size and plays the game just as hard, but lacks his Southern Cal counterparts overall athleticism. Speaking of playing hard, pro scouts had to be pleased with the effort they saw from Texas A&M DT Red Bryant who also went hard on every play. Bryant still needs to work hard to keep his pads down when bull-rushing, but showed some effective spin moves. For good measure, the often laid back Bryant even got in a couple of fights. Pro scouts also had to like what they saw from Maryland DT Dre Moore. Indeed, Moore who has outstanding physical tools but has been seen at times as something of an out-of-shape underachiever, was almost as dominant and USC's Ellis. Moore isn't very pretty, but is a 307-pound one-gap type DT with quickness who is tough to get out of the hole once he gets a step. Meanwhile, each of Marcus Harrison of Arkansas, Andre Fluellen of Florida State, NC State's Demario Pressley and North Carolina's Kentwan Balmer had his momemts and none did anuthing to hurt his draft status.

On the other hand, this year's Senior Bowl DEs lacked much in the way of star power or consistency. Tweener Darrell Robertson of Georgia Tech and Jeremy Thompson of Wake Forest both kept popping up and making plays, especially in full-srimmage sets, although neither really dominated in individual drills. Same for Virginia Tech's Chris Ellis who made some plays but probably not as many as scouts were expecting. Indeed, the most intriguing DE prospect in Mobile may have been Jason Jones of Eastern Michigan, a 270-pound college DT who really ran the gamut by getting some work at OLB this week where he didn't look totally out of place. While still very raw, Jones has a long first sride which gets him on top of opposing OTs very quickly, as well as an effective swim move although he's one of those players who is going to have to work at keeping his pads down. Meanwhile, neither of DEs Lawrence Jackson of USC nor Wallace Gilberry of Alabama demonstrated much real explosion off the line of scrimmage and got stood up too often for elite pass rushers, while tweeners Cliff Avril and Titus Brown simply got tossed around too much.

LB is another one of those positions that is hard to read in a short all-star game setting. What one saw in drills, for example, was a lot of quickness and athleticism from players like Xavier Adibi of Virginia Tech, Dan Connor of Penn State, Ali Highsmith of LSU and Jordon Dizon of Colorado. Connor, who came into Mobile as one of the top 5 or so rated players in the Senior Bowl , for one, moved extermely well, but also looked very slender - for a LB - in the lower body. On the other hand, 6-5 Shawn Crable of Michigan, as well as converted UCLA DE Bruce Davis, didn't show much in the way of agility, although they had some straight ahead speed and aggression. We were also somewhat underwhelmed by what we saw from Southern Cal OLB Keith Rivers who, like Connor came to Mobile as one the top rated players in the Senior Bowl field, and has a nice size/speed ratio, but disappointed with his instincts, agility and overall effort.

Arguably the most disappointing position at the 2008 draft were the offensive linemen. The offensive tackles were particularly inconsistent. USC's Sam Baker, for example, another one of the top 5 or so players in Mobile overall, would look all the part of a shut-down LT on one play when he glided around the pocket and got great arm extension, but then would get lazy feet on the next series and get beaten easily to the outside as he would end up frantically push his man from behind. Chris Williams of Vanderbilt, another top LT prospect, also didn't play badly, but also probably failed to push his grade into the late first round area. Williams certainly has the size as well as the feet to project as a LT prospect but had a tendency to play too high at times and couldn't get outside to cut-off a quick outside rush. Same story for Heath Benedict of little Newberry College. Like Williams, Benedict did get better as the weak progressed, but didn't show the overall athleticsm that one would like to see in a LT prospect. Meanwhile, huge Carl Nicks was solid enough at times, but looks more like a RT type.

The most consistent OTs this week may have been unheralded Oneil Cousins of UTEP and Gosder Cherilus of Boston College. Cousins isn't all that big or physical. but consistently moved his feet well and appeared to be the most technically solid of this year's LT prospects in Mobile. Meanwhile, Cherilus didn't necessarily move all that well but was simply able to engulf defenders when he locked on. On the other hand, Kirk Barton of Ohio State really struggled at times with the pace of the game at the Senior Bowl and was consistenlt beaten all week.

<>

Somewhat surprisingy, the most consistent offensive linemen were on the inside. Indeed, Arizona State C Mike Pollak was arguably the best lineman in Mobile this week. Pollak isn't huge at a pound under 300 pounds, but showed athletic feet and good strength and balance all week. Meanwhile, USC OG Drew Radovich may have outplayed his more heralded teammate Sam Baker much of the week. Radovich wasn't fancy, but did a nice job locking onto opposing pass rushers and keeping his feet alive. Same story for unheralded OG Chad Rinehart of Northern Iowa, who also was also technically very solid as was C Steve Justice of Wake Forest. <>

To QB or not to QB... Playing in the all-star game format is always tough to evaluate QBs because they are working with unfamiliar receivers in an unfamiliar offense and seldom get enough reps to get into any kind of rhythm. And while this year's QBs were better than in some other recent years, overall scouts had to be a little disappointed with the group. That said, the QB with the most upside in Mobile apears to have been Joe Flacco of Delaware. Flacco, a one-time Pitt recruit, is a big guy with a very strong arm who can make all the throws, plus he has surprising mobility for a 6-5, 230-plus pounder. Michigan's Chad Henne also probably enhanced his draft status this week. Scouts would prefer that he were a little taller, however, Henne threw the ball with authority and showed good poise and leadership on the field.

On the other hand, both Andre Woodson of Kentucky and Hawaii gunslinger Colt Brennan had to leave NFL execs scratching their heads just a bit. Woodson, for example, still has the nice easy delivery, but doesn t put much mustard on his throws with the result, in part, that few of his passes hit the receiver in stride; too often the target has to slow, stop, or otherwise reach behind him to pull the ball in. For his part, Brennan still had that odd throwing motion that came from his hip and caused too many of his passes to sail high or wide. Meanwhile, both Erik Ainge of Tennessee and USC's Jon David Booty threw the ball well enoug especially in the short and medium ranges, but still look to lack prototype arm strength.

Top 10 players in Mobile

1. Southern Cal DT Sedrick Ellis

2. California WR Lavelle Hawkins

3. Tennessee State DB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie

<>4. Maryland DT Dre Moore

5. Indiana CB Tracy Porter

6. Florida WR Andre Caldwell

7. Troy CB Leodis McKelvin

8. Arizona State C Mike Pollak

9. Virginia Tech OLB Xavier Adinbi

10. Southern Cal OG Drew Radovich

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L.Rover (1/24/2008)
Funny, I read really good things about Kirk Barton, yet this report says he struggled. The conflicting reports from scouts is annoying.

I think that this report is not as credible as the others. Some of it anyway. It all depends on who you watch and at what time , some plays they do well and some they don't .

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