It was an eventful day at the Senior Bowl. A number of players made statements – both good and bad – about their draft stock.
What stood out most to me were the struggles of two small school offensive linemen. Both Mike Iupati and Vladimir Ducasse struggled throughout the day.
Iupati look fairly good when lined up at guard, dominating Purdue DT Mike Neal and Louisiana Tech DT D’Anthony Smith in one-on-one drills. But when he moved out to tackle he really struggled. At one point Cal DT Tyson Alualu bull rushed Iupati and knocked him on his back. Then later in the day in a battle of small-school prospects Arkansas State DE Alex Carrington tossed Iupati to the ground effortlessly. Iupati remains the top guard on my draft board, but he no longer looks like a 1st-round pick in my mind.
Ducasse also struggled and did far more damage to his stock than Iupati. Ducasse didn’t enter with the same hype, but there were those that felt he had a chance to sneak into the 1st round with a strong performance. He certainly has the size for the position, but he’s got a lot of work to do to catch up to the guys who have been playing in the FBS. Ducasse lined up at both guard and tackle and struggled in both positions. His footwork was poor at both positions and he played too upright. Michigan DE Brandon Graham took advantage and breezed past him with minimal effort. After today’s performance he’ll have to work hard to earn even an early 3rd-round grade.
Speaking of Brandon Graham… wow. He looked very impressive today. I don’t think I saw a single lineman get the better of him. There were times when they fought to a stalemate, but Graham was never the loser. He looked great against Ducasse but really stood out against Utah OT Zane Beadles. On consecutive reps he used a simple speed rush and then a spin move to easily get past Beadles. He made a strong case to receive a 1st-round grade.
Another note on Graham, according to Will Spencer of DraftBreakdown.com he was particularly excited to speak to the Ravens. Here are two of Will’s tweets on it… 1st tweet, 2nd tweet.
Alex Carrington was another lineman that looked very good. I already mentioned that he dominated Mike Iupati, but he looked good throughout the day. He’s tall and very athletic and appears to have excellent upper body strength. Its still early – we’ve really only seen him excel in pass rush drills – but he could earn a 2nd-round grade.
A few other quick notes:
- Rutgers CB Devin McCourty struggled when in press coverage today. He just doesn’t seem to have the quick feet or the strength to play near the line of scrimmage. Though he does have the speed to make up mistakes. He also got his hands on a number of passes, showing good leaping ability.
- Cincinnati WR Mardy Gilyard looked very good. In possibly the best matchup of North squad receivers and corners he burned Cal CB Syd’Quan Thompson.
- Speaking of Thompson, he looked good throughout the day. I am very impressed with his physical play. His physical nature will help ease team’s concerns about his lack of size.
- I was impressed with Clemson WR Jacoby Ford throughout the season, but he didn’t stand out at all today. I really expected him to burn some of these cornerbacks with his sprinter’s speed but it just didn’t happen. Although I will say he has very good hands and adjusts to the ball well. He made a great catch on a pass that was tipped by Devin McCourty.
- Ohio State S Kurt Coleman struggled in pass coverage. His stock definitely has taken a blow this week.
- Virginia S/CB Chris Cook has great size and plays very physical when lined up at cornerback, but I was concerned he wouldn’t have the speed for the position. So far, however, it hasn’t been an issue.
- Notre Dame C Eric Olsen had a terrible day. I felt bad for him watching him get pushed around time after time. He simply couldn’t stop anyone’s bull rush. He weighed in at 310 pounds, so he isn’t undersized. He just doesn’t have the strength to compete.
- Fresno State RB Lonyae Miller looked very poor in blocking drills. He’s a big, physical running back and someone with his size needs to be able to block to earn a roster spot at the next level.
- Oregon RB LeGarrett Blount also had issues blocking. Although from watching his feeble attempts it looked as though he hadn’t even been taught how before. When someone looks that bad, sometimes its not such a bad thing cause it gives you hope that it can easily be fixed with some simple coaching.
- Unfortunately I didn’t catch the South squad practice so no Tebow updates today. I’ll have full reports on both squads tomorrow.