Senior Bowl Notes

Sorry for the quiet blog the last week or so. Today we’re going to focus on the lovely Senior Bowl that aired yesterday (I wasn’t able to watch it live, so I’ve got more levity to pause, slo-mo, rewind, etc… and my wife is gone, so this could take a few hours!).

The Senior Bowl is the first major post-season step in the draft process. This is a key draft-stock-saver for a lot of guys (think BJ Raji), but it can also harm the stock dramatically (think Mays so far this year). The Lions are coaching the North, the Dolphins are coaching the South.

  • Dexter McCluster looks incredibly fast on field. He caught a little 2 yard screen pass before just exploding inside for a 12 yard play.
  • Tim Tebow has a terribly awkward release, other than McCluster, the first series was disappointing.
  • Tony Pike is the starting quarterback for the North; first play for the north is a reverse to Clemson WR Jacoby Ford. Pike is incredibly skinny.
  • Patrick Robinson makes a nice tackle. He’s one of the quietly solid cornerbacks in the draft, should be a first round pick.
  • Mike Iupati just manhandled a linebacker, joysticking him back about 6 yards. Iupati has improved his draft stock considerably this week, with Mayock suggesting he might be a top 15 pick. I doubt that, as I don’t think he’ll be able to play LT at the next level, but in practice he’s gotten considerable time in every role. He’s best at left guard. One problem, which Mayock pointed out, is that he grabs rather than punches, which can easily lead to holding penalties; in the first drive, the North lost a touchdown due to a Iupati hold.
  • It would be difficult to overstate how enormous Terrence Cody is, but stacking him next to Dan Williams (Tennessee DT) is just a lot of fun to watch. Williams just explodes off the ball not unlike Mebane, though he doesn’t look as strong as Meebs.
  • Georgia’s Geno Atkins looks beastly early on; he was held by Iupati (tackled really) and still managed to second-effort-ground-leap to tackle the running back Bell.
  • Fun guy to watch: Michigan DE Brandon Graham. Graham had a phenomenal week in practice, and continued that in the Senior Bowl game. Graham had two sacks and was named the MVP, but going against pretty inferior talent in Selvish Capers (mid-round OT).
  • The North’s defense is filled with starters at the next level: Graham looks to fit the piece, Penn State DT Jared Odrick will be a late first / early second pick, LB Sean Witherspoon and TCU OLB Darryl Washington are there too. David Hawthorne just got a big shoutout.
  • LSU OT Ciron Black showed good effort and surprising speed. USC Center Jeff Byers looked good too (he plays all three interior positions) — snapping a ball, pulling wide and sprinting down field to be the lead blocker on a 30+ yard screen pass (Black was the other blocker). Byers looks like a mid-round pick. If he’s there in the fourth or fifth he would offer good value as someone who could come in from, say, the fourth round and start immediately at Left Guard if Sims doesn’t remain on the roster. He knows the system to a T.
  • Ryan Matthews from Fresno State is big and super-fast after the cut. If he’s there at the top of the 2nd, it might be hard to pass on him. He gets to the edge very well, but is big enough to run between the tackles. Could be a good back to split carries with Forsett. Another possibility is LaGarrette Blount, but his name is very hard to spell, so screw that. Also, psychotic tendencies.
  • Danny O’Neil has a few kind words for Cal’s Tyson Alualu and others. Check it out. One thing the Seahawks could definitely handle more of: Samoan linemen.