Are the Eagles Duck hunting ?? … One of the rumors swirling around at last week’s Senior Bowl was that Philadelphia was looking at ways to possibly move up from the 20th spot in the 2015 draft to get into range to select Oregon QB Marcus Mariota. Mariota, of course, played for current Eagles’ head coach and de facto G.M. Chip Kelly early in his career with the Ducks. For a long while Mariota had been considered to be the odds on favorite to be the first player selected at this year’s draft; however, it appears that his stock has slipped somewhat in recent weeks because teams view him as something of a system QB who would need the right fit to be a success in the pros. And the feeling around the league is that Mariota isn’t going to be a particularly good fit at all in Tampa Bay which has the top pick this year and runs a very conservative pro style offense. On the other hand, it would be hard to see Mariota dropping much out of the top 5 this coming April 30th, meaning that Philadelphia, whose ‘system’ was originally designed with a QB like Mariota in mind, would have to deal away a real package of picks in order to move up from their current 20th selection. Indeed, there have been suggestions that such a move could cost as many three future #1 picks or even the Eagles’ whole draft this year. It has also been suggested that the Eagles might have had to make multiple moves by say trading up to around the 10th pick initially and then making a second deal to get into the top 5 as teams already picking in that range might not be willing to drop all the way down to the second half of this year’s draft. However, now come reports that the Eagles could include QB Nick Foles in such dealings and that a number of teams looking for some stability at the position, including St. Louis, have made enquiries about his availability. And St. Louis just happens to own the 10th pick this year – see above – which could get the Eagles‘ a good part of the way to where they will need to be to get Mariota. Interestingly, the above report also suggests that Tennessee could also be interested in acquiring Foles; Tennessee, of course, has the second pick this year, but like Tampa Bay are thought to be more interested in acquiring a pro-style type pocket passer. It still would cost the Eagles a bundle to move up all to the #2 pick, but including a young veteran QB like Foles, who had an outstanding season in 2013, might make an intriguing down payment. Stay tuned!
Senior Bowl offensive line grades … Over the course of the next couple of days we’ll be breaking down the position groups at last Saturday’s Senior Bowl game staring with the offensive linemen who had a pretty good day all-around.
Senior Bowl players ranked … GBN Chief Scout Pigskin Paul Guillemette is home from Mobile and has had a chance to review the game tape and has posted his ranking of of the top 50 players at last week’s Senior Bowl combining both their work in the practice sessions and the actual game.
Big Board updated … With the passing of the deadline for underclassmen to enter the draft as well as the completion of the Senior Bowl last weekend, the GBN Big Board ranking of the top 225 prospects for the 2015 draft has been updated. As well, so have the individual positions as per the drop-down list above. Again, please note that as much as possible these rankings reflect our best estimate as to how NFL teams have players rather a listing based solely o our own grades. Also please note that this is the first time we updated the full lists since switching to the new format and it wasn’t always a smooth operation so we’d appreciate hearing if there any errors or omissions.
Top QB may not throw at combine … According to a report in his hometown newspaper, Oregon QB Marcus Mario is unsure whether he will be able to throw at next month’s scouting combine in Indianapolis. Mariota, a potential top pick overall at this year’s draft, sprained the AC joint in his throwing shoulder in the Ducks’ loss to Ohio State in the national championship game earlier this month.
On to Indy … With the Senior Bowl now in the books, the focus of the college scouting departments around the NFL now turns to the annual Scouting Combine which gets underway on February 17 in Indianapolis, although most NFL teams give their scouting staffs some kind of break during the Super Bowl period. Each team then reconvenes in the respective war rooms sometime early in February where they put together their preliminary board for the upcoming draft and identify the players they want to concentrate on at the combine and the various pro days around the country which get underway early in March. For those that missed it, the North won a reasonably entertaining Senior Bowl game 35-13 yesterday afternoon. Nebraska RB Ameer Abdullah, who ironically was a game-time decision because of a hamstring problem, was named MVP after he rang up over 100 yards from scrimmage, while Canadian Ivy Leagurer Tyler Varga of Yale ran for a couple of scores.
Game day in Mobile … Its game day in Mobile with the Senior Bowl set to kick-off at 4 PM ET. The NFL Network will be providing national TV coverage. And while most NFL personnel execs and scouts headed home after Thursday’s final practice sessions, there is still a lot at stake in the game as the players will be in an actual football environment. Here are the full updated rosters for today’s game. Meanwhile, overviews of the winners and losers from this week’s Senior Bowl practices continue to pop up here, here, here, and here.
GBN top Senior Bowl practice players … With a little time to reflect on everything that went on in Mobile this week, GBN Chief Scout Pigskin Paul Guillemette has put together his list of the top 10 or so players from both the North and South teams at this week’s practice sessions at the Senior Bowl.
Iowa DT named top player at Senior Bowl practices … Iowa OT Carl Davis was voted the outstanding player during practice sessions at this week’s Senior Bowl in Mobile by a panel of NFL scouts. Other positional winners by the panel included Colorado State QB Garrett Grayson, Duke OG Laken Tomlinson and TCU CB Kevin White. Here’s the full list of positional winners in the voting. Meanwhile, one roster change for the North for tomorrow’s game: Missouri RB Marcus Murphy has been added to the line-up with Nebraska RB Ameer Abdullah doubtful with a tweaked hamstring.
Day three wrap from Mobile … Anybody who is anybody in the NFL scouting community has already headed home from Mobile, but GBN Chief Scout Pigskin Paul Guillemette is still on the job and has filed his report on the highlights and lowlights from the third and final day of full practice sessions at the Senior Bowl in Mobile. For the record, the players from both teams pretty much have the day off Friday before Saturday’s actual game.
Roster changes at Senior Bowl … There are some new faces at today’s Senior Bowl practice sessions in Mobile. Mississippi State OT Blaine Clausell and Central Florida LB Terrance Plummer have been added to the South roster. Clausell, who is actually a Mobile native, is replacing TCU OT Tayo Fabuluje, who is out with with a hip flexor injury, while Plummer replaces Miami LB Denzel Perryman, who sat out Wednesday with a minor injury. Perryman will try to practice this afternoon and if in fact can go then South team will simply carry an extra linebacker. On the North squad, Penn State LB Mike Hull is out and has been replaced by Ohio State linebacker Curtis Grant, while Kansas DB JaCorey Shepherd and UNLV WR Devante Davis are also both out of the Saturday’s game with minor hamstring issues. Meanwhile, there are several more reports from around the media world on who played well and who didn’t at Wednesday’s practice sessions here, here, here and here for those that haven’t seen them.
Saints shake up top scout staff … In a surprising move in more than one way, New Orleans has fired director of college scouting Rick Reiprish and are believed to be repacing him with former Miami G.M. Jeff Ireland who was just added to the staff. Reiprish, who has been with the Saints the past decade, was apparently told just before practice sessions got underway at yesterday’s Senior Bowl that his services would no longer be required. Otherwise have a nice day! Ouch!
More dispatches from Mobile … For those that haven’t seen them, here are several more reports from Mobile on who stood out at the first day of Senior Bowl practices from Dane Bugler of CBS Sports here and a couple more from NFL.com here and here. Meanwhile, Jeff McLane has a nice overview of the defensive backs in Mobile in the Philadelphia Enquirer.
GBN on the air from Mobile … The Great Blue North ‘Blog Radio’ Draft Report will be back on the air later this evening on blog radio at 8 PM ET. Join GBN analysts Colin Lindsay and Pigskin Paul Guillemette, along with host Eric Lamb for the latest from the Senior Bowl, with Pigskin Paul reporting directly from Mobile, on Blog Talk Radio. Fans can also call the show with questions or comments at 1-347-826-7213.
Tigers’ QB moves to DB sooner rather than later … Former Auburn QB Nick Marshall’s move back to the corner came a whole lot sooner than expected. Marshall, who was invited to Mobile when it became apparent that Oregon QB Marcus Mariota was not not going to come, told reporters when he arrived that he would most likely be playing in the secondary once he gets to the NFL. Turns out the future is now as Marshall, who played CB as a freshman at Georgia before switching over to offense after transferring to Auburn, worked exclusively on the corner at the South’s practice on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Marshall’s spot at QB on the South roster will be filled by Brandon Bennett of Southeastern Louisiana
Eagles bolster scout staff with coaches … In a somewhat unusual lateral move of sorts, Philadelphia has moved DBs coach John Lovett and TEs Ted Williams to the scouting department. Lovett is being replaced as the team’s DBs coach by Cory Undlin who comes over from Denver, while Williams is being replaced by his assistant, former NFL TE Justin Peelle. The moves come in the wake of head coach Chip Kelly taking over control of the Eagles’ roster.
Senior Bowl data updated … The measurement data from this mornings Senior Bowl weigh-ins has been completed in the roster section.
Bonus Senior Bowl coverage … For those that aren’t aware of the change, the NFL Network will be providing coverage of the Senior Bowl practices this afternoon. In the past, they only provided live coverage of the two days of full-pad practices on Tuesday and Wednesday, but with the schedule having been moved back a day, it now appears they will be covering at least one of the first day practices, most likely the North session at the stadium in Mobile as the South usually practices down at Fairhope on the first day. Note, though, that the first day practices are shells only and there isn’t much hitting.
Senior bowl weigh-in about to start … The real Senior Bowl week is about to start at 10 AM ET with the beginning of the measuring of the players heights and weights. Not sure how it is going to work but the Mobile Register seems to be indicating that they are covering it live in some fashion. On a couple of related notes from Mobile, the Senior Bowl had held out some hope that Oregon QB Marcus Mariota, this year’s Heisman Trophy winner who led his Ducks to the national championship game, would accept a late invitation to participate in this year’s event, but he gave a final ‘no’ yesterday. While only technically a junior, Mariota would have been eligible as a 4th year player who has already graduated. The QB slot on the Senior Bowl roster that was being saved for Mariota will go to Auburn’s Nick Marshall, although most NFL teams would reportedly have preferred to see the one-time Georgia CB play in the defensive backfield. Meanwhile, Alabama FB Jalston Fowler, the top-rated prospect at the position for the 2015 draft, will also reportedly see plenty of snaps at RB.
Shrine game winners and losers ... GBN Chief Scout warmed up for this week’s Senior Bowl in Mobile locked in the war room scouring over the tape from last Saturday’s East-West Shrine game in St. Petersburg and files this report on which players stood out and which didn’t.
Final list of draft eligible underclassmen released … The NFL has released a final list of 74 underclassmen who have been granted special eligibility for the 2015 draft, along with another 10 players who are still juniors but have graduated and are also eligible for this year’s draft. The number of underclassmen entering this year’s draft is down, though, from last year when there were a record 98 early entrants, and a total of 107 juniors in the draft. In previous years, there were 73 underclassmen in the 2013 draft, along with 65 in 2012, 56 in 2011, 53 in 2010, 46 in 2009, 53 in 2008, 40 in 2007 and 52 in 2006. The NFL’s final list of eligible underclassmen included 7 players who had not previously appeared on any lists including Notre Dame WR Davaris Daniels, who did not play in 2014 because of academic issues, along with Iowa State DT David Irving, North Carolina LB Darien Rankin, Akron WR Zach D‘orazio, Northern Colorado LB Max Flores, Appalachian State WR Tacoi Sumler and Arizona State LS Easton Wahlstrom. However, the Irish‘s Daniels, a potential mid-to-late round prospect, is the only late entrant to be considered to be more than a fringe prospect. Meanwhile, several players who had been included on most prominent underclassmen lists over the past few weeks do not appear the eligibility list for 2015 including DEs Noah Spence, formerly of Ohio State and Devonte Fields, formerly of TCU, South Carolina WR Shaq Roland, and Simon Fraser WR Lemar Durant. Spence, who was declared ineligible after failing two drug tests, in fact, just announced he has transferred to FCS Eastern Kentucky where he will be eligible next fall, while Fields and Roland are also expected to transfer this off-season.