Titans part ways with personnel VP … Tennessee has parted ways with VP of Player Personnel Lake Dawson who oversaw the Titans’ pro personnel and college scouting departments. It does not appear that Dawson will be replaced and that going forward Director of College Scouting Blake Beddington and Pro Scouting Coordinator Brian Gardner will report directly to G.M. Rushton Webster.
GBN All-rookie team posted … After a little time for reflection, GBN Associate Editor Pigskin Paul Guillemette has put together his picks for this year’s all-rookie team.
Are the Bucs Duck hunting … In recent weeks, there had been a growing consensus around the NFL that if Tampa Bay took a QB with the #1 pick at this year’s draft it would almost assuredly be Jameis Winston of Florida State despite all the off-field red flags as the former Seminoles’ star is more the kind of prototype pocket passer that would fit the Buccaneers offense than Marcus Mariota of Oregon, this year’s other top-rated prospect at the position who is more a spread system QB. However, ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting that Tampa Bay is actually leaning toward taking Mariota, presumably because he’s a cleaner prospect. Of course, its also just possible that with the smoke ad mirrors season upon us, that Tampa Bay is simply floating the idea of taking Mariota to see what, if anything, Philadelphia, which is thought to be angling to find a way to acquire the former Ducks’ star, would package in order to move up all the way up from the 20th spot to ensure getting Mariota. Hard to imagine that Tampa Bay would necessarily want to drop all that far, but what’s the harm in asking. Stay tuned.
Top Shrine game players ranked … GBN Associate Editor Pigskin Paul Guillemette had so much fun ranking the top players from last week’s Senior Bowl that he went back to his notes and did the same for the top 50 players at the East-West Shrine game.
Selection order; picks by team updated … Given we are in a bit of downtime for the draft as everyone gears up for Sunday’s Super Bowl, we have done a little housekeeping and updated the 2015 selection order by including the second and third rounds which are now pretty much set except for the inclusion of any comp picks at the end of the third round. The rest of the selection order will be updated once those comp picks have been announced, which usually happens around the end of March. We have also posted an unofficial lists of the current picks by team based on confirmed trades known to date. Right now what is interesting is that there appears to be only one team – Cleveland with 10 – that currently has more than 8 picks so far, while there is only one team – St. Louis with 5 – with less than 6 selections to date. Again, that list will change once the comp picks are announced, but we would certainly appreciate hearing from anyone who is aware of updates to the deals or other trades.
More Senior Bowl player rankings … 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 all the players at last week’s Senior Bowl combining both their work in the practice sessions and the actual game.
Senior Bowl MIAs … One of the frustrating aspects of the Senior Bowl every year is that too many quality seniors who get invited to Mobile decline for one reason or another. Certainly, Senior Bowl organizer Phil Savage didn’t sound like a happy guy when he addressed the situation last week. GBN Associate Editor Pigskin Paul Guillemette has some more detail after returning home from his week in Mobile.
Radio show cancelled … Due to a family medical situation, this week’s scheduled GBN Draft Show on blog talk radio has had to have been cancelled. Hopefully we’ll back on the air next week.
Sexual assault allegation against top QB prospect still out there … Any hopes by former Florida State QB Jameis Winston, or for that matter the NFL, that the allegations f sexual assault against the former Seminoles’star would just quietly go away, well just don’t look like they are going to go quietly away. Indeed, the female FSU student that accused Winston of sexually assaulting her in December of 2012 has gone public with her side of the story in a documentary that opened late last week at the Sundance Film Festival. The Winston sequence was part of a film that documented several nationwide complaints of sexual assaults on college campuses and is scheduled to be shown on CNN later this year and has a planned release in movie theatres later this month. Winston was never charged – although there are allegations that local police didn’t conduct the most thorough investigation – and he was not found guilty of any student ethics violations by an independent investigation, however, the young woman has also filed a federal civil lawsuit against the school claiming that it violated her Title IX rights by failing to properly investigate the incident. Winston is considered to be the top candidate to be the first player selected at the upcoming draft if he passes the red flag test, but they just keep waving and could be problematic for teams, such as Tampa Bay which has the #1 selection, particularly given the league‘s recent pre-occupation with domestic violence.
Colts set to sign CFL WR star… Indianapolis has reportedly agreed to terms with WR Duron Carter who starred with Montreal of the CFL the past couple of seasons. The 6-5, 210-pound Carter is the son of NFL Hall-of-Famer Cris Carter and was a big-time recruit at Ohio State coming out of high school, but never played much for the Buckeyes, or several other schools including Alabama, because of off-field and academic issues and ultimately signed with Montreal after going undrafted in 2013.
Final star game underway … Just when one thought the college all-star season was done with the Senior Bowl wrapping up last week, however, one would be wrong because there is actually a final game – the College Gridiron Showcase – which is currently underway in Arlington. For the most part, though, this is a second-chance game, although there are also some familiar names on the rosters including RBs Dee Hart of Colorado State and Louisiana-Lafayette’s Alonzo Harris, Baylor WR Levi Norwood, Utah State DE B.J. Larsen, and safety Nick Perry and OG Leon Brown of Alabama. Dane Bugler of CBS Sports has some highlights from the first day of practice. The College Gridiron Showcase will be played Saturday at 2:30 PM ET, however, the only TV coverage available will be on Comcast Sports Network and the North Texas Sports Network.
Mock updated … With the Senior Bowl in the books, the GBN first-round projection for the 2015 draft has been updated. Note that as much as possible the picks are based on which player we think the respective team will take given the latest intel rather than who we would take ourselves.
Senior Bowl game defensive line review … The tapes showed kind of what we saw live from the defensive linemen during the actual Senior Bowl game and that’s that the position was something of a mixed bag in Mobile last week. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the highlights and lowlites for the defensive linemen during Saturday’s Senior Bowl game.
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!
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.