January 27, 2016

by GBN Associate Editor Pigskin Paul Guillemette

Under the new Senior Bowl setup today was really the first day of events open to the media and the public. Sorry for my late report, but the day began at 8 AM and I just got back to my hotel about 8:45 PM. Not complaining folks, just telling you the facts.

The morning was dedicated primarily to the weigh-in session. But first Director Phil Savage gave us a rundown of who is not here this week, and why. Only 3 players flat out declined to attend. They were CONNOR COOK/QB, DeFOREST BUCKNER/DE and RYAN KELLY/OC. Since they were not claiming injuries I thought the most surprising of the three was KELLY. He is not considered an elite prospect. At best he might sneak into the 3rd Round of the April Draft. It is also a bit of a surprise because ‘Bama players are treated like gods down here, but whatever.

Four seniors declined to attend because they were still rehabbing major injuries that occurred during the regular season. Those 4 were: ADAM GOTSIS/DT, KARL JOSEPH/S, WILL REDMON/CB, MAX TUERK/C.

Finally, there were another 9 players who currently have injuries suffered in Bowl Games or at Performance Camps, who declined to attend the game. They are: DEVONTAE BOOKER/RB, JONATHAN BULLARD/DL, SHILIQUE CALHOUN/DE, TAYLOR DECKER/OT, JOSH DOCTSON/WR, TYLER HIGBEE/TE, WILLIAM JACKSON/CB, KOLBY LISTENBEE/WR, JORDAN LUCAS/S.

Still, Savage seemed quite proud and pleased that every one of the players listed above advised the Senior Bowl of their inability to attend in advance. When healthy just abut every one of the players above might have been expected to be a Top 100 prospect.

Because of a rainy weather forecast it was also announced that there would be no North morning practice on Wednesday. The practices will be held back to back in the afternoon. Might be a bit late reporting to you again tomorrow folks. But it will be worth it not to sit through a rain drenched practice session if the timing works out. My phone’s weather App says good move by Weatherman Phil.

I thought the weigh-in process revealed some rather interesting results today. I have said for a couple of years now that I felt the NCAA’s drug testing programs for Human Growth Hormones and Steroids was having an affect on the size and shape of players. Some of today’s numbers seem to support those assertions of mine.

The two heaviest players here were Clemson’s D.J. READER @ 340 lbs & LSU’s VADAL ALEXANDER @ 336 lbs. But neither one seemed to have a souped-up musculature. They were both just naturally large bodies. Out of 110 players who went through the measurement process yesterday, only 20 weighed 300 pounds or more. On the other extreme only 17 players weighed under 200, including the kickers. The tallest player here is SHAWN OAKMAN/DE at 6’074″ tall. The shortest guy here is DeANDRE WASHINGTON/RB at 5’077″ tall. In fact there weren’t very many short guys on the two rosters. Only 18 of the 110 players were under 6′ tall. An awful lot of lineman were in the 290 to 310 lb. range, 16 to be exact. There were a bunch of well muscled guys here, but not the preponderance of “muscle beach” alums that we used to see.

I am a proud member of the “I prefer my QB to have large hands” club. Here are the hand spread numbers for all 8 QB.

A couple of side notes I found interesting about the QB. Former QB/BRAXTON MILLER, who moved to WR because of multiple shoulder injuries, has fairly small hands @ 9 1/8″. They would place him just above ALLEN on the list above. DAK PRESCOTT’s first name is really RAYNE, and COKER’s is really BRYANT.

There were several players whose measurements really caught my eye. For instance JORDAN JENKINS of Georgia is a very highly ranked pass rusher as a pro prospect. He is kind of a tweener. His hgt/wgt numbers of 6’025″ & 257 lbs. make him a bit of a tweener as a DE or an OLB. But no matter where he lines up in the NFL his 11″ hands and 34″ arms are numbers that make NFL Scouts drool. CHARLES TAPPER/DE/OKlahoma had a very nice career for the Sooners both in setting the edge and stopping the run, and also as a pass rusher. At 6’026″ & 276 lbs. he has decent size for his position in a 4-3 scheme, but his huge hands, at 11 1/8″, and long arms, at 34″ really make him attractive to the NFL. Another player who has prototype measurements is LeRAVEN CLARK/OT/TEXAS TECH, who was a very effective LT for the Red Raiders. And his numbers help to explain his success as a blocker both in the run game as well as the passing game. CLARK stands 6’055″, and weighs 312 lbs. with a solid looking, fit body. Then add in 10 7/8″ hands, and 36 1/4″, vine-like arms and you really have something.

I believe that one of the best proportioned athletes, by position may be small school standout DEIONDRE’ HALL/CB/NORTHERN IOWA. He stands 6’015″, weighs 192 lbs., has 9 1/2″ hands and 34 3/4″ long arms. Those are all excellent numbers for the position. the arm length is phenomenal. HALL might be able to scratch his ankles without bending over. This guy could be a hot riser if he performs well here this week on the Corner and then runs fast, with good agility numbers, at the Combine. Then you have a few guys with a fatal flaw or two. JAKE GANUS/LB/Georgia might be one of those with a glaring weakness. GANUS was UAB transfer after they dropped football (only to later reinstate it) who earned a starting ILB job with the Bulldogs. He had a highly productive season for UGA and got invited to the Senior Bowl. Today he measured 6’017 & 231 lbs. But he has 9″ hands and (gulp) 29″ long arms. His are the shortest arms of any non-kicker on either roster. It doesn’t automatically disqualify him as an NFL prospect, but it raises some very serious concerns.

There were indeed practices for both teams this afternoon. But they were both pretty much glorified walk-throughs as the players try to show they are ready to go, and have started to digest the watered down pro play-books they have just been exposed to. Some real hitting will take place during Wednesday’s practices.

I did watch the DL groups for both squads today and think we have a solid group of talented players to look at for both teams. Dallas DC and DL guru ROD MARINELLI, worked the North DL hard today and seemed to like a lot of what he saw. From a hustle and performance standpoint I think his two favorites were JIHAD WARD/DE/Illinois and SHELON DAY/DT/Notre Dame. JARRAN REED/DL/Alabama was my favorite at the South practice. He is just so powerful and unmovable that he amazes me. He weighed in at 311 lbs. this morning, but he holds his ground like he weighs 330. His power and agility remind me of HALOTI NGATA.

Watching One-on-One drills at the North practice, I felt that JOSHUA GARNETT/OG/Stanford dominated his pass-rushing opponents constantly. He had his opponent on the ground,crawling toward the QB mark on multiple occasions. He is a big guy (6’044/317) with strength and good athleticism. I also thought that MAURICE CANADY/CB/Virginia looked really solid as a pass defender. He was able to stay with receivers and delivered a couple of solid hits. JORDAN PAYTON/WR/UCLA, might have been the most effective wideout for the North in limited action. Watch out for LEONTE’ CAROO/Rutgers as the week goes on. He’s very thick at 5’117″ & 217, but can really motor.

Be back at you Wednesday night with more coverage, but for now…

Good night from Mobile.

Pigskin Paul