Senior Bowl Day 3- South Team

Posted: January 25, 2013 in 2013 Senior Bowl

After catching up on some film study, I wanted to share a player from each position group that really stood out on the last real physical day of the week.

Backs

Stepfan Taylor, RB, Stanford

Stepfan Taylor, RB, Stanford

There is a solid group of skilled quarterbacks and running backs for the South team. One player that I really love is Stanford’s Stephan Taylor. He will not run a “fast” time at the combine and doesn’t jump off the screen with highlight reel runs. What he does is everything you ask of him and he does them all above average. He shows no real weakness, unless you talk straight line speed. Taylor has a thick build, thought only standing 5’9″, he weighs 216 pounds and it looks like he has tree trunks for thighs. As a coach and personnel guy, you really appreciate what he offers to your team as far as intangibles He is a “pick and plug guy”, meaning you never have to worry about him in the off season or not knowing assignments. Also, how many games did you see where he was losing yardage? He always finishes with power and he gets the hard yards. Add to that, he can catch out of the backfield and he is one of the best pass protecting running backs in this draft. He won’t go first round, maybe not even 2nd round, but he will end up being a tremendous value pick.

Tight Ends and Wide Receivers 

I will finally write about a tight end for once! Not that I am bias against them, far from it. As a former tight end I LOVE the position and jump to give them the publicity that they deserve. However, this year’s class is not loaded at the senior level. Ertz of Stanford and Eifert of Notre Dame will get all the credit and early round consideration, but there is some solid value in this group, especially with Vance McDonald of Rice. McDonald physically looks the part at 6’4″ 260 lbs. but he is also the tight end in this whole all star game that looks natural in both the blocking and receiving game. Other tight ends I have noticed this week are one or the other (hello blocking tight end Michael Williams of Alabama and receiver Mychal Rivera of UT). McDonald has the length to stretch the seam and did so on a few occasions in practice and one on one. He will also run behind his pads after the catch and he shows great toughness. McDonald will have to spend a lot of extra work on his hands, as he fights the ball a little bit, but for the most part I think he is the first one of these seniors taken come Draft time.

Quinton Patton of Louisiana Tech is a flat out baller. No way to get around it, he led the group for the third straight day really. I haven’t talked on Patton much because what he does he makes it look so easy. The speed is there and so is the play making ability. He repeatedly used his body to separate from press man and from off coverage. Route running looks natural to him and he shows elite athleticism. Size is adequate at 6′ 202 lbs. and he will shoot up the boards even more with a sterling pro day and combine 40 times. His season film and his Senior bowl tape are all great, but it will put that stamp on it to see a 4.40 to 4.49 40 times.

Offensive Line

All around I think this group is not as solid as the North OL but it does have its headliners in Johnson and Warford, sprinkled in with a few other smaller school standouts that I will talk about in a later blog. The two I got a great impression from yesterday both fall into the center position. Clemson’s Dalton Freeman and California’s Brian Schwenke may not be the more imposing figures out on the field, but both just time and time again get the job done. Both players use great technique and leverage to make up for a lack of brute strength and both are very intelligent players, which is a must at the center position  Schwenke is the bigger of the two and plays with a little more knee bend. Freeman didn’t have a great day the day before (and was on the receiving end of the biggest hit you will see all week) but he came back and fought. Schwenke can play guard and is more versatile, while Freeman needs to add bulk. However, both players deserve a look in an NFL camp next year and I think both will go rounds 5 to 7 come April.

Defensive Line

BYU's Ezekial Ansah

BYU’s Ezekial Ansah

This next player is running on “what if” with me and a lot of other analysts. Ezekial Ansah of BYU is as green as they come. Ansah is extremely new to the game and does not have a veteran savvy like a Washington of Georgia or an Edwards of LSU. When a team takes Ansah they obviously don’t plan on using him in an every down situation. He is long and lean but carries a very powerful frame. When he went against the OL in one on ones he shows flashes of brilliance but he is so new to the game it is like he goes into each rep with no game plan. He doesn’t know how to set up his pass rush moves that well and he doesn’t really understand his movements on the field that well. He needs plenty of polish but it is so hard not to fall in love with the upside. I know it is risky, but he is a top 50 talent either way.

Linebacker

I am not real impressed with this group and haven’t gotten much film work on many of them during the week. But I have got to say I love what Vince Williams (6’1″ 247) from Florida State brings to the field. Talk about physical like I mention with Freeman above, he was on the other end of that massive hit during team drills that sent Freeman parallel to the ground and scouts and media folk to their Twitter accounts. It was a great show of power and he plays with that Florida swagger that I am so used to seeing when I turn on those school’s games and watch them play. He has some work to do in pass coverage and tackling, but the hit alone warrants a further look into just what Williams is all about in games.

Defensive Backs

Shawn Williams of Georgia

Shawn Williams of Georgia

If you are casually watching practice as most people do, it would be easy to think that there is the entire Georgia Bulldog defensive backfield at the Senior Bowl. You would be 75% right. 3 of the 4 starters in Georgia’s secondary are participating this week and the one I come away the most impressed with is Shawn Williams. He is a 6′ 210 pound play making machine this week  Williams has used great range and coverage skills on the bigger bodies he has face and isn’t afraid to mix it up with the speed guys as well. He played well today in Team and in one on one drills. He plays with a linebacker’s toughness and will not be the best guy in coverage. But he isn’t an “in the box” safety which is really a dreaded term these days. Williams has range and can cover well. Steal if he goes later then round 4.

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