Fun Fact: A lot of scouts and coaches don't even watch the Senior Bowl game itself. They leave Mobile, Alabama early because the one-on-one drills during practice week are considered far more important than a game with modified rules that limit defenses. Here's an inside look at some of the practice tape from the 2013 Senior Bowl.
This can't wait. It just can't.
I'm sitting at my desk at NFLN right now on my lunch break, and there is no way I would be able to contain myself for another 4-5 hours if I didn't write this post right now. I've been lucky enough to land a new project here at the network, and that project happens to be marking every single scrap of tape from all of the different cameras at the 2013 Senior Bowl and all of the North/South practices from the previous week. That's right - all of it. The All-22, the sideline cams, the on-field audio, everything. It's the motherload of all motherloads for draft lovers like me and you. Everything that we missed off-screen during the broadcasted practices is all right here. It's...it's beautiful. I decided to take notes as I go, and I'll be sharing these in a series of posts as I go through this project. Here we go.
Practice Notes - Solo Defensive Line Drills- Day 1
- Kawann Short was impressive. Very quick hands on bag drills. Nice ability to deliver short, subtle strikes with power and didn't expose himself on the sternum. Good bend on the circle drill. A half second slow off the ball on snap drills.
- Brandon Williams has a lot of power, but predictably isn't the fastest guy in the world. Surprisingly nimble on the circle drill - adequate bend. Powerful hands in the bag drill.
- Datone Jones is freaking ridiculous. He has come out of nowhere to be arguably the deadliest inside rusher in this class since what I saw in the regular season. Hands used to be a weakness; they're now his biggest strength. Very, very fast on his counter moves. Suddenness is as impressive as ever. Martial arts training has paid off for him.
- Margus Hunt looked stiff as a board in the circle drill. Has a lot of work to do on his bend and flexibility. Nice speed and athleticism, but I have a hard time believing he would be effective right now anywhere but in the 7-tech.
- Haven't seen Jordan Hill before this, but he was impressive. Very violent and explosive in the bag and circle drills. Good bend. Eager to see what he does in one-on-ones.
- Sylvester Williams is growing on me in a big way. This guy can flat out move.
Solo Linebacker Drills - Day 1
- John Simon was underwhelming in the agility drill. Slow feet and short shuffles. Took too many little half steps. Didn't clear a lot of ground with each movement. More known as an effort guy than an athlete, so this wasn't surprising, but it sure didn't help his case.
- Kevin Reddick looked good in the agility drills. Made less useless movements like half steps in between obstacles and cut it close to the bags. Feet were a little slow but they were precise.
- Khaseem Greene had quick feet but he kept taking extra steps between bags. Slowed him down a little bit. Needs more work.
- Trevardo Williams looked uncomfortable in the agility drill. Athletic guy, but his feet seemed almost forced and he kept looking down to make sure his placement was right. Severely hampered his speed.
- Ty Powell was probably the second best LB in agility drill. Nice feet, good balance, head up. Good all around.
Random One-On-One Notes - Day 1
- Kawann Short was a little slow off the snap and couldn't sustain his power on the bull beyond the initial surge. Didn't get low enough and stayed far too high.
- Other than not squaring up in the hole and being lucky that the linebacker went for finesse rather than power, Johnathan Franklin looked brilliant in pass pro versus Kevin Reddick. Didn't let him control his hands and shut down the swim to push him out of the back of the pocket. Great technique.
- John Simon looked bad in coverage. Gave up too much space against Franklin and gave him a two way go. Lacked agility to keep up on the inside cut.
- Alex Okafor looked good in line-on-line. Beat the guard off the snap, broke through and slowed up the RB in the backfield, allowing Jones to chase from behind for forced fumble.
- Kenjon Barner is quite possibly the scariest offensive prospect in this class. He destroyed everyone in man coverage drills all day and made Khaseem Greene look slow; that's not easy to do. That kind of speed, route running, and vision shouldn't be legal. Screw size, this guy can play.
- Award for prettiest swim move of the day goes to Steve Beauharnais. Beat Barner cleanly in pass pro.
- Reddick versus Barner in pass pro drills was supremely entertaining to watch. Relentless physicality against speed and viciousness. Reddick won on his third counter move, but it was impressive nonetheless how long Barner held him off.
- Reddick's ability to cut through traffic continues to impress.
- Nevermind, Ty Powell wins swim move of the day. Robbie Rouse in pass pro is a bad idea.
- Rouse can't protect a QB to say his life, but man is that guy fast.
- Trevardo Williams looked decent in coverage. I question his deep speed if he has to content with a Darren Sproles
type guy on a wheel route.
- Reddick's hands have gotten a lot better. He looks like a promising interior blitzer.
- Greene continues to impress with his coverage skills.
- Kyle Juszczyk is a very draftable fullback. Good run blocker, good pass pro, and can run a decent route or two.
- Ty Powell has a hell of a swim move on him. He's busted it out a couple times to great effect.
- Khaseem Greene and Steve Beauharnais are representing Rutgers well in the "linebackers that can actually cover people" department.
- Kyle Juszczyk just juked the hell out of Duke Williams. Not bad for a fullback.
- Another good highlight of Juszczyk stoning Greene in the hole. I'm starting to like this guy more and more.
- You can tell Nick Kasa is still learning the position as a DE converted to TE. Could be worth a look in the later rounds. Definitely has the strength. Need to see the quickness and foot work.
- Braxton Cave has been very up and down today. There seems to be a disconnect between his brain and his feet. Stops kick sliding/power stepping far too often when he starts concentrating on his hands. Needs to become a more natural mover and just put his feet on auto pilot. When he's on though, he's on.
- Kawann Short continues to come off the snap late, but his hands are seriously impressive. Good power, too. Needs to put it all together in one package to be the dominant 3-tech that he has the potential to become.
- Sylvester Williams might have been a bare knuckle boxer in a past life. He is vicious with those hands of his.
- I'm really liking Williams' blend of size, power, speed, and technique. He's looking more and more like a solid first rounder.
- Kyle Long vs. Sylvester Williams was a clinic in how to get into a UFC fight in pads. That was a nasty one. Impressive with Long's ability to get under his pads off the snap from a LG position and drive him laterally. Williams definitely didn't go without a fight.
- Braxton Cave just pancaked Short. That's what happens when you get too eager there, Kawann.
- Jordan Hill just threw down a nice power rush. Drove him back with one arm while controlling his outside hand with the other, then went inside with an arm over. Hell of a move.
- Hill just tried to do the power rush again, but went inside way too early and let Cave get a solid grip on him. Looks like someone else got a little too eager.
- Datone Jones sighting. He looked great in the few snaps they showed of him during the broadcast. It's been 15 seconds and he's already embarrassed Hugh Thornton with the third swim move of the day. That was just plain nasty.
- Wow, he did it again. Thornton can't even get a hand on him.
Line of the Day:
Coach to 340 lb. NT Brandon Williams: "So what are you, a wiggle guy? A power guy?"
Other player next to coach: "Does he look like a wiggle guy? Look how big he is."
Williams proceeds to bull rush the hell out of Brian Winters
Coach: "Well I guess you're a power guy."
- Jones vs. Cave. Jab step outside, club-rip inside, sack. Yikes.
- Jones vs. Cave again. Beats him again. His quickness is unreal.
- Trevardo Williams vs. Ricky Wagner. Good initial bull, but I'm not seeing any secondary moves to finish the deal. He let Wagner recover and drive him out. Needs to develop some extra moves to build off that bull. Jerks, humps, clubs, jabs, anything.
- Seriously, it's almost not even fair. Jones is annihilating pretty much everyone.
- Brian Winters an animal. He's been able to anchor against behemoths like Brandon Williams and step with quicker guys like Short and Hill for most of the day. He'll have his slip-ups, but there's a lot of potential there.
- Datone Jones vs. Eric Fisher is the highlight of my day. It's like a title fight. Jones bulls, Fisher anchors, Jones tries to jerk, Fisher clamps and put him on the ground. Next snap, Jones decides to go with quickness and beats him with one of the fastest club swims you'll see this year. It's fascinating to watch two guys who are so big, so fast, and so technically sound trying to make each other mess up. Worth the price of admission.
- Alex Okafor is putting on a show from the LDE spot. His jab-club-rip that I highlighted in his scouting report
is on full display. Poor Ricky Wagner.
I'll have more notes down the line, but I've learned some things today. For starters, Datone Jones might have just played himself into the first round. Secondly, Eric Fisher is every bit as good as advertised. Thirdly, Sly Williams and Kawann Short remind me a lot of Geno Atkins. Sheldon Richardson has a lot of competition for the best pure 3-tech in this class. Fourthly, I'm terrified of anyone in the AFC South picking up Kenjon Barner. All I want for my birthday is for the Colts
to stay far, far away from him.
That's all I got for now, BRB. Until next time.