The first day of the Senior Bowl is always nuts. From morning weigh-ins to back to back practices 30-plus minutes apart to media night interviews. I will not be sharing thoughts on weigh-ins and body types. It is not my thing.
However, weigh-ins can be meaningful. Many teams implement minimums, eliminating players who do not reach certain thresholds. The Seahawks are often mentioned with tall corners, but it is actually arm length, not height, that they prioritize. The last five corners Seattle drafted have arms at least 32-inches long (Deiondre’ Hall, James Bradberry, and Sean Davis are the three possible corners with 32-plus inch arms). Other teams will not draft receivers with small hands. There are many other examples, including testing times not just physical measurements.
Just a few years ago I was very against this idea. Then I read this article. Yes, these teams will miss on some quality players that fit outside their parameters, but tightening the pool of potential prospects in the hopes of making a better decision makes sense.
Position shifts are always worth monitoring. Sean Davis played both corner and safety at Maryland, and is spending most of his time here at safety. I liked him at both spots, and we talked about the differences in playing the two positions. (Obviously) Davis was confident in his ability in either spot. I bet you will hear his name more often during the process. Kyler Fackrell is playing a true linebacker spot with some snaps as a pass rusher. He profiles as a drop end in an odd man front, but moves well enough to play in space as a true linebacker if necessary. He models his game after Clay Matthews. Reggie Ragland is seeing reps on the edge under the Jaguars coaching staff. The inside linebacker at Bama is serving the OTTO role, which allows him to move around quite a bit.
Braxton Miller was obviously a hot topic. From the first game of the season you could see natural receiving skills, namely catching the ball away from his body after adjusting to make the catch. Sadly, the step back in quarterback play for Ohio State limited Miller’s effectiveness, and I think it made Urban Meyer resort to more manufactured touches. Miller is not a finished product, but his movement is special at a position that can benefit from an athletic advantage.
Expect more 1 on 1s between offensive and defensive linemen, beginning tomorrow. Noah Spence and John Theus immediately participated in some extracurricular activities after their first rep. It continued following the second. Spence is a top three prospect at this event. I guarantee his name will be called by those in attendance over the next two days. Sheldon Rankins, my top Senior Bowl prospect, unleashed a nasty spin move from the interior, which completely overmatched his opponent. I asked him about this very move later that evening. “Yeah, I’ve been working on that one for a bit,” he responded, with a slight smirk. Vernon Butler (my personal No. 4) is another interior defensive lineman who rushes the passer with intent. These types have success at some point during the week.
Finally, get to know Jihad Ward. I had a great conversation with Ward this evening, which will become part of a podcast down the road. Ward’s games at Illinois always intrigued me (No. 13 prior to this week), however, I had no idea Ward only began playing football in 10th grade. He idolizes Julius Peppers because the two share a basketball background. If Ward’s strengths get stronger, watch out.
I was most surprised by Matt Ioannidis today. The Temple Owl was disruptive in every single drill. I will closely be monitoring his play tomorrow and when reviewing practice film tomorrow night.
That is it, for now. Much more tomorrow. Thank you for reading and checking back.