BBD Editor Matthew Elder
With the Senior Bowl concluding it is now time for the NFL Draft silly season to take full effect. Up next is the NFL Combine for most prospects and then Pro Days, Team Visits, and finally the draft. The next 90 or so days are going to be the longest of their entire lives but in the end they all pray it all be worth it. Here are some quick thoughts about what the Senior Bowl taught us.
The Senior Bowl, or any All-Star game, is simply part of the process. It’s a single week where scouts get an up close view of prospects and how they perform. It doesn’t replace game tape and it certainly isn’t going to change rankings/reports. It does give a chance for scouts to know how a player is going to perform in an unfamiliar and at times uncomfortable setting.
As we previewed early last week my focus was going to mostly be on the QB’s in this game. With six potential fits for the Bills it was important to see who stood out and who failed to step up. While no QB took the week over and dominated the competition the most impressive QB at the game was clearly Tyler Wilson. That is based on the reports that have been published, the people I spoke with Mobile, and from what I could tell from TV.
Wilson was accurate, poised, and generally well ahead of all the other QB’s from the moment the first passes were thrown on Monday. That’s a great sign for Wilson who is battling Matt Barkley for the #2 QB slot and could challenge Geno Smith for the top spot.
Secondly there was Mike Glennon. I’ve been down on Mike Glennon but he certainly put on a throwing display this week with his ability to push the ball all over the field. He showed the touch and accuracy that you see flashes of on his 2011 and 2012 tape but still had the mental lapses and ‘what the…’ throws that accompany his tape as well. Glennon’s mechanics are clean and his size was towering compared to the other QB’s. He definitely did a lot to validate the opinion of Mel Kiper Jr but I’m still not sold that he’s even a first rounder.
Ryan Nassib fits in behind the top two because he had a nice solid week of practice even though his performance in the game left a lot of fans wondering why anybody would be enamored with this guy. Nassib still had his struggles but he improved over the course of the week and showed that he more than belonged in this game. His arm, athleticism, and leadership were all among the traits routinely listed by those in attendance in Mobile.
The quietest week and maybe one of the most consistent was that of EJ Manuel. He threw some nice passes but for the most part went about doing his job drill after drill. His highs and lows seemed to stay relatively close to his base line and for me that’s incredibly frustrating. Manuel is among the most athletic and picture perfect definitions of what you’d want in a QB athletically. His play though is mentally maddening and he once again showed that in Mobile.
For a guy who I thought could come in and wow in Mobile, Zac Dysert didn’t have a good week. He struggled routinely with his timing and accuracy in drills. He was picked off multiple times and the only thing that saved him from being the worst QB here was how bad Landy Jones was. Dysert did himself no favors in Mobile though he did make a few throws that made people go wow, unfortunately those throws came few and far in between.
This is the one that shocked me in all honesty, and it’s not because Landry Jones was bad, because honestly I was concerned that he’d be exposed in this event. What shocked me is how much Mike Mayock praised Jones this week despite the fact that nearly every other attendee in Mobile routinely wrote about how much he was struggling. Jones preference for checking down is as evident on tape as it was in Mobile and his struggles when asked to go up top certainly continued. While the other five QB’s didn’t do much to sell me on them, Jones certainly did enough for me to say I absolutely do not want him on the Bills.
-Last week word was the Bills wanting Nassib was the NFL’s worst kept secret, this week news leaks that they aren’t nearly as high on him as many assume. This is the definition of why we call it the NFL silly season folks.
-DE Ezekial Ansah seemed to struggle most of the week in drills. He lacks experience and is raw in most his technique. He does a number of things well and when he can let his athleticism run wild he’s very good. Ansah may have struggled in concentrated reps and practice where his technical flaws were exposed but in the game he was a beast, and that counts for a lot more than the practice reports will.
-DE Alex Okafor dominated drills all week long, he didn’t have a huge Senior year but if he makes it into Round 2 he’s a guy I’d take a long look at.
-If we go to a 34 look on a consistent basis next year then DE Datone Jones is a guy I’d certainly want to bring in. He was a man amongst boys at practice and showed the power and speed that a man his size shouldn’t be able to do.
-In the same thought process if we got 34 we need a NT and DT Brandon Williams from Missouri Southern showed off some incredible ability in Mobile. He’s a late Day 2 to early Day 3 type of prospect at this point who is a specimen.