I made the comment to LL yesterday that most of the linemen we saw yesterday were built less like the typical offensive linemen and more like tight ends. There wasn’t a bad body out of the bunch, aside from maybe Chance Warmack, who looked like the most “prototypical” offensive linemen on the field. It’s a good year to be in the market for an offensive linemen; there’s some legitimate talent to be had and molded.
Cal center Brian Schwenke stood out amongst the interior linemen. Schwenke ran a ridiculous 4.99 with a 1.68 10-yard split. Schwenke is the perfect Zone Blocking Scheme center, and followed up a great week of work at the Senior Bowl with another check mark at the Scouting Combine. He’s more athletic than he looks, with great lateral movement skills and the kind of nasty streak you look for in an offensive linemen. Will Montgomery was one of the better centers in the league last year, but we don’t have any “true centers” behind him, and Schwenke can be had for much cheaper than Monty’s $4 million a year. Schwenke can also play all three interior line positions, which is even better
David Quessenbary is another intriguing prospect that I’m looking at when it comes to right tackle prospects. Quessenbary showed up and kicked butt at the Senior Bowl, and then followed it up with another solid combine performance. In drills he showed good footwork and quick feet. He’s not the most athletic linemen, but his measurables are close to that of last year’s draft pick Tom Compton. If he, like Compton, could sit for a season and add some strength, he’d be a solid option as well.
Oday Aboushi disappointed me, big time. I liked his tape at Virginia, but he had a bad week at the Senior Bowl, then followed it up with a bad showing at the Combine. He’s intriguing prospect from a physical standpoint, but his stock is significantly lowered after the last couple events.
As far as raw prospects go, Virginia Tech offensive tackle Nick Becton piqued my interest. Going through the drills, you can tell that technique wise, the guy has a long way to go. But as a development prospect in the later rounds, he definitely has the athletic traits and abilities we seem to look for in a right tackle.
If you didn’t know, Arkansas Pine-Bluff’s Terron Armstead went off the charts athletically. But, just because he went off athletically doesn’t make him the best offensive linemen out there. He is a scheme fit for the Washington Redskins at tackle, but I’m not sure I would take him with the Redskins second round pick, and that’s if he’s even there, as some other team might rocket him up their board. Armstead is still a third-or-fourth round pick in my eyes based off his tape.
I feel like I have to mention James Madison prospect Earl Watford, but I’ll just leave it to Justin to explain why he’s good. Not that I’m calling him a homer or anything.
San Diego State tight end Gavin Escobar stuck out to me amongst the “three E’s” (Escobar, Ertz and Eifert). He didn’t dazzle in the 40-yard dash, but he’s got a huge wing span and catch radius. He’s a natural hands catcher, meaning he catches the ball with his hands out in front of him and doesn’t let the ball get into his body. Zach Ertz and Tyler Eifert are likely to go in the late first or early second, but I can envision Escobar being there at 51, and given the uncertainty with Fred Davis right now, I think that’d be a good value pick.
Who the heck is Matt Furstenberg, and what’s he doing running 4.62 (he ran a 4.5 flat unofficial according to NFL Network)? Maryland had some issues with inconsistent quarterback play, which meant Furstenberg suffered. But man, athletically this kid jumped out at me. He looked smooth catching the football in the gauntlet, and ran some really good routes. I don’t know if the value is there to spend a draft pick on him, but if it were me, I’d spend a 6th or 7th just to ensure I had him in my camp to see if I could take the athletic ability he showcased and bring more out of him.
He didn’t participate, but I wasn’t particularly impressed with Cincinnati tight end Travis Kelce, despite the medical and behavioral red flags. His tape suggested he was just okay. An okay blocker. An okay receiver. He had good production but nothing jumped out at me that made me think we had to draft him. And now, with red flags, I’m even less sure about that.
I still like Tennessee Vol Mychal Rivera. He doesn’t do any one thing great, but I feel like he does everything really well. He’s the kind of player you can take in the middle rounds and develop into a solid starter.
There seems to be more “joker” or “move” tight ends than in-line guys in this draft. If the past is any indication, when utilizing 2-tight end sets, both Mike Shanahan and Kyle Shanahan like having a guy who is more of an in-line blocker (Daniel Graham and Joel Dreesen come to mind) and one guy who they can move freely around the formation (Tony Scheffler and Owen Daniels). We’ve already got a more traditional in-line tight end in Logan Paulsen, so that “joker” tight end seems to be a more likely get.
Thank God we don’t need a quarterback this year. This class is all over the place. NFL Network’s draft analyst Mike Mayock audibly sighed much of the day talking about the quarterbacks, not because none of them were good, but because most of them are just frustrating to watch. Every quarterback that is looking to be taking in the top 3 rounds has at least one glaring weakness that needs to be worked out. This is a bad, bad year to need a QB. This year’s draft class alone silences many of the critics of the RG3 trade. You can’t wait for your guy to come along. You have to go get him. Otherwise…well, you end up with this.
Geno Smith still looks like the best quarterback of the bunch to me. Will he go first overall? Probably not. Should he? Ehh…I kind of think so. He’s the best quarterback in the draft by a country mile, and again, you can’t count on finding your guy in the second round.
Florida State E.J Manual also stuck out to me today. Mechanically, he still has some things to work out, but I think he’s worthy of a high to middle of the second round picks based on his athletic ability, his accuracy, and his winning pedigree. If you’re going to wait around until the second round to take a quarterback, I think E.J should be in the mix for the first guy off the board in the second round. With a little work I think he develops into a very capable NFL starter, particularly if he goes to the right team with the right scheme.
Tyler Bray reminds me of Jay Cutler, for all the right and all the wrong reasons. If I had to pick three quarterbacks out that improved their stock, it’d be Smith, Manual, and Bray. You can see the arm talent is there with Bray. His accuracy is wonky at times, but when he’s on, he’s on. But he’s also got this sort of aloof, “Hey bro” attitude that’s going to irk some teams. Still if I had to choose Bray and someone like Matt Barkley, I might be tempted to go Bray.
Matt Barkley didn’t participate in on the field drills. I really have no idea what round he’s going to go in anymore. But I wouldn’t take him in the first round. No sir, no I wouldn’t.
The question for the Redskins has to be this; are they looking for a complementary receiver opposite Garçon, a guy who can get deep and catch the jump ball, or are they trying to find a guy who can play the slot and take over for Santana Moss? I really don’t think you can say yes or no either way. Our receiving core is pretty deep, but I don’t think Mike Shanahan is going to skip out on adding a guy who can do either role. Hopefully one can do both.
Baylor product Terrence Williams timed with a 40-yard dash in 4.52. That’s about the only thing I can think of that might have Williams lasting until the 51st pick, at which point we should shove the card into Roger Goddell’s hands as fast as we can. Chances are Williams will be long gone by our pick, but I think his Senior Bowl week and his Combine can be best described as “okay”. Not incredible, not terrible, but certainly good. Maybe that lack of “wow” will keep him in our sights. Maybe. Stop looking at me like that. Shut up. I can dream, can’t I?
Bye-bye, Tavon Austin. It was fun to think you could be a Redskins while it lasted.
Kansas State’s Chris Harper is a hands catcher with a big body. He’s more of a build-up speed guy than a straight line speed athlete, but I think he has the ability to be press and bump coverage (with time), and he’s got soft hands and that jump ball ability that, maybe, Leonard Hankerson and Josh Morgan lack. No slight against them—-and typically I’m not a “we need a tall receiver” guy–but I think there’s some talent that can be coached out of Harper that’s worth checking out.
Same goes for Clemson receiver De’Andre Hopkins. When I look at this class I see some talented, fast, tall X receivers that can win outside and add a dimension to our offense we don’t have currently have outside of Pierre Garcon. In the gauntlet, Hopkins let the ball get into his body a little more than I’d like, but I still think he’s got solid hands, and he can run great routes. His game versus LSU was crazy good. And yes, he’s a junior, but he’s also got incredible physical talent and many accolades to boot.
And here comes my second mention of a junior; Stedman Bailey. (Though he is a red-shirt, so he’s started for three years). He really impressed me catching the ball. Tavon Austin stole the show, but Bailey was no slouch himself. If we’re looking for a slot receiver, Bailey is a guy I think that can not only win in the slot, but win outside as well. He may only be 5’10″, but he plays taller than he is, and his ability to get yards-after-catch would be a big time weapon for us. I think he’s the kind of player you can line up in lots of places on the field. He’s not quite Tavon with the versatility, but he’s a more than capable guy.
USC’s Robert Woods had a really good day, which he needed. Southern Cal struggled something awful in 2012, and Woods was often overshadowed by Marquise Lee. I think he showed that’s he’s more than worth a second-or-third round pick. Another natural hands catcher who didn’t let the ball get into his body, he ran good routes, and his measurables were beyond solid. It’s enough that I’m going to go back and watch more tape on him, even though, yes, he too is a junior. (I’m breaking my own rules, I know.)
40-times are great and all, but they’re pretty much useless if receivers don’t block in the run game. If you don’t block, your chances of getting drafted are pretty much halved, if not done in worse.
My guy at running back is UCLA product Johnathan Franklin. His measurables are similar to Roy Helu’s coming out of Nebraska, only without some of the nagging health concerns. The Redskins are looking for that third down, change of pace guy. I don’t really like scat backs, but Franklin is a guy who can fill that role in my mind; he ran a 4.49, which is a solid time for a running back. He can run the ball outside and break the big one, he can catch the ball out of the backfield, and he can pass protect on third down. I think a guy like Franklin can be paired with Alfred Morris for one hell of a “thunder and lightning” style running package that would keep defenses guessing.
My other guy, Boise State’s D.J Harper, looked solid in drills. He’s a little less of the third down, change-of-pace guy and more of an every down back, which is why I’m not sure we would draft him. Still, I love his vision, and his 4.52 in solid. I don’t know if we’re really going to look at Harper, but he’s a prospect I’ll be rooting for going forward.
Andre Ellington pulled his hamstring while doing his 40-yard dash and couldn’t participate in drills. It blows, because if I were to look at one scat-back that I did like, it’d be Ellington. He 4.59 40-time was not indicative of the kind of speed he actually has. I guess we’ll have to wait on his Pro Day, but it would’ve been nice.
Other Prospects I’ll Be Watching More Of
Kyle Long, OL, Oregon
Jordan Mills, OL, Louisiana Tech
Justin Pugh, OL, Syracuse
Matt Stankiewitch, C, Penn State
Chris Gragg, TE, Arkansas
Justice Cunningham, TE, South Carolina
Levine Toilolo, TE, Standard
Vance McDonald, TE, Rice
Rodney Smith, WR, Florida State
Brandon Kaufman, WR, Eastern Washington
Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon
Knile Davis, RB, Arkansas
Michael Ford, RB, LSU
Miguel Maysonet, RB, Stony Brook
Christine Michael, RB, Texas A&M
Theo Riddick, RB, Notre Dame
Robbie Rouse, RB, Fresno State