Eight Senior Bowl Week Stars
There were several players who impressed me In Mobile but I chose to elaborate on these eight. They are listed in alphabetical order.
Aaron Dobson WR Marshall ran impressive routes all week. He also displayed explosiveness off the line and out of his breaks. He uses his hands to catch and will really go up and get the ball. These traits combined with his long speed and size should equal an effective X in the NFL. Dobson also made a great special teams tackle on a punt return in the game.
Johnathan Franklin RB UCLA was struggling in pass protection as the week began but made significant progress on his pass protection technique throughout the week. Franklin clearly made it shown that he is a very coachable kid. He displayed powerful chip blocks in 11 on 11. He also began to win against blitzing linebackers. As a runner Franklin displayed a patience that had RB coaches drooling. He waited for the play to develop and his ran off his blocks superbly. He also showed great body control when he reached for the pylon on his TD run in the game. Johnathan Franklin’s patience, quick response to coaching and sound pass protection should get him on the field in the NFL.
Lane Johnson OT Oklahoma is a great athlete. He has great movement skills and feet. He’s very patient in his pass blocking. He doesn’t over extend he just establishes a good base and lets the rusher declare. He punches when they’re in range and is athletic enough to quickly reposition his hands if they’ve been redirected. He stoned pass rushers at both LT and RT but he has the feet and athleticism to play LT at a high level. Lane’s technique isn’t as polished as you would like to see but it’s because he’s been playing other positions, but with his size and movement skills it’s just a matter of time before it all clicks. He’s a top 15 pick.
Jordan Poyer CB Oregon State has great feet. He possesses a ridiculous transition from pedal to drive. He is going to be able to beat his share of WRs back to the ball. His change of direction is also very impressive and he should have no problem stepping in at nickel right away for a team. Poyer is a playmaker. He locates the ball well and then makes plays on it. My notes are littered with comments like, “Beat Goodwin back to the ball by yards for an Int. Peeled off his man and tipped a ball meant for another WR. Nassib throws pick to Poyer on hitch. Tipped ball for INT in game.” With his speed, athleticism and open field tackling ability he’ll make a great special teams player.
Desmond Trufant CB Washington was consistently winning in 1 on 1s throughout the week of practice. If he did lose it wasn’t by much because he is very competitive. Trufant looked excellent in off man coverage breaking quickly on routes. He has a high football IQ because he’s a smart kid who also listens to the wisdom of his brothers. He also demonstrated his special teams value by running down and making a touchdown-saving tackle on a return.
Larry Warford OG Kentucky is a large man that plays to his size. He has a heavy butt and he anchors well. Warford was stoning or walling off pass rushers all week. He keeps his hands inside and frequently won the hands battle. Additionally he showed incredible movement skills for a man his size. In one rep he got to the 2nd level to take out Nico Johnson who had been winning in run support all day. With his punch and his ability to sink and move his weight Larry Warford is a starting guard in the NFL.
BW Webb CB William&Mary is one of those players whose name kept popping up throughout my notes. Webb is very competitive and came into Mobile with a chip on his shoulder and has held his own against the best from the big schools. He displayed tight physical coverage against top SEC WRs like Cobi Hamilton and Tavarres King. He also didn’t bite on the double moves of Conner Vernon. He battled with highly rated Terrance Williams and won more than his share of the matchups. He also made a play in 11on11 great coverage on Patton and a PBU. Webb has a good closing burst and can cover players tightly down in the Red Zone including much larger Tight Ends (Rivera). He showed the hands, vision, speed and cutting ability necessary to be an effective NFL punt returner as well.
Markus Wheaton WR Oregon State showed to be a well rounded WR and a fierce competitor. My notes show Wheaton beating many of the top CBs in Mobile. “ vs Trufant in off man Wheaton beats him on an out makes him spin around. Wheaton beat Jamar Taylor on hitch, bad ball. Wheaton calls out Trufant and then beats him deep. Wheaton blew past Jamar Taylor on vertical. Wheaton beat Davis inside. Wheaton wins on a comeback.” Wheaton displayed the speed to get by people deep and the body control, hands and feet to stick the tough sideline catch. He will be a vertical threat in the NFL.