Senior Bowl: Russell Wilson and players who hurt draft stock in practices
With the padded practices for the Senior Bowl completed, nearly all the NFL types have left Mobile. The game is on Saturday, but for pro scouts, the three padded practices carry the most weight. Below is a breakdown of the nine players who struggled the most this week:
Russell Wilson, QB, Wisconsin, 5-10½, 203, 4.60; projected free agent.
After a great senior season in which he led Wisconsin to the Rose Bowl, Wilson did not fare as well at the Senior Bowl. It started off badly when he measured under 5-11, and then he struggled with accuracy throughout the week. He showed good mechanics to get rid of the ball quickly and a very strong arm to make every NFL throw without a problem. However, teams can’t ignore his height and lack of consistency as a pocket passer. He likely won’t be drafted because his performance this week showed that he will be, at best, a backup quarterback in the NFL.
Will Blackwell, G, LSU, 6-3, 314, 5.30 40 time; projected late-round pick, priority free agent.
Blackwell looked out of place athletically all week and did not show us he has the tools to start in the NFL. He is stiff, lacks hip flexibility and has slow feet, all of which hinder his ability to set up quickly and adjust side-to-side against good pass rush moves. Despite having good size, he struggled to play strong at the point of attack and was driven backward by bull rushers too easily.
Mike Brewster, C, Ohio State, 6-4, 310, 5.25 40 time; projected late-round pick, priority free agent.
Brewster struggled badly in the first practice of the week, and it did not get any better after that. He was physically dominated at the point of attacked too easily. Bull rushers were able to drive him backward and defeat his blocks to pressure the quarterback far too often. He struggled to adjust and block well in space and too often ended up overextending and falling off his blocks. For a player with his national reputation, Brewster needs to really step up in Saturday’s game if he wants to make sure he gets drafted.
Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska, 5-10, 203, 4.55 40 time; projected third- or fourth-round pick.
Dennard came to the Senior Bowl competing to be the third cornerback drafted overall, but things went bad quickly. And now that he will also miss the game because of a hip flexor injury, he will be under pressure to shine at the Combine and his pro day. At the weigh-in, it was surprising to see how thickly built he is; he looked more like a running back than a cornerback. Throughout practice, he displayed bad footwork and poor anticipation, and his lack of catch-up speed allowed receivers to beat him deep consistently. If you did not know Dennard was a top prospect, you would have thought he was a borderline free agent based on his play all week.
Jeff Fuller, WR, Texas A&M, 6-4, 217, 4.60 40 time; projected fourth- or fifth-round pick.
With his height, long arms and muscular build, Fuller definitely looks the part of a big NFL receiver. However, he displayed a lack quickness off the ball, did not use his hands or strength well to fight through press coverage and lacked burst out of cuts to get separation from defenders. In addition, Fuller did not catch the ball well, which is vital for a big receiver. He not only needs to play better in the game to help his draft stock, but he will need to run and work out well at the Scouting Combine and his pro day.
Terrance Ganaway, RB, Baylor, 5-11, 241, 4.60 40 time; projected fifth- or sixth-round pick.
Ganaway had been viewed by many NFL scouts as a “sleeper” after a breakout 2011 season, but he did not play well in the Mobile practices. He lacked the quickness to get started fast, could not make jump-cuts and lacked explosive burst to get through the hole before it closed. He also did not show the speed to get around the corner on outside runs. To revamp his standing, he needs to shine in the game and at the Combine.
Dwight Jones, WR, North Carolina, 6-3, 226, 4.60 40 time; projected fourth- or fifth-round pick
For a player who came to Mobile competing to be one of the first receivers drafted after Justin Blackmon, he definitely didn’t help his stock. He not only lacked quickness off the ball, but he did not run his routes with aggressiveness and often seemed to lack urgency in his play. He was consistently upright and stiff running routes and lacked burst out of cuts to get any separation. He needs to really step up the rest of the spring to avoid sliding further on draft boards.
Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State, 5-11¾ , 191, 4.95 40 time; projected free agent
Coming to Mobile, Moore needed to really step up, but things could not have gone much worse for him. Not only did he measure under 6 feet, but he showed below-average arm strength and lacked accuracy on passes longer than 10 yards. He did not show the arm strength to make all the NFL throws with good velocity and had a long delivery and release, which made it easier for defenders to break, close and make plays on his passes. Moore will have to be amazing at the Combine and his pro day if he hopes to get drafted.
Zebrie Sanders, OT, Florida State, 6-5, 308, 4.90 40; projected third- or fourth-round pick.
Sanders looked like an athletic offensive tackle on Florida State film, but this week he looked limited athletically and did not seem to be the same player. Too often, he was upright in pass protection, bent at the waist and reaching to make contact with defenders. That led him to overextend and fall off blocks. He also struggled to run block with leverage and get movement in his blocks.