With the Senior Bowl, East-West Shrine Game, NFLPA Game, and Casino Del Sol All-Star games in the books, it was time to make an update to the rankings. With a full week of practices, plus a game against better overall competition, players have a great opportunity to use these games to show off their talents. As you would expect, there are some movers and shakers as some players look way better than their tape and others look much worse. This is simply a piece of the puzzle so you don’t want to over-react too much and move players way up/down but here are five guys I thought helped themselves and five I think hurt. All the positional rankings and Big Board Top 100 have been updated as well so don’t forget to check them out!
Isaiah Pead, RB, Cincinnati – Pead showed very well at the Senior Bowl, showing great versatility as a receiver out of the backfield and return man. In addition, he showed his great speed and burst through the hole. I had Pead as a third round value before this week and I think it really solidified his stock as a day two prospect.
Bobby Wagner, LB, Utah State – Wagner is a lesser known prospect as he plays in the WAC which has lost a lot of followers with Boise State exiting the conference but Wagner is a four year starter for the Aggies and led the team and conference in tackles as a sophomore, junior, and senior. Wagner played ILB for them in their 34 look. Wagner started off the Senior Bowl week with an impressive weigh-in and continued to impress as the week went on. Wagner showed great athleticism, speed, and coverage skills. To cap off his week, he led both squads in special teams tackles in the bowl game, something that teams are going to really covet. I had Wagner as a 2nd/3rd round prospect coming into this game but he’s improved his stock to the mid-2nd as he’s got the versatility to play as an outside or inside linebacker in a 43 and as an ILB in a 34.
Josh Norman, CB, Coastal Carolina – Norman was the talk of the East-West Shrine game, having a big week. As a small-school corner, All Star games are a great place to show that you can handle a jump in competition and Norman delivered. Norman had great size, showed fluid hips, had great physicality, burst, and was consistently making plays all week. Norman went from an mid day three prospect to a solid day two guy as long as his off-field checks out.
B.J. Coleman, QB, Tennessee-Chattanooga – Coleman entered the East-West Shrine game week as a big-armed small school prospect that looked like a late round project. Coleman improved every day at the Shrine game and was the clear-cut class of the QBs there. Coleman had an injury-plagued senior season but showed great progression in his mechanics and accuracy as the week progressed. Coleman has prototypical size and arm strength and his improvement in accuracy was huge for him as many considered him to be very inconsistent in that category. Coleman improved his stock from a late round project to a mid-rounder with starter upside.
Andrew Szczerba, TE, Penn State – Szczerba came into the NFLPA game as a player that wasn’t even on teams’ radars. Szczerba was plagued by injuries his entire career at Penn State. As a senior, he finally managed to stay pretty healthy but was pretty invisible all season due to three WR sets and poor QB play. Szczerba showed great hands, athleticism, and blocking ability at the NFLPA game. He has experience on special teams and has great blocking ability. Szczerba entered the week as nothing more than a camp body but he was one of the more consistent performers and has risen his stock into the 7th round/priority free agent discussion.
One other player at each position that REALLY helped their stock: Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State – Joe Adams, WR, Arkansas – Doug Martin, RB, Boise State – Nick Sukay, FS, Penn State – Brad Smelley, FB, Alabama – DeAngelo Peterson, TE, LSU – Mitchell Schwartz, OT, Cal – Brandon Brooks, OG, Miami (OH) – Philip Blake, C, Baylor – Vince Browne, DE, Northwestern – Akiem Hicks, DT, Regina – Demario Davis, OLB, Arkansas State – Shawn Loiseau, ILB, Merrimack – Dwight Bentley, CB, Louisiana-Lafayette – Harrison Smith, SS, Notre Dame – Blair Walsh, K, Georgia – Brad Nortman, P, Wisconsin
Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska – While I didn’t expect him to perform overly well at the Senior Bowl, given that they are forced to play off-man which is definitely not his strong suit. I didn’t expect him to struggle this much either. Dennard looked really stiff in his backpedal and failed to turn and run with receivers. He also didn’t look to have the burst and closing speed that I saw on tape. He pulled out with a hamstring injury so perhaps that was nagging him and hurting his overall speed and burst. Overall, Dennard now looks to be a very scheme specific corner (man/press only) and that will limit his value across the league as there are only a limited amount of teams running it. I had Dennard as a first round player coming into the week but I think his performance drops him to the second day of the draft.
Mike Brewster, C, Ohio State – Brewster was looking to rehabilitate his stock after a down senior season and he did little to help his cause in Mobile. Brewster struggled to anchor all week, played high, and looked generally unathletic. He also had some snapping problems out of the shotgun, something he struggled with during his senior season as well. Overall, Brewster has great size for a center but he seems to be stiffer and less athletic than I thought. I had him as a fringe day two prospect based on his upside and junior tape but after the poor senior season and the poor Senior Bowl showing, I think he’s fallen solidly into day three.
Jeff Fuller, WR, Texas A&M – Jeff Fuller is a guy I’ve been really high on. He started the season as a first rounder on my board and has consistently slid down ever since. Fuller had an overall disappointing Senior Bowl. He looked great at the weigh-in but once he got on the field, he fought the ball all week. Fuller actually ran solid routes and used his great size well in terms of boxing out defenders and getting in position to catch the ball. Unfortunately, that’s where his hands failed him. Fuller consistently dropped balls all week in practice and continued that trend into the game. I still think his talent is worth selecting in the middle rounds if he can run a 4.5 or better at the combine but for now he’s fallen from a first round grade preseason down to the 5th.
John Brantley, QB, Florida – Brantley was a quarterback that I was really high on and was hoping that he’d gotten over his injuries and would put together a good week at the Shrine game but he struggled mightily. He lacked arm strength, mechanics were poor, accuracy was spotty. Overall, his week arguably couldn’t have gone worse than it did. He also followed up his bad week with an even worse performance in the game, only managing to complete one pass. Brantley entered the week as someone I ranked as a 5th round pick due to his upside but after his poor week, I’ve dropped him to fringe draftable territory.
Patrick Witt, QB, Yale – Witt had a season very similar to former Ivy League and current NFL QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. He came out of the gun on fire and was rising boards across the league but as the season went on, his flaws were revealed and he came crashing back down to Earth. Witt played in the NFLPA game and was exposed for his lack of arm strength and athleticism. Witt looked like the worst QB at the game, which is saying a lot as he was amongst guys like Jarrett Lee and Jacory Harris. The end of Witt’s senior season had him looking like a fringe draftable player, his NFLPA practices and tape make him look like nothing more than a camp arm.
Other players who failed to impress me at each position if available: Nick Foles, QB, Arizona – Dan Herron, RB, Ohio State – DeVier Posey, WR, Ohio State – Michael Egnew, TE, Missouri – Ryan Miller, OG, Colorado – Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina – Kheeston Randall, DT, Texas – Robert Blanton, CB, Notre Dame – Antonio Allen, SS, South Carolina- Randy Bullock, K, Texas A&M – Aaron Henry, FS, Wisconsin