Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Raiders Drop Anchor in Mobile, AL

With Senior Bowl week kicking off, along with its non-stop evaluation process during practice, the Raiders have been spotted talking to just about everybody they can sit down.

A lot has been made of Tajh Boyd's comments that the "Raiders have shown the most interest in me...", but it seems more like due diligence to the QB situation.  Oakland will likely be interested in all quarterbacks slated to be Top 15 at the position in this class as they'll be looking for the best QB at the best value this draft season.

ORDW will cover the prospects in their entirety, but in series.  Today, we'll cover the Offensive Line.

Offensive Line
The standout thus far has been Notre Dame OT/OG Zack Martin.  Possessing ideal size and adequate power and feet, Martin has shown the technical ability to stymie a variety of defenders so far this week in practice.  Martin played Left Tackle for the Irish in his senior season, but he could just as easily fit in as a LG or RT in the NFL...however, like one scout put it, "Let him play Left Tackle until he proves he should move elsewhere..."  Regardless, Martin is solidifying his status as a Top 50 Offensive Lineman who should fit in and contribute immediately to any team needing to plug gaps up front.

Tennessee OT Ju'Wuan James (Reggie McKenzie's Alma Mater) had a decent camp going until he got injured on Tuesday and will now not be playing in the game.  He still remains an early Day 3 pick, possibly a late Day 2 pick with a RT needy team.

A big story from Mobile has been North Dakota State OT Billy Turner.  Possessing natural maul ability, the coaching staff, and the defensive linemen he has been facing, have pushed Turner to expose his weaknesses.  While having natural power, Turner lacks some of the polish that his FBS counterparts already possess.  The OL coaching staff has been pushing Turner hard as they see the talent there.  Today (Wednesday) will be a big day for Turner, as he'll have an opportunity to showcase what he has learned the past two days.  Being coachable and making adjustments on Day 3 of Senior Bowl week is a huge step in the evaluation process down in Mobile.

Mississippi State OG Gabe Jackson (4 year starter at LG) is a likely Oakland target, and hopeful in Rounds 3-4.  While being extremely seasoned for a graduating player he also possesses tremendous size and power in man run blocking.  His lateral quicks and shiftiness continue to get exposed and tested however.  Again, Day 3 will say a lot about Jackson.

Mammoth Miami OT Seantrel Henderson is a physical presence to say the least.  What he has been lacking in technique he barely makes up for in size.  Henderson has huge upside and potential but he has to take to coaching and improve his feet and technique if he is to last in the NFL.  Very long arms and a natural athlete, Henderson has the ability to dominate as a Left Tackle in the League but will likely get his first start as a RT.  A tendency to lunge and over-extend, if Henderson can work out the kinks in his footwork he could be a Day 3 steal...but with his physical gifts, he could go as high as a Round 3 project for some of the better offensive line coaches in the League.  I imagine Tony Sparano could work wonders with Henderson...would be a nice 6th Round pick if Henderson could fall that far.

A disappointing story in Mobile has been Baylor OG Cyril Richardson.  His stock is definitely dropping as his lateral agility is consistently getting exposed rep after rep against the quicker pass-rush DTs.  Aaron Donald has abused Richardson repeatedly in pass pro drills.  One-on-one in the run game against power tackles, however, Richardson has the size and power to dominate.

Some names that have been solid but not overwhelming include C Tyler Larsen from Utah State, C Weston Richburg out of Colorado State, Razorback C Travis Swanson, Nole C Brian Stork and OG Brandon Lindler from Miami.  Larsen scrapes and claws and shows tremendous effort on all snaps, he is a man who gets blocks by any means.  Much the same for Richburg, who has displayed some of the better technique at the C position.  Lindler, a man with a ton of experience for The U...has had his "ups and downs".  One rep he looks solid, the next rep he'll get punished.  Swanson is the most physically gifted of the bunch, possessing enough size and punch to perhaps play OG in the NFL.  Stork proved "consistent"...and like most centers, takes to coaching almost instantly.

Another small school story is Tennessee State OL Kadeem Edwards.  He has great measurables and is taking to coaching quickly.  While he struggled a bit on Day 1 with the speed and size of the players he was facing, he fought back on Day 2 and didn't get discouraged, improving throughout the practice.  He'll be an interesting prospect to watch going forward.

Former Buckeye LT Jack Mewhort has had a pretty solid week thus far.  He has logged plenty of wins in one-on-one drills and has also been beat a few times in disappointing fashion.

Clemson's Brandon Thomas has improved his draft stock in Mobile.  He isn't the longest OL by any means, but he has very long arms and packs a wicked punch for his size.  "Patented" is his ability to roll leverage across a defenders' shoulders and essentially wrestle him to the ground...displaying sumo-style technique and good power in his hands.  He can play some OT and some OG, which will prove valuable in the NFL.

Michigan's Michael Schofield has struggled in one-on-one drills more than most...but looks good in team drills, not missing any assignments.

Vandy OT Wesley Johnson has shown some of the best pass blocking prowess of the group.  He isn't gifted with great size but he does have tremendous feet.  He squares his shoulders nicely and maintains a great base and can reset quickly.  During team drills he maintained that standard on Tuesday, perhaps the best pass blocker of the day.

Florida OG Jon Halapio has been praised for his strong, strong punch.  Dominates in head to head matchups and has the agility to capture his reach blocks consistently.  In team drills, he solidified just about every playside block he was assigned.

UVA's Morgan Moses is a long offensive lineman who "looks stiff and too upright" on tape, but shows a prowess in person to get blocks accomplished.  Instinctual at the point of attack...anticipating moves and countermoves consistently.

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