Hands down, over the two days of practice I saw, Aaron Donald (Pitt) was the top performer from either team. This kid is a load to handle because he has a terrific get off, gets up field in a hurry and he knows how to use his hands. Donald plays with good leverage, is quick and strong. I also love his motor. Donald checked in at 6-0 7/8, 288-pounds, 31 ¾ arm length and 77 3/8 wing span. I think he made a lot of money this week and just may be the top defensive tackle in this draft.
After watching Rashede Hageman (Minnesota) for two days of practice I am pretty convinced he’s a defensive end in a 3-4 scheme. While I wouldn’t say he can’t be a three-technique defensive tackle in a 4-3, I just think he’s much better suited in the former. He checked in at 6-foot-6. 318-pounds, with 9 5/8 hand size, 33 ¾ arm length and 81 ¾ wing span. Hageman has ideal size at that spot and the skills set for the position. It will be very interesting to see want teams grabs him in the draft.
I learned that Zack Martin is not only talented but versatile. This highly rated offensive lineman from Notre Dame showed he can play tackle and guard. He was terrific at both spots on Wednesday. He’s tough and very physical in the run game. He can drive people off the ball. In pass pro he showed a good base, the ability to slide his feet and mirror defensive ends. Being a swing player could enhance his draft stock even higher.
Michael Sam (Missouri) is going to make a position switch from defensive end to outside linebacker. I can certainly understand why after he checked in at 6-1 ½, 260-pounds, 9 1/8 hand size, 33 ¼ arm length and 80 ¼ wing span. He will have a learning curve and there will be a transition time. Sam showed flashes this week. He’s outstanding off the edge because of his speed and quickness. There’s no doubt that this kid is talented, he just needs time to develop in his new position. I think he will be an ideal outside ‘backer in a 3-4.
Seantrell Henderson (Miami) is the former No. 1 player in the country. He signed with the Hurricanes but never came close to living up to that billing. I thought he did have a good, solid week. He checked in at 6-6 7/8, 331-pounds, 10 3/8 hand size, 34 ¼ arm length and 84 wing span. He was light on his feet for his size. Henderson can bend and move and just needs to continue to work on his strength. He does have some trouble with smaller, speedy edge rushers. I think Henderson will be among the second group of offensive tackles taken in draft.
The game is changing so fast and so are the meaureables of certain positions. Every team wants lockdown cornerbacks . With the elite size of some of these wide receivers these days, teams want big corners. Only big cornerbacks have typically been very hard to come by. The NFL wants the next Richard Sherman. We saw a few out here at the Senior Bowl that will certainly have their chance on Sundays. Keith McGill (Utah), Stanley Jean-Baptiste (Nebraska) and Dez Southward (Wisconsin) all showed flashes. These guys are all 6-foot-2 or bigger and have the talent to play the position.
Logan Thomas (Virginia Tech) is this year’s Terrelle Pryor only with arm strength. But it takes a little bit more than that to play quarterback in the National Football League. Thomas was inconsistent and erratic all week. He doesn’t throw with any anticipation. He was late on his passes, which narrows the window, making throws more difficult. My guess is that some franchise will overdraft him, believing they can correct his flaws and make him a Sunday player.
Derek Carr (Fresno State) was clearly the top quarterback prospect of the six in Mobile. How will his performance this week elevate his draft stock? I had him No. 4 in the quarterback rankings behind Teddy Bridgewater (Louisville), Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M), and Blake Bortles (UCF). I still see it the same way. Carr was far from perfect but I thought he threw the ball well for most of the week.
With 98 underclassmen declaring for May’s NFL Draft why don’t they have an all-star game or practice setting like this? Consider how many will be high draft picks like Jadaveon Clowney, Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater. These guys will dominate the first couple of rounds. Big money is at stake and you would think there would be some sort of way to get them on the field all together knocking heads.
Jamie has been covering college football recruiting since 1992 and is entering his ninth year with Scout.com and FOXSports.com. He’s currently a National Recruiting Analyst and Manager for the state of Florida. Jamie is also covering the NFL Draft for the network.