It’s Senior Bowl time…
Leading into the 2019 Senior Bowl week, all first-half of January 2019, I’ve been preview scouting all the prospects (except OL and PK) – spending 20-60 minutes per prospect watching selected tape and looking over their college output/statistics and game logs.
I then typed a quick reaction paragraph or two and assigned a school grade scouting to each prospect. This initial grade is just my early reaction to what I see. I cannot run the non-QB prospects through my computer scouting models until I get the NFL Combine and/or Pro Day data. This preview is my best attempt to explain what I see and to prepare myself on things to look for going into the Senior Bowl week of practices. *My scouting grades/takes on these players can/will change based on watching them this week but more so when their Combine and Pro Data comes in.
I will be releasing a few positions of preview scouting and grades starting 1/19 and running to 1/22. On 1/22, Tuesday, we have the official weigh ins and measurements, which I’ll be covering and reporting on the interesting results as fast as I can type them out.
1/22 (TUE) also starts the practice week 1/22-1/24, I’ll be covering what I saw/heard from prospects and coaches, etc., and reporting out that night/next day. 1/26 will be the game itself.
QB Trace McSorley, Penn State (6’0”/200) *Preview Scouting Grade = F
I didn’t see anything here worthy of the NFL. They should have invited David Blough instead of McSorley.
QB Clayton Thorson, Northwestern (6’4”/225) *Preview Scouting Grade = D+
Has the build (sturdy frame) and the arm of an NFL QB. Scouts and coaches LOVE guys like this – big body, big arm, terrible/erratic on-field performance…but the NFL coaches think they’ll fix him. Classic ‘reach QB’ prospect.
QB Tyree Jackson, Buffalo (6’7”/249) *Preview Scouting Grade = C-
Every head turns when Jackson enters the field…a legit 6’7”,he stands head and shoulders over the other players coming out of the tunnel and in the huddle. Has a nice highlight reel but not a great ‘every play’ tape.
There are moments where you are like ‘wow’, and then most moments you’re thinking ‘not accurate’ and ‘doesn’t run that gracefully’. He can run the ball a bit, but he’s not a game changer on the loose. If he were 6’2”, no one would care…but the 6’7” keeps people’s wheels turning.
QB Drew Lock, Missouri (6’4”/225) *Preview Scouting Grade = D+
Has size and ‘big arm’, but is much like Josh Allen – erratic, cannot harness his arm. Too many times I watch Lock with this ‘big arm’ ending up standing flat-footed and throwing wounded ducks with no velocity. Totally unimpressed with him.
His highlight reel of his best 4-5 throws will have the fans ‘captivated’ with ‘the possibilities’.
QB Daniel Jones, Duke (6’4”/220) *Preview Scouting Grade = C-
Of the ‘smart’, taller, good enough arm, ‘looks like a QB’ guys flooding the NFL…Jones is one of my least favorite. Ryan Finley should always be the choice among ranking these two. Jones has all kinds of passer flaws but is solid enough to be good in college and follow the playbook.
QB Ryan Finley, NC State (6’3”/210) *Preview Scouting Grade = C
I think Finley is a better version of Daniel Jones. Both smart ACC passers with some size and NFL arms, but I think Finley has a better arm and is much more comfortable, savvy as a passer. Finley makes some nice throws when off balance or when the pocket is muddy. I was more impressed than I thought I’d be. He’s backup/fringe starter material for the NFL.
QB Jarrett Stidham, Auburn (6’3”/215) *Preview Scouting Grade = C+/B-
I think he’s the sneaky candidate for best QB pure, all-around QB mind/processor of plays and making smart throws in the 2019 NFL Draft. Accurate and confident throwing over the middle and in tight windows. However, he will get totally overlooked and mistreated by the coaching staffs in this game because he doesn’t have the momentum/buzz of some of the bigger name QBs here. I’ve seen this happen to QBs like Stidham for years at his game.
QB Will Grier, West Va. (6’2”/220) *Preview Scouting Grade = B
I’m still trying to figure out why I don’t love him. Great production in college. Nary a bad game in his career. Smart with the ball. Accurate. And yet there is just something that does not draw scouts or fans to him. He’s legit ‘good’, I just don’t know if he’s ‘great’ potentially.
QB Gardner Minshew, Wash State (6’1”/220) *Preview Scouting Grade = B
I’d argue he’s probably the best traditional/pocket passer QB in the 2019 NFL Draft. But I could see arguments for Will Grier.
TE Drew Sample, Washington (6’4”/250) *Preview Scouting Grade = D+/C-
Big-framed, slower but NFL-potential TE prospect. Not used much in the passing game, but part of that was the QB not really looking for him, but he was available (as most college QBs do not utilize the TE properly). Solid blocker. Decent hands. Has a little upside but not a ‘wow’ prospect that I see.
TE Donald Parham, Stetson (6’6”/240) *Preview Scouting Grade = D+/C-
He might be close to his listed 6’6” but is probably like 6’5”. What I do know – he looks like a skinny (but muscular) wide receiver playing TE because he’s ‘tall’. A little slower/stiff for a WR prospect, but kinda athletic for a TE prospect. He’s an interesting prospect because he’s so tall and has athleticism…looks like a college basketball small forward playing TE. Raw in his movement and catching ability.
Definitely a developmental prospect who needs to make some heads turn in Mobile this week.
TE Dax Raymond, Utah State (6’4”/250) *Preview Scouting Grade = C
It looks like someone cloned Travis Kelce and put him on Utah State 2018…Raymond wears the same number (#87), looks like Kelce physically, and kinda moves and catches like him as well. I’m excited by the glimpse I saw, but it wasn’t much more than a glimpse because Raymond wasn’t used much in the passing game. I have to hold back the grade some to figure out how this guy can look pretty nice…and yet his team throw 32 TD passes and Raymond only get two of them in 2018.
TE Josh Oliver, San Jose St. (6’5”/255) *Preview Scouting Grade = C+
Dude is just a behemoth – tall, thick, wide but not overweight or anything…just big all over. And he can move well for his size. Is a very good, willing blocker and seems decent in the passing game…but, again, was another TE prospect not used a lot because of his QB and/or offense’s limitations. There is upside here, I think. May not have the speed to be an NFL impact TE.
TE Foster Moreau, LSU (6’5”/250) *Preview Scouting Grade = C+
Looks like a yoked up WR but watching tape you quickly see he’s a tight end…because LSU has him blocking 99% of the time. He was sparingly used in the passing game, but that’s true of most everyone at LSU.
His college numbers don’t pop, but he might surprise with his NFL Combine measurables and be a poor man’s George Kittle…or it could mean a Blake Jarwin type prospect emerges – guys better in the NFL because they weren’t used properly in college.
TE Tommy Sweeney, Boston College (6’4”/250) *Preview Scouting Grade = C+/B-
Soft, reliable hands, but was used erratically in the passing game. Has an upside in the passing game in the NFL. Speed/agility will be the question…might be a 4.8+ runner with 7.2+ three cone and be a yawn, but with Zach Ertz like hands. If he’s more 4.7s 40-time and near 7.0 three-cone then we’ve got a nice draft prospect.
All these Senior Bowl TE prospects have some NFL hope, and 1-2 might be surprise impact guys – but it’s hard to say which of my top 3-4-5 here will show it at the NFL Combine and then which ones will land in a great spot to play right away in the NFL.
My top 3-4-5 TE prospects here could flip the order by the end of the week in Mobile. Interested to see if any of these guys really pushes ahead of the pack.