Every year, I get the list of the Senior Bowl prospects and go through each one for a 15-30 minute tape and initial data scouting session. I then slap an initial (school) grade reaction on each prospect and write a few lines about my first reaction to my preview study on them – to publish during Senior Bowl week to get ready for the practice week and game.
I’ll get a better feel for these players after we get their Combine and/or Pro Day numbers and run our scouting analytics and do deeper research on some of them, but for now he’s a first reaction preview of the players going into their Senior Bowl week (ranked by lowest-to-highest initial reaction grades)…
*Updated grades/ranks noted after scouting the entire week.
CB Darnay Holmes, UCLA (5’9”/190) *Early Preview Grade: D
They list him 5’10”+ and 199 pounds, but looks more like 5’8”+ and 185+. He didn’t stand out in coverage and he looked too easy to push around for bigger WRs (which most every WR is bigger than him). Has the desire but maybe not the ability/body for the NFL.
CB Essang Bassey, Wake Forest (5’10”/190) *Early Preview Grade: D+
Not a great cover corner. Better sitting back in a soft zone and reacting. Better CB prospect for a zone cover team. Might be a better free safety than CB prospect. Aggressive, energetic, but highly questionable cover skills.
CB A.J. Green, Oklahoma State (6’1”/190) *Early Preview Grade: D+/C- (Update: C-/C)
Update: Showed size, toughness, ability to hang as a serviceable NFL CB at the Senior Bowl.
Org. Comments: Plays cornerback like a safety, and sometimes I mean that as a compliment on toughness…but I mean it more insulting here. Slower feet in coverage. Looks more bulky, more physically suited for safety. Smart player. Good college CB, but I don’t see a high-end NFL corner prospect on the tape I watched.
CB Reggie Robinson, Tulsa (6’0”/197) *Early Preview Grade: C+
Physical corner who likes to play up in a receiver’s face. Has longer arms and uses them well to jam receivers off their initial route. Plays a little grabby but stayed with WRs fairly well. His NFL Combine speed and agility times will determine his fate, on whether he can use that same aggressive style at the next level or not. Came on strong as a senior and as the season went on – 8 pass defenses in his final three games. Teams tried to go at his aggressiveness, but he held his own mostly.
CB Michael Ojemudia, Iowa (6’1”/200) *Early Preview Grade: C- (Update: C+)
Update: Every time I watched him, it seemed, he was checking up nicely on all the WRs. Possible ‘B’, maybe?
Org. Comments: Has nice length. So-so cover skills. Not bad in coverage on short passes but doesn’t appear to have the high-end speed to keep up/mirror with high end receivers. Watched him against Michael Pittman Jr./USC in their bowl game…Pittman got open pretty much any time he wanted, but his QB was not looking his way much of the time/the USC QB isn’t great/looked like he decided not to test Ojemudia as much as everything else was available.
CB Dane Jackson, Pitt (6’0”/190) *Early Preview Grade: C/C- (Update: C+/B-)
Update: Was one of the better CB prospects all week. Tougher and better than I believed from my preview.
Org. Comments: Solid cover corner prospect. Good size. Suspect speed for the NFL. Was a team captain. Watching him against Joe Reed (Virginia), I thought Reed just looked like the NFL athlete and not Jackson. Jackson is active and tough, and played a little linebacker at times for Pitt in some alignments. He’s got some NFL hope, just not high-end hopes at my first preview.
CB Kindle Vildor, Ga. Southern (5’11”/190) *Early Preview Grade: C+/B-
Seems like a solid cover corner. Hard to tell his full capabilities because teams stayed way from him in 2019, the game tapes I watched…even Joe Burrow was like ‘no, thanks’ not testing Vildor. Vildor has a solid size, good movement/cover skills, a solid frame, and was a team captain. He looks like NFL material for sure. Hard to tell if it is A or B or C grade material from this preview alone. This Senior Bowl week will fill in some blanks.
CB Kristian Fulton, LSU (5’11”/200) *Early Preview Grade: B-/B
Well-schooled, smart/instinctive cover corner prospect. Has NFL size and speed and agility to play corner at the next level. He’s not afraid to be physical. He has good break on the ball and nice recovery skills on underthrown/timing passes. Just a solid prospect all the way around.
CB Troy Pride, Notre Dame (5’11”/194) *Early Preview Grade: B+/A-
QBs didn’t want any part of throwing his way. Pride has high-end feet/speed to stay with receivers. He has a good NFL size with the right bounce in his step/movement skills. He has a sturdy frame and is physical…plays CB with the mindset of a safety at times. A very solid CB prospect for the NFL.
CB Lamar Jackson, Nebraska (6’3”/215) *Early Preview Grade: C+ (Update: A)
Update: Was way off on him in his preview. His cover skills were way better than I realized during my preview. He was great mirroring WRs all week and in the game. He might be a 1st-round CB if his NFL Combine numbers come in right.
Org. Comments: A prospect coming over from the East-West Shrine group. His size is getting him noticed.
What I wrote on his preview for the E-W Shrine: Raw CB prospect. Was a safety for a few seasons, then moved to CB full-time. Has nice size. Has some athleticism but not very fluid in coverage. Is getting better. His versatility and size might get him into the NFL to work special teams while they groom him at CB or SAF or both.