2013 Senior Bowl: Offensive Preview

Onterio McCalebb, RB, Auburn (5’11/173) – McCalebb is a lean and undersized RB for the NFL, he won’t be able to be an everydown player at the next level. But, what McCalebb can do is absolutely fly. He’s one of the fastest players in college football and an all -purpose player. With his speed, McCalebb is the type of player a team will put a package together for to get the ball in his hands. An experienced kick returner, he leaves Auburn as the all-time leader in kick return average (27.9). Last minute addition to the game, McCalebb’s big play ability will be on display in Mobile, after he supposedly turned many heads at the Casino Del Sol All-Star Game last week.

Vance McDonald, TE, Rice (6’4/260) – McDonald is one of the top H-Back prospects in this year’s draft. He has been the best player on the Owls offense for what seems like forever now. McDonald has reliable hands and even gets to take a hand off on occasion. His versatility and ability to move around the offensive alignment is his greatest asset. Speed and agility is just questionable.

Aaron Mellette, WR, Elon (6’4/220) – FCS standout is the biggest WR in this year’s Senior Bowl class. He’s in a similar situation to Appalachain State’s Brian Quick was last year, being a highly rated FCS WR coming to the Senior Bowl. It took Quick a couple days to adjust, so it will be interesting to see how fast Mellette settles in. Unlike Quick, Mellette doesn’t have the deep speed of basketball like agility of quick. With that being said, Mellette has been on the NFL radar for a long time and I am anxious to get a good look at him this week.

Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse (6’2/228) – Nassib has so much to gain by having a huge week in Mobile. Teams are anxious to elevate one of these QBs who appear to be bunched together and Nassib could be that guy. Nassib can really spin it, putting great velocity on the ball and fitting it into tight spaces. Can make all the throws. Unlike some QBs in this class Nassib shows good patience and allows the play to develop. He doesn’t lock onto one player and isn’t afraid to check it down. My big problem with Nassib is that he lacks touch on passes and instead just throws the fastball whenever he drops back. On top of that he’s been plagued with inconsistent decision making and turnovers.  He’s got experience in a pro-style passing offense coming from Doug Marrone’s system. I don’t see Nassib as a first round talent but, with a big week here QB needy NFL teams just might.

Xavier Nixon, OT, Florida (6’5/314) – Nixon is an experience player in the ringer that is the SEC. He has four years of experience playing both right tackle and primarily left tackle against the best pass rushers in college football. Nixon has been up and down throughout his career at Florida. He look great one week and will really struggle the next. Nixon has very good feet and moves them well. He lunges at his opponent and that has created problems for Nixon. He often pops up out of his stance, allowing the DE to get good positioning and over-power him.  He’s got a quick first step and can get to the second level with ease while run blocking. Nixon has the opportunity to really help himself this week, by standing out vs. the top pass rushers.

Ryan Otten, TE, San Jose State (6’5/245) – A four year contributor and team captain in 2012. Otten has a good build for the position with a big, but slender frame. Moves well and can make plays down the field. He’s more of a receiver than blocker, showing very good hands over the past two seasons and the ability to get open in the middle of the field.

Quinton Patton, WR, Louisiana Tech (6’2/195) – One of the best receivers in college football this past season. Patton has drawn comparisons to a Reggie Wayne type wideout for his ideal build as well as his body control and hands when catching the ball. Patton is smart wide receiver who tempos his routes and will sit it down in zone coverage. He works the sideline well and goes after the ball with aggression when it’s in the air. While he isn’t the fastest receiver, he is able to get open and create separation with good routes and footwork. Patton can impact the passing game at all levels of the field. Patton has been a steady draft riser throughout the season and continue to do so with a consistent performance this week.

David Quessenberry, OT, San Jose State (6’6/295) – Three year starter at left tackle for the Spartans. Has good height and length but, doesn’t play with much leverage. Needs to sink his hips and bend his knees move. Good athleticism but, needs to get stronger. A better pass blocker than run blocker at this point. Needs a good week in Mobile, but will get a shot as a late round pick as a developmental tackle prospect regardless.

Mychal Rivera, TE, Tennessee (6’3/245) – Rivera is a late replacement to the game and will have the opporunity to continue to build his draft stock. Rivera has gotten better each season, finishing his senior season with 36-562-5 stat line. Rivera has pretty good speed for a tight end and could be used to line-up at different spots depending on the offense.

Denard Robinson, WR/QB/KR, Michigan (6’0/197) – Robinson will probably be the most watched player in Mobile for a number of reasons. First, he’s one of the most electrifying players in the country, and secondly he’s coming to Mobile to try and figure out what position he could play in the NFL. “Shoelace” will give WR a shot first and it’s the most likely of the positions he will play in the NFL. Robinson has tremendous speed and cutting ability. He breaks so many tackles with his agility that he makes defenders look silly. He has the size to play WR in the NFL and could be a very dangerous slot WR to start out. Robinson should be able to carve a role out for himself due to his ability to make plays with the ball in his hands. If Robinson “wows” scouts and personnel his draft stock will have a quick and dramatic rise.

Robbie Rouse, RB, Fresno State (5’7/190) – All purpose back who has been an absolute workhorse for the Bulldogs the last two seasons. Not only did Rouse carry the ball 598 times the past two seasons, he has caught another 90 passes. Rouse is low to the ground and use that size to become a tough target to tackle. Rouse has good laterally agility and is strong for his size. It’s tough for a 5’7″ 190 pound running back to become a starter in the NFL, but if anyone was to do it, my money would be on Rouse. Obviously he has natural hands and is good in space. Most likely he projects to a 3rd down back in the NFL, that could expand into more carries with production.

Brian Schwenke, OC, Cal – Durable and reliable offensive linemen has played in 48 out of a possible 50 while at Cal. Has played both left guard and center, but came to the Senior Bowl as a center. Was able to watch him vs. Ohio State this year and I thought he handled himself well. Played with good leverage, anchored well vs. the rush and had no trouble with snaps. His versatility and durability make him one of the top 5-6 center prospects for this year’s draft.

Ryan Swope, WR, Texas A&M (6’0/206) – Not the flashiest of most athletic receiver, but Swope might be the most reliable. Swope is a good route runner who understands coverages and how to get open. He’s got solid hands and will sell out across the middle to make the play. Swope projects as a slot WR in the NFL, but has the ability to play outside if necessary. Speed maybe a question, but he makes up for vertical speed with precision routes, ability to make catches in tight coverage and solid hands. Swope has been the go to guy in big situations and appears to have the “clutch gene” or ability to make the big play with the game on the line. Plays the game the right way.

Stepfan Taylor, RB, Stanford (5’11/215) – Taylor is probably the most NFL ready of all the backs at the Senior Bowl. Coming from a pro-style offense at Stanford Taylor was given a heavy work load and was near unstoppable at times. Runs extremely hard, keeps his pads over his feet giving him very good balance. Can take contact well, and will break arm tackles because he keeps his lower body moving. He is able to accelerate through the hole quickly with good first two step burst. His top end speed doesn’t measure up to some, but that’s not the most important thing in a running back. Taylor is built to withstand the rigors of the NFL and could end up being the best running back in the draft in a couple seasons.

Dallas Thomas, OT, Tennessee (6’5/310) – Thomas started his sophomore and junior season as the Volunteers left tackle. This past season he moved to LG, so that Antonio Richardson could play LT and the team would have their best possible line-up. As an NFL prospect he projects as a tackle, with an ideal build both size and weight wise for the position. While that move might not have looked smart early on, I believe it really helped his stock. It showed Thomas’ selflessness and commitment to the team. The move also, showed teams that he has the ability to play guard as well as LT which is a very valuable trait to possess. Thomas showcases a good blend of balance and power. He plays with good leverage and really moves well for a lineman. He does a good job of getting to the second level after finishing combo blocks and can pull well for a larger tackle.

Hugh Thornton, OG, Illinois (6’4/310) – Thornton has started 35 games during his career playing both Guard and Tackle. In 2012 he started 10 games at left tackle. He will be a guard in the NFL, do to his lack of length and quickness. It’s important in this day and age that players show teams they can play more than one position if needed and Thornton can do that.

JC Tretter, OG, Cornell (6’4/300) – Tretter is one of two Ivy League players in this year’s Senior Bowl game. Tretter manned the left tackle position at Cornell, but will have to move inside in the NFL  Tretter is a former high school QB and started his Cornell career as a tight end. Tretter needs to add strength as he is just not used to playing against this quality of player.Tretter does however, have good feet, keeps his pads down and understands how to use his hands. It should go without saying, but Tretter is considered a very intelligent player.

Conner Vernon, WR, Duke (6’1/200) – Vernon’s coach David Cutcliffe called him “the most fearless wide receiver he has ever coached”, which is extremely high praise. Vernon can make plays at each level of the offense. He does a good  job of running routes and competeing for the ball in tight coverage. He isn’t afraid to go over the middle and like Swope, will put his body on the line. Vernon is a solid athlete and actually has pretty good speed. At 6’1″ he has drawn comparisons to Denver’s Eric Decker and the comp. might not be far off.

Ricky Wagner, OT, Wisconsin (6’6/318) – Another Wisconsin offensive tackle prospect. Wagner moved to LT from RT after the departure of Gabe Carimi. Wagner has added a ton of weight to his thin frame since he arrived in Madison, but still needs to get stronger. Wagner was touted by Bret Bielma as the breakout star before the season, but he hasn’t lived up to the expectations and struggled at times throughout the season with consistency. Wagner appears slow off the ball at times and gets beat with quickness. He has the frame and length to become an NFL tackle, but needs work.

Markus Wheaton, WR, Oregon State (6’0/182) – One of the fastest wide receivers in the draft.  Wheaton has the ability to be a big play threat and a stretch the field vertically. Oregon State found ways to get the ball in Wheaton’s hands as he can make things happen when he has it. He gets good separation out of his breaks and displays solid hands. Wheaton tracks the ball extremely well in the air and can make plays on it while keeping his body in position. His draft stock has been rising all year and will continue to do so with a big week.

Michael Williams, TE, Alabama (6’6/272) – Having Williams on the field is like having an extra Offensive Tackle out there. He is an understanding blocker who is built like a tackle, long arms, good feet and power. As a pass blocker Williams slides his feet well and gets very good punch with his hands. He locks out pass rushers and can anchor. As a run blocker he consistently gets movement and can wall off the defender with solid footwork and technique. Williams has developed as a better pass catcher the last two seasons and does a good job of slipping out off the line, finding the soft spot in the zone and making the catch. He’s very good in the red-zone where he uses his strength to fight off defenders and presents a huge target.

Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor (6’2/205) – Coming off a monster season where he displayed great vertical play-making ability. Continually go opened down the field and was able to make the catch on the run. Has good size and length for a receiver and is one of the best true deep threats in the class. Williams is raw as a route running and will learn how to play against more physical coverage. His straight line speed isn’t anything earth shattering, but his ability to stretch the field, track the ball and adjust. Will make him highly sought after when April rolls around.

Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas (6’2/218) – Wilson is a gunslinger who tries to make things happen with his arm. He’s fearless in the pocket and will hang in there for as long as he can to get the ball off. He has shown the ability to run a pro-style offense and make most of the NFL throws. His accuracy wanes when he throws off his backfoot and mechanics get out of wack. Wilson will go through his reads and anticipate throws well, but his decision making this past season was poor. He has to cut down on the big turnover.  Shows good mobility to step up and escape from the pocket as well as throw on the run. This year’s QB position is just waiting for someone to step up and grab the top spot, Wilson has a huge opportunity this week and needs to take advantage of it.

Brian Winters, OG, Kent State (6’5/305) – Played left tackle for the Golden Flashes, but will be most likely be a guard in the NFL. Winters is a former wrestler and uses that background to play with good leverage and footwork. He moves well for a OT and plays with a mean-streak. Winters will battle on every play and likes to get chippy. At times he was able to dominate the competition in the MAC getting great push off  the line and finished his blocks. Opened holes for Dri Archer one of the most dynamic players in CFB this past season.

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One Response to “2013 Senior Bowl: Offensive Preview”

  1. Russell Easterbrooks says:

    Winters is a possible guy I project as an OG for the Patriots future. I also like Alvin Bailey OG, and maybe the best later round guy, Matt Sumers-Gavin. The question is how high/low will Winters go in the draft. As a 3d round guy, the Pats may pull the trigger.
    I also feel very strong the Pats pick an OG in this draft. With Mankins starting his 9th year, and Connolly starting his 8th year, finding a player to be a future 8-10 year starter is now. Gaining a couple years experence behind these guys, will be important, and helpful if there is an injury.

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