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2015 Senior Bowl Report – Looking At The Tiers (South Edition)

Another set of Senior Bowl practices has come and gone, and the South team seems ready and raring to go. As with the North, here are positional breakdowns that will separate each player into tiers based on where they should be drafted.

These tiers are a bit varied based on the talent level of the players in question, so I have put my value for each tier in parentheses. Please note those when considering the tiers.

Quarterback

Tier 1 (Late Round 3): Garrett Grayson

Tier 2 (PFA): Blake Sims/Bryan Bennett

Grayson’s worst performance was on his third day of practice, but he still flashed the tools that will make him an appealing prospect and a project player. He has good arm strength, footwork in the pocket, and surprising mobility. Grayson also showed poise under pressure multiple times this week and was the most consistent of the three South quarterbacks. Bennett and Sims both had flashes of potential, but neither seems draftable at this point in time. Bennett has some awful game tape and those inconsistencies were evident this weekend. Sims showed up to the Combine out of shape and missed a major opportunity for him to prove his ability as a passer.

Running Back

Tier 1 (Round 4-5): Cameron Artis-Payne/David Johnson/Jalston Fowler

Tier 2 (PFA): Connor Neighbors

All three of the Tier 1 running backs impressed throughout the week. Artis-Payne showed great cutting ability and seems like an ideal third down back, while Johnson looked like ex-Cardinals running back Tim Hightower, cutting through holes and pass protecting. Like ex-Crimson Tide back Le’Ron McClain, Fowler deserves a chance to tote the rock at the next level rather than have to plow the way. He showed some shiftiness as a pass catcher and nice power. In a very deep running back class, all three of these guys will hopefully get opportunities to catch on with various teams.

Wide Receiver

Tier 1 (Round 2): Sammie Coates/Tyler Lockett/Phillip Dorsett

Tier 2 (Early Round 3): Devante Davis

Tier 3 (Round 4): Dezmin Lewis

Tier 4 (Round 7-UDFA): Rannell Hall/Josh Harper/Tella Luckett

This wide receiver group was extremely talented from top to bottom. Sammie Coates was the most physically imposing player on the South’s offense, and although he is not quite as fast as some think he is, he still has all the tools to be a heck of a wide receiver. Dorsett was sort of a swiss-army knife all week long. The Jaguars coaching staff handed the ball off to him on end-around plays, sent him deep on 9-routes, and tried to integrate him into the offense however possible. Dorsett was also one of the team’s leaders and routinely helped his teammates get lined up during offensive practices. Lockett is a sensational route runner with great speed and good hands. He could end up being the steal of this draft, as he routinely made other defenders look silly. Davis and Lewis are both big bodies with a ton of upside. The Tier 4 guys flashed at times but probably top out as third or fourth options in the NFL.

Tight End

Tier 1 (Early Round 2): Clive Walford

Tier 2 (PFA): C.J. Uzomah/Devin Mahina

NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah told me that Clive Walford was the most impressive player he saw this year, and the hype seems to be real. Walford is a dynamic receiving threat who has an outside chance to overtake Maxx Williams as the top one in the class. He gets an early Round 2 grade but it would not be surprising if he sneaks into Round 1. Uzomah and Mahina are both fairly mediocre.

Offensive Line

Tier 1 (Round 1): La’el Collins

Tier 2 (Round 3): Ty Sambrailo/Arie Kouandjio/Tre Jackson

Tier 3 (Round 4-5): Daryl Williams/Austin Shepherd/Shaq Mason

Tier 4 (PFA): Reese Dismukes/Tayo Fabuluje/Dillon Day/Blaine Clausell

La’el had some injury woes throughout the week, but he still solidified himself as the top tackle and/or guard in this class. It remains to be seen if he will play on the inside or outside of the offensive line, but either way he should be an immediate improvement as a run blocker. Sambrailo disappointed a bunch of scouts – he has a hitch in his kick-step and looked extremely sloppy at times. Sambrailo also isn’t the strongest guy in the world and might be best suited as a guard in the NFL. Kouandjio is a better athlete than his brother and could be a dynamite run blocker in the league. Jackson held his own. Shepherd surprised me and was very competent as a right tackle. Mason struggled a ton on Day 2 but bounced back a bit on Day 3 with Gabe Wright missing. Tier 4 is, for the most part, fodder, although Dismukes was playing well before recently regressing. He may merit a re-evaluation over the next few weeks on my part.

Defensive Line

Tier 1 (Round 2): Gabe Wright/Owamagbe Odighizuwa/Preston Smith

Tier 2 (Round 4-5): Joey Mbu/Trey Flowers/Grady Jarrett

Tier 3 (Round 6-7): Kaleb Eulls

Wright was the most impressive South lineman here in one-on-ones, absolutely destroying all competition with a variety of moves. He could end up being a steal in this draft, perhaps even Tommie Harris at his peak. Diggy was inconsistent but would thrive in a wide-9 scheme or as a pass-rushing defensive tackle. He has skills, but his hips are still questionable. Smith was mediocre in one-on-ones, but he’s a gamer – he was the most disruptive defensive lineman in 11 on 11’s and 7 on 7’s. Jarrett has awesome burst off the line of scrimmage, but his size limits him and he is a bit of a one-trick pony. Shaq Mason was brutalized by him on Wednesday but stonewalled him consistently on Thursday. Mbu is a plugger who, like Smith, was at his best when he was facing a full complement of linemen rather than in a 1-on-1 situation. He has extremely violent hands and plays with passion. Flowers has athleticism but it does not always translate on the field, and his tape is up-and-down. Eulls did not make any type of impression.

Linebacker

Tier 1 (Round 2): Denzel Perryman

Tier 2 (Round 3): Lynden Trail

Tier 3 (Round 4-5): Markus Golden/Lorenzo Mauldin/Stephone Anthony/Geneo Grissom

Tier 4 (Round 7-PFA): Martrell Spaight/Amarlo Herrera/Terrance Plummer

Linebacker prospects can occasionally be over-studied, and Perryman is no exception. He is an expert gap-shooter, who is functional enough in coverage to be a viable starting linebacker in the NFL. Trail and Grissom are wildcards; edge players who are weak at rushing the passer but well-rounded in other regards. Trail, in particular, has some Manny Lawson to his game and is exceptionally fluid in coverage. He even played some tight end in college. Golden and Mauldin are opposites; Mauldin is a top-notch rusher who can get snuffed out against the run and Golden is a tough guy who will never be knocked down although he may not have the quick twitch ability to be a great pass rusher. I’d take Golden slightly higher, but both have perks. Anthony is a well-rounded linebacker who could eventually become a rotational guy, but is a bit slower to react than his peers. Plummer, Herrera and Spaight are smart, but limited in various ways (Plummer with speed, Herrera with hip flexibility, Spaight with size).

Defensive Back

Tier 1 (Round 1): Kevin White

Tier 2 (Late Round 1-Early Round 2): Jaquiskii Tartt/Senquez Golson

Tier 2 (Round 3): D’Joun Smith/Ladarius Gunter/Cody Prewitt

Tier 3 (Rounds 6-7): Imoan Claiborne/Nick Marshall/Clayton Geathers

Tier 4 (PFA): JaCorey Shepherd/Anthony Jefferson

Even though his more famous name-twin did not attend the Senior Bowl, a Kevin White ended up being my MVP across both teams for the whole week. TCU’s cornerback was quite clearly a step above every other defensive back in Mobile in terms of his ability to click, close, use the sideline, read the receiver, and make plays on the ball. White is a little small, but he has every other requisite skill for a NFL cornerback and should be a first round pick.

Tartt had four interceptions across the practices and looked extremely fluid at 6’1 and 220 pounds. If Tartt runs close to his rumored 4.45 40-yard dash, he should find his way into first round consideration. One scout called him “Rodney Harrison with less nasty” while watching him at the South’s Day 1 practice.

Golson is still a personal favorite, and his ball skills and ability to close/use the sidelines were on display throughout the practice sessions. He was not the most visible cornerback, but he’s still a baller in my book. Florida Atlantic’s Smith is extremely physical and contested every ball thrown his way despite middling long speed. Gunter would be a lock for the top two rounds if he had not gotten repeatedly injured while at The U. Prewitt is an awesome box safety who should be limited to that role at the next level.

Claiborne plays with energy and intensity but he was victimized on Day 3 by more physical specimens. Marshall switched from QB this week and still needs to develop, but he had the highlight of the practice when he broke up a deep pass to the man he used to throw touchdowns to, Sammie Coates. If he keeps developing, he could be a NFL cornerback someday.

South Top 5 Players (Based Just On This Week of Practice)

1. Kevin White, CB, TCU

2. Clive Walford, TE, Miami (FL)

3. Jaquiiski Tartt, S, Samford

4. Phillip Dorsett, WR, Miami (FL)

5. La’el Collins, OL, LSU

South Top 5 Players (Based On My Grades)

1. La’el Collins, OL, LSU

2. Kevin White, CB, TCU

3. Jaquiiski Tartt, S, Samford

4. Sammie Coates, WR, Auburn

5. Clive Walford, TE, Miami (FL)