Colorado State quarterback Garrett Grayson would appear to be one of the big winners following Senior Bowl practices in Mobile, Ala., this week.
“Big arm; can make all of the throws. No mental mistakes, which is the concern in his game,” draft analyst Tony Pauline said of Grayson, who performed well enough to possibly push himself into the middle rounds of the draft.
Here’s a position-by-position look at the highs and lows of the week:
Quarterback – Grayson came to the Senior Bowl as a late-round prospect. His performance this week gives him a chance to push into the top rounds with a strong combine effort. Alabama’s Blake Sims struggled in the passing game, but his athletic ability was obvious. He might interest teams as a running back, similar to what Michael Robinson achieved at the Senior Bowl several years ago.
Running back – Yale’s Tyler Varga is the big winner. Varga wasn’t even rated by scouts coming into the week, but will leave Mobile having dominated drills. “Complete running back; stood out in running drills; outstanding receiver; stood out in blocking drills,” Pauline said. Northern Iowa’s David Johnson didn’t live up to expectations. He’ll have a chance to improve his draft stock at the combine.
Receivers and tight ends – Tight end Clive Walford of Miami was consistent in all areas. He caught well and blocked well. “Not top two rounds but good No. 2 tight end for a very long time,” Pauline said. Donatella Luckett of Harding in Arkansas had the dropsies in Mobile, which wasn’t good for a small-school guy on a big stage. The combine will offer a bigger stage.
Offensive line – Ali Marpet of Division III Hobart College is the big winner. He dominated some of the top guys and was consistently the best offensive lineman in Mobile. He worked at left tackle and guard and suffered no breakdowns. Pauline said Marpet has moved from the late rounds up to round three. Tackle T.J. Clemmings of Pitt was a steady riser through the season. Late in the season, he was said to have pushed his way into possibly the top half of the first round, but Clemmings didn’t have a good week in Mobile. Pauline thinks Clemmings might’ve fallen a round or two, as a result.
Defensive line – Iowa’s Carl Davis dominated from the first practice through the last. He was athletic and explosive, and Pauline says Davis has the strength to play on the nose and the athleticism to play end in a three-man front. “Unstoppable all week. Double-teamed on the last day to slow him down. Second round to late first round,” Pauline said. Hau’oli Kikaha of Washington is an undersized end that struggled getting off blocks in a three-point stance. He also took snaps at outside linebacker and would appear to be a tweener.
Linebacker – Clemson’s Stephone Anthony is the big winner. He was consistent and proved he can be a three-down defender. “Doesn’t make mental mistakes in coverage,” Pauline said. Jeff Luc in Cincinnati struggled in coverage and appears to be an in-the-box, two-down defender.
Defensive back – Safety Anthony Jefferson of UCLA wasn’t highly rated coming to Mobile but used the Senior Bowl practices to show a lot of skill and versatility. “Good against the run, fluid in the hips, good closing burst. Not much known about him and he did really well,” Pauline said. TCU’s Kevin White is a smallish cornerback who struggled with his back to the ball and was beaten for some receptions. The combine will be a rebound platform for him.
The combine is set for Feb. 17-23.