INDIANAPOLIS – Here are some things from Saturday's Scout's Notebook from Lucas Oil Stadium Groups 2 and 3:
- I would be very surprised if Luke Joeckel is the first overall selection in this 2013 NFL Draft. Matter of fact I wouldn't be surprised if Eric Fisher is taken over him in this draft. In my mind it was very close when you studied the tape of the two players and who really was better. I had Joeckel slightly better because I had seen him block players from Alabama, LSU and Florida but Fisher made progress in my eyes during his work at the Senior Bowl with some of the players that he was able to handle there. If you are a scout that believes in numbers say like the Oakland Raiders did when Al Davis was running the team, you would have Fisher over Joeckel. I really believed that the bench numbers would separate these two players because athletically, I thought they were the same guy. They both did the same amount of reps at 225, they both vertical jumped 28 ½ inches but there was a clear difference in the 40 yard dash with Fisher at 5.05 and Joeckel at 5.30 which to be real honest a shock. My gut tells me that Joeckel will improve his time on his Pro Day at Texas A&M but Fisher could very well do the same. The workout during the position drills for both players went well which was to be expected. I didn't observe either player struggle with movement or labor with the drills, it was really clean in that regard. The one thing that I learned from this day, is that the first offensive tackle off the board could go either way.
- The player out of Group 2 that might have helped himself the most today was Oklahoma offensive tackle Lane Johnson. His tape is nice to study but there were questions about really how strong he was and on Friday he answered plenty of questions by lifting 225, 28 times. On Saturday, he
backed up his strong start with an impressive 40 at 4.72 but he also threw a 34" vertical jump at the scouts to think about. Johnson was one of those players that might have been a player that teams were going to look at in that 20 to 25 range but now he has a better shot to end up in the top 15 range depending how the draft falls. On tape I really thought he was like Nate Solder who was drafted by the Patriots in the first round two years ago because they look like similar athletes. After watching him work out today, there is no doubt that he is my third offensive tackle on the board and a little closer to the top two.
- I have not had a real chance to work through these centers in the draft, matter of fact, the only two that I had done were Barrett Jones and Travis Frederick but when I get back to Valley Ranch, that will be a part of my game plan. From the eye ball test today, Brian Schwenke of Cal was someone that I noticed. I had observed him at the Senior Bowl during some one-on-one drills and he did flash working against some of the better defensive tackles that All-Star game but athletically he is someone that needs to be studied further. His 40 time of 4.99 and vertical jump of 26.5" were solid but watching him work today, you could see the initial quickness he has off the ball and getting into blocks. He did a nice job of pulling and I didn't see much wasted motion. I don't believe that the Cowboys will draft a center this Spring but it will be interesting to see if Schwenke is one that could fit in the middle to later rounds.
- I have to admit that I was disappointed that Cincinnati tight end Travis Kelce did not work out today because I really felt like he could be that type of player that the Cowboys could use with Jason Witten and James Hanna because of his ability to catch and block but other tight ends were able to work out and did it quite impressively. The Law Firm of Eifert, Ertz and Escobar put on quite a show today for the scouts. When I speak of the Law Firm I am [embedded_ad] talking about Tyler Eifert of Notre Dame, Zach Ertz of Stanford and Gavin Escobar of San Diego State. These tight ends remind me very much of the draft when we took Witten out of Tennessee in the number of quality tight ends in the mix. That year there was Dallas Clark, LJ Smith and Mike Seidman and this class has that same type of talent. I have heard scouts talk about this group can do a good enough job as blockers but I just didn't see that other than Kelce of the top guys. There is no question that these guys can run all the routes and catch the ball because that was very clear today throughout the drills. Escobar didn't run as good of a 40 as Eifert and Ertz but he plays much faster on tape. The other two tight ends that showed well in the group were Chris Gragg of Arkansas and Vince McDonald of Rice with some impressive numbers.
On Sunday we will get the quarterbacks, wide receivers and running backs.