MOBILE, Ala. – We're heading back to Dallas, but in the short time we were at the Reese's Senior Bowl, we caught four practices and had a chance to build some solid impressions of some of these draft prospects.
Here are my initial impressions from Wednesday's practices, which I'll continue to work on as I get back to Valley Ranch and get back into the game tape.
- I am usually not a huge fan of Mississippi State defensive linemen, but I am becoming a fan of Preston Smith and what I saw from him in these two practices. What like about Smith is the length he has, but more importantly his ability to play a couple of different positions. I could see where teams would play him on the edge at end, but in the nickel you can kick him inside and let him rush the passer from there. He showed the skill in these practices to be able to handle either of those jobs.
- I didn't have much knowledge of Carl Davis out of Iowa before I came to Mobile, and now that I am heading home he is a player that I will need to break out some Big 10 tape and check out his work. At 6-4, 315, he was a load for these North squad blockers to have to deal with. His most impressive trait, in my opinion, is the power he plays
with. For a tall kid his pad level was down and he was always working toward the ball. Listening to guys that have scouted Davis this past fall, they would not be one bit surprised if he was taken in the second round of this draft.
- Count me as one of the new recruits for the Quinten Rollins bandwagon. Miami-Ohio might not be the most ideal school for Cowboys fans -- especially with the poor results they have had from corners from smaller schools -- but Rollins appears to have the skill to play well in this league. There were several snaps during the Wednesday practice where the offense tried to double move him and he wasn't fooled at all. It didn't matter whether he was playing on or off in coverage, he was right where he needed to be. This story is not over for me.
- I talked with a couple of teams that were hoping LSU tackle/guard La'el Collins didn't show up well at tackle in order for them to have an opportunity to draft him as a guard. The buzz among my scout buddies was that Collins would have trouble in the league with edge rushers and their speed -- thus making him a better fit inside, where he can just play against players with power. I have to say that there were some snaps against those edge rushers where he more than held his own off that left side. There will be plenty of talk in the coming weeks where teams view him as a fit.
- One thing I've learned in my years of scouting -- especially during the Gary Patterson years at TCU -- is that if you draft one of their players, that player has a chance to help you. I am not excited about the size of cornerback Kevin White at 5-9, 174, but what I am excited about is his ability to make plays on the ball. In these practices, he didn't back down from the challenges of Phillip Dorsett or Sammy Coates -- who were much bigger and faster than him. I thought White showed outstanding technique in the way he was able to position himself in these matchups, despite some of his physical limitations. This kid, despite his size, can play -- no question in my mind.