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Scouting The Senior Bowl: Evaluating Mayfield, Shaquem Griffin, WRs, More

MOBILE, Ala. – Senior Bowl week practices are underway here in Mobile as the Cowboys continue their pre-draft evaluations. Here are my initial observations from Day 1 of workouts:

  • Impressed with what I saw from James Washington (WR, Oklahoma State) when it came to catching the ball in traffic. The majority of his catches were made with a defender on him. Strong body and hands. Where he had his problems was when he had to separate in-route. Tried a double move on Danny Johnson (CB, Southern University) and he wasn't able to get away. The question about him is not going to be about his hands, but whether he can develop as a route runner.
  • The more I watch Shaquem Griffin (LB, Central Florida) the more I want him on my team. His ability to attack the corner has made it tough on these South Team offensive linemen to block him. I knew his quickness was outstanding on tape, but watching him live – it's actually rare. He's on the blocker so quickly, and due to his body type, he gives them no hitting surface. He makes it hard to get hands on him.
  • No question that Josh Allen (QB, Wyoming) has a strong arm. The question I have is, does he know where the ball is going? Even against air, Allen had trouble completing passes, and it only got worse as he moved on to other drills. During team drills, there were several snaps where he had the opportunity to hit some open in-breaking routes, but the ball was way over the receiver's head.     
  • Didn't know much about Danny Johnson (CB, Southern University) and at 5-9, 182, he wasn't a high priority for me. Now it appears he needs to be studied. He might not have the skill of some of the other smaller corners in the draft, but I was impressed with his movement. He wasn't shy about playing routes and contested the ball. There were two snaps where he drove on a slant to knock the ball away and another time where he was in great position to handle the out.
  • Today's practice was the first time I've seen Marcus Davenport (DE, University of Texas-San Antonio) with his hand on the ground. He didn't look as comfortable playing that way as he does from a two-point stance when it came to rushing the passer. They tried him some at tackle and that was a bad fit. Where he did look comfortable was playing the run. He had a couple of snaps where he was able to come off the ball, extend his hands and control the blocker. This is where his strength is noticeable.
  • Rough practice for J'Mon Moore (WR, Missouri) catching the ball. Not all those passes were perfect, but in my opinion they were catchable. It appeared the harder he tried, the more difficult it was for him to make a play. Might have been some nerves in the opening practice. Hopefully things will improve for him Wednesday.
  • Really liked what I saw from Uchenna Nwosu (LB, USC) in this opening practice. Like Shaquem Griffin, he was difficult to block coming off the edge. There is a suddenness to his game and it all stems from his first step. He explodes off the ball and is on the blocker before he has a chance to react. Once he gets that shoulder, he is able to really bend and sharpen his angle to the quarterback at the proper depth.
  • Michael Gallup (WR, Colorado State) is a smooth route runner. I like the way he's able to win off the line and get into his route. Gallup's best physical trait is his hands. He has no problem catching the ball on the move.
  • The best pass rusher on the North squad is Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (DE, Oklahoma). With these guys it's all about that first step, and he has it. I believe that the Cowboys will project him to play as a SAM linebacker and nickel rusher. He's relentless in the way he attacks the pocket and gets to the quarterback. One of his rushes forced Tanner Lee (QB, Nebraska) into an interception.
  • Keep on eye this week on Kyzir White (S, West Virginia). At 6-2, 216, he's built like a strong safety but has the movement skills of a free safety. He had a nice interception on a read off the hash where Luke Falk (QB, Washington State) never saw him.
  • Brian O'Neill (OT, Pittsburgh) generally lines up on the left side, but the Broncos' coaches have him playing right tackle. I like him better on his natural side, but I didn't think he was terrible over on the right. His game is all about balance, and there was a snap or two where it appeared he was going to be beat but managed to recover to keep the rusher off the quarterback. Film had shown that he struggles at times with power, but that was not the case in this first practice. O'Neill is currently ranked as my second-best tackle behind Mike McGlinchey (Notre Dame).[embeddedad0]
  • I'm happy to see Baker Mayfield (QB, Oklahoma) here working with these pro coaches. Nothing against his college coaches, but this Denver staff will get him started learning about the things that he will need to work on while getting ready for the draft. Teams are going to want to see him play under center some and evaluate how his footwork translates there. This first practice was a learning experience because there were some struggles, but it was a real step in the right direction, which would have never happened unless he made the decision to participate this week.
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