With the Senior Bowl now in our rearview mirror, it’s now time to move our focus strictly towards watching film and seeing how much of what we saw in Mobile matches with each prospect’s film. Senior Bowl week is one of the best weeks of the year. It gives us a lot of opportunities to see guys from smaller schools match up against those from the big time schools and have the chance to prove they are on the same level. Not only am I going to discuss some of the biggest risers and fallers from this past week, but I will be focusing on players that the Vikings could likely target.
Riser: OT D’Ante Smith, East Carolina
Throughout the course of the week, D’Ante Smith was my favorite player to watch. Listed on the ECU Football website at 274 lbs, he weighed in at 290 lbs with 35 2/7″ arms and a massive 85 1/7″ wingspan. Not only was he a big winner at the weigh in, he was excellent all throughout practice. He handled speed and power very well with his reach and quickness off the ball. Smith projects to fit what the Vikings like in their tackles and should be available in a deep offensive line class late day 2/early day 3.
Faller: OT Alex Leatherwood and OG Deonte Brown, Alabama
After a fantastic 12-0 season that ended in a national championship, nobody would have blamed the Alabama players for sitting this one out. Instead, they came to compete and that is something that every scout loves to see. Unfortunately for them, competing was not to their benefit. Leatherwood had a tough week, really struggling with foot quickness and beaten routinely by speed rushers. His best path to success really looks like it will be at guard.
Brown looked about the same, looking more like a boulder than a guard. Was consistently slow with his hands and most importantly, his feet. In the game, he had a play where he was running to block for a screen pass and he was moving so slow he reminded me of the Pokémon Golem (credit Dante Collinelli). Brown went from being a potential day 2 pick to looking like he isn’t draftable.
Riser: OG David Moore, Grambling State
David Moore has one of the more unique body types in this class. Standing at 6’1 5/8″ and 350 lbs, Moore measured a wingspan of 82 5/8″ and plays longer than he looks. Moore has surprisingly quick feet while being able to move bodies with his raw power. He needs some work with technique and won’t be the type for some teams, but Moore can play and is scheme versatile.
Faller: OL Alaric Jackson, Iowa
Going into the 2019 season, Alaric Jackson was getting a lot of pre draft buzz and was the reason that Tristan Wirfs started at RT. Throughout the course of this week, Jackson didn’t look like the early day 3 pick I was really high on. He looked undraftable. Struggling at both guard and tackle, Jackson showed slow feet and had a tough time getting his hands on the defensive lineman early on and got pushed back pretty easily.
Riser: D’Wayne Eskridge, Western Michigan
Just before the Senior Bowl, I dropped a scouting report on Eskridge. I thought he had a fringe first-round grade and in Mobile, he delivered with flying colors. Not only did he display his game-breaking speed and crisp route running, but he also did it against top competition. His size (5’9″) and age (23) might be a deterrent for some teams, but he can be a high impact #2 receiver and a plus return man.
Faller: EDGE Shaka Toney, Penn State
On paper, Shaka Toney is an athletic freak. An explosive player off the edge, Toney has an excellent burst around the edge. His biggest issue is that is the only successful move in his repertoire. Toney came in at 6’2″ 238 lbs and looked every bit that small rushing the passer. He was more often than not bullied by tackles and showed he was too small to be a true 4/3 DE. He will need to either bulk up (which I’ve heard has been a challenge) or transition to a 3/4 OLB.
Riser: OT James Hudson III, Cincinnati
Coming in at 6’4 3/8″ and 302 lbs, James Hudson III came into Mobile with a lot to prove and even though he struggled on day one, he stood out in a good way on day 2 and 3. The former high school defensive lineman has only been playing offensive line full time for 3 years but played very well this past week. While he is still raw, Hudson III is a top tier athlete who displayed an excellent anchor and flashed great hand usage with his massive 11″ mits. He is still a project, but is exactly the kind of player the Vikings have shown to have interest in on day 2 (O’Neill, Cleveland)
Other Risers: WR Kadarius Toney Florida, LB Jabril Cox LSU, RB Kylin Hill Mississippi State, EDGE Cameron Sample Tulane, DT Levi Onwuzurike Washington, CB Tre Brown Oklahoma, OL Creed Humphrey Oklahoma
Other Fallers: QB Jamie Newman Wake Forest/Georgia, WR Sage Surratt Wake Forest, LB Tuf Borland Ohio State,