All-Star Games | Draft Breakdown Archive - Part 4

All-Star Games

Ranking the 2016 Senior Bowl Wide Receivers

Written by Bryan Perez on January 21, 2016

The 2016 Senior Bowl took a shot to the gut this week with the announcement that TCU wide receiver Josh Doctson was withdrawing from the game due to injury-related issues.  Doctson was one of the big-ticket players I was looking forward to watching, but he’s making the right choice by sitting out of the game if he is not yet 100 percent healthy.  He was replaced by a very interesting name and another receiver in the long line of Clemson playmakers, Charone Peake.  Keep an eye on him.  I have a hunch he’s a guy that ranks a bit higher within NFL circles than the ‘big media’ coverage would suggest.

More than any other position, the wide receivers in the Senior Bowl are limited by the level of quarterback play during the week of practices.  Last year’s pass catchers were really hamstrung by the awful crop of passers, but (read more…)

2016 Senior Bowl Rosters Announced

Written by Bryan Perez on January 21, 2016

The 2016 Senior Bowl rosters were officially announced today and in what has become somewhat of a yearly tradition, a few of the game’s higher profile players have withdrawn from the week’s events.  Most notably, TCU wide receiver Josh Doctson, Michigan State EDGE defender Shilique Calhoun and Ohio State OT Taylor Decker are no longer listed as participants.

Our spreadsheet will be updated over the next few days, as it’s still possible for names to be added or removed from the rosters.  The heights and weights (and other measureables) will be added on Tuesday morning in a separate weigh-in story to be posted here on Draft Breakdown.

2016 Senior Bowl Study Hall

Written by Bryan Perez on January 21, 2016

This post will be updated regularly as the 2016 Senior Bowl invitations and acceptances continue to trickle in.  It’s time to start studying the game’s potential participants!  Check back regularly for newly added names as well as newly added NFL Draft scouting cut-ups.

Ranking the 2016 Senior Bowl Running Backs

Written by Bryan Perez on January 20, 2016

I recently ranked the 2016 Senior Bowl quarterbacks in an effort to tier the passers before the week of practices gets underway.  It goes without saying that rankings are fluid, especially at this stage of the #process, but it’s worth putting a preliminary hierarchy on paper in order to shuffle the deck — if needed — when the week concludes.

The list of running backs for this year’s game offers some appeal.  It will be tough to match last year’s group; the 2015 Senior Bowl included David Johnson (Cardinals) and Jeremy Langford (Bears).  Both rookie runners made immediate NFL impacts, with Johnson surging toward superstar status with every post-season carry.

The headliner this year is Kenneth Dixon (Louisiana Tech).  I wrote a piece about him here, and I think he has a chance to challenge Derrick Henry (Alabama) as the second running back off the (read more…)

2016 Shrine Game First Impressions

Written by Jeff Risdon on January 18, 2016

The 91st annual East-West Shrine Game practices kicked off on Monday in St. Petersburg. After weigh-ins, which were closed to the media, the East and West practiced in their usual locales, Shorecrest Prep Academy for the East and St. Pete High for the West.

This is my fifth time covering the Shrine Game in person, and the first impression of the rosters is that this is one of the better skill position and defensive back groups but thin on the lines. My attention was squarely on the wideouts, defensive backs, quarterbacks and tight ends as the linemen were only wearing shoulder pads and helmets.

2016 East West Shrine Game Week Begins

Written by Bryan Perez on January 18, 2016

Most major media outlets and NFL Draft analysts focus their time and all-star game coverage on the Senior Bowl, as many of the nation’s top senior prospects commit to the week of practices and interviews in Mobile, Alabama in an effort to enhance their already lofty draft stock.  But those who cover the draft closely know that the real kickoff to the draft season is the East West Shrine Game, where many next-tier seniors put their skills on display in front of the same number of “NFL people” as that which will show up at the Senior Bowl.  The biggest difference between the two games is the lack of media presence in Tampa versus the wave of humanity that makes the trip to Mobile.

We’re fortunate to have one of our Senior Draft Analysts, Jeff Risdon, on the ground in Tampa.  He’ll be posting some pieces here on Draft Breakdown throughout (read more…)

Ranking the 2016 Senior Bowl Quarterbacks

Written by Bryan Perez on January 15, 2016

The 2016 Reese’s Senior Bowl week begins on Tuesday, January 26th with the all important weigh-ins and the first of three heavily scrutinized days of practice.  And despite the rush of underclassmen who have made their NFL intentions known over the last few weeks — and potentially more to come over the next three days — my focus remains on the senior class.

I decided to put together a pre-Senior Bowl ‘ranking’ of each positional group based on my film review and research of readily available background information.  It’s impossible for any one evaluator to know everything about every player on the game’s roster — both on and off the field — but it’s critically important to familiarize yourself with each prospect in order to fully appreciate their practice performances.  You can’t determine the risers or fallers if you don’t have a working knowledge of who they are and what (read more…)

Scouting the Senior Bowl: Aaron Burbridge, WR, Michigan State

Written by Bryan Perez on January 4, 2016

Aaron Burbridge had quite the senior season.  He enjoyed a true breakout year, more than tripling his previous career highs in receptions and yards.  Collegiate careers like Burbridge’s are the most dangerous and unpredictable for a scout to evaluate.  It’s almost impossible to determine why a player’s production increases so dramatically from one year to the next.  In some cases, it’s a product of player development and opportunity.  In other scenarios, it’s nothing more than a fluke.

For the 2016 NFL Draft, scouts will have to decide if Burbridge seized the moment this year and displayed his true next-level talent or if he was simply a good college football player who happened to be the No. 1 target for a highly touted quarterback.

The Senior Bowl is a great environment to scout receivers.  There are a lot of one-on-one battles with the top cornerbacks in the country; win in (read more…)

Scouting the Senior Bowl: Tyler Ervin, RB, San Jose State

Written by Bryan Perez on January 3, 2016

Tyler Ervin, the senior running back from San Jose State, is a player who I hadn’t scouted all that closely until his name was added to the list of 2016 Senior Bowl participants.  He’s an interesting addition to the game in large part because I’m curious as to where the coaching staff will line him up during the week of practices.

Ervin is an all-purpose talent, accruing yardage as a runner, receiver and kick returner.  He had an impressive year as a rusher in 2015, totaling 294 carries for 1,601 yards and 13 TDs (5.4 YPC).  It was by far his best year as a running back, as his previous career high was 888 yards rushing in 2014.  He’s proven to be a valuable target in the receiving game with 45 catches for 334 yards and 2 TDs this season alone.  He’s caught 87 passes during his time as (read more…)

Scouting the Senior Bowl: Kenyan Drake, RB, Alabama

Written by Bryan Perez on January 2, 2016

Kenyan Drake is probably best known for the gruesome leg injury he suffered five games into the 2014 season against Ole Miss.  It was about as bad of a broken leg as you’ll see in football, and it created serious doubt as to whether he’d be able to regain the impressive form that he displayed during his freshman and sophomore seasons.

Drake accepted his invitation to the 2016 Senior Bowl after a senior year that answered most of the injury-related questions.  While he wasn’t as explosive or confident of a runner this past season, he’s still an intriguing option at the running back position because of the likelihood that his best football will be played in 2016 and beyond.

Drake finished this past year (excluding Alabama’s National Championship game) with 76 carries for 407 yards and 1 TD.  He averaged 4.8 YPC, which is a far cry from his (read more…)

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