All-Star Games | Draft Breakdown Archive - Part 5

All-Star Games

Scouting the Senior Bowl: Kenneth Dixon, RB, LA Tech

Written by Bryan Perez on December 31, 2015

Running back is one of my favorite positions to scout.  Maybe it’s because I grew up during the golden era of the running game, watching the likes of Barry Sanders (Lions) and Emmitt Smith (Cowboys).  The NFL was still a quarterback-driven league back then, but the value (non-monetary) of the every-down back was at an all-time high.

But as much as I love watching and evaluating the position, it still presents some of the most unique challenges when projecting a player’s likely success in the NFL.  Yes, running backs can make the most immediate impact as rookies, but they can also wash out of the league if they are sub-par pass protectors, have ball security issues, or simply lack the athleticism to make the jump from productive collegiate back to capable NFL starter.

Despite the many variables that ultimately impact a running back’s pro career, the challenge to uncover the (read more…)

Scouting the Senior Bowl: Jeff Driskel, QB, La Tech

Written by Bryan Perez on December 29, 2015

Jeff Driskel has experienced one of the more interesting journeys to the Senior Bowl.  Once considered an elite quarterback recruit and the future of the position for the Florida Gators, Driskel’s time in Gainesville was defined by unmet expectations and inconsistent play.  A season-ending leg fracture in 2013 was a large factor in what went wrong for him, as he started 11 games as a sophomore for the Gators.  He came back in 2014 to start only 6 games and eventually decided to transfer for his final season of eligibility.  He chose Louisiana Tech, a decision that has salvaged his draft stock.

Prior to La Tech, Driskel looked like an average (at best) collegiate quarterback.  He totaled 3,411 yards, 23 TDs and 20 INTs between the 2012 to 2014 seasons with 20 total starts.  In 2012, he ran for more than 400 yards and 4 TDs which was consistent (read more…)

Scouting the Senior Bowl: Dak Prescott, QB, Mississppi State

Written by Bryan Perez on December 28, 2015

Dak Prescott started his senior season as a player with a lot to prove.  His value for the NFL Draft was a true unknown, as many analysts began the year assuming that Prescott would become the next athletic quarterback likely to be forced into a position change to maximize his NFL opportunities.

The trending narrative around Prescott seems to be that he’s done enough during his 2015 campaign to be evaluated as a true quarterback prospect.  He finished his career at Mississippi State owning 38 school records, including: total TDs (107); pass attempts (1,085); completions (678); completion percentage (63%); passing TDs (64); passing yards (8,742); rushing yards by a quarterback (2,411); and 100 yard rushing games by a quarterback (9).  Needless to say, he was Mississippi State football during his tenure ‘under’ center.

In terms of his 2015 season as a quarterback, he threw for 3,313 yards, 25 (read more…)

Scouting the Senior Bowl: Jacoby Brissett, QB, NC State

Written by Bryan Perez on December 24, 2015

The 2016 Reese’s Senior Bowl has been announcing the names of accepted prospect invites over the last several weeks.  It’s an exciting time for NFL Draft media, as we can finally start preparing for who we are likely to scout for the week in Mobile, Alabama.

One of the notable differences between this year’s game and last year’s  — on paper, at least– is the list of quarterbacks who have agreed to participate.  Last year’s crop was woefully bad.  It looks like this year’s will be fun to watch.

I’ve already touched on one of those quarterbacks, Cody Kessler, here.  This piece will focus on the senior passer from NC State.

Jacoby Brissett was one of the more exciting quarterbacks that I studied during the summer months leading up to the 2015 season.  He met my expectations this year, although he didn’t take that massive jump into first-round consideration.

(read more…)

Scouting the Senior Bowl: Cody Kessler, QB, USC

Written by Bryan Perez on December 22, 2015

Cody Kessler, the redshirt senior quarterback from the University of Southern California, has been selected to participate in the 2016 Reese’s Senior Bowl.  He’s making the right choice by participating in the game, as his stock as a NFL Draft prospect is far from set.  One thing’s for sure:  He needs to have an overwhelmingly good week in order to enter the “Day 2″  discussion.

Kessler enjoyed a productive final season as a Trojan throwing for 3,315 yards and 28 TDs (with 6 INTs).  He completed over 67% of his passes and added four TDs on the ground.  For his career, Kessler surpassed 10,000 yards passing with 87 TDs.  He had a better year in 2014 when he set school records for completion percentage (69.7%) and completions while tying the school record for TD passes (39).  His accolades include Pac-12 honorable mention after the 2013, 2014 and 2015 seasons.

Physically, Kessler barely (read more…)

East-West Shrine Game announces early acceptances

Written by Bryan Perez on November 4, 2015

The annual East West Shrine Game announced its first batch of player acceptances on their website recently, which included Washington State offensive linemen Joe Dahl.  Dahl is being featured here on Draft Breakdown for the 2016 NFL Draft; we’ll be chronicling his journey from prospect to professional.

You can find the complete list of the Shrine Game’s roster here.

Bryan Perez’s 2015 Senior Bowl Recap: SOUTH practice, Day Three

Written by Bryan Perez on January 22, 2015

My focus during the South team’s afternoon session was again on the wide receivers and cornerbacks, and I was excited to take a long look at this group because it contained some of the week’s biggest “buzz” players.

Before getting into my notes, I wanted to give kudos to the Jaguars coaching staff.  They brought “the juice” this afternoon, making the experience fun and exciting for the players.  There was a noticeable difference in intensity level from the morning session, and the players were clearly competing harder.  Tight ends were “gronk-ing” the ball in the end zone after a score, secondary players were celebrating pass breakups, and the screams and hollers after a big hit echoed through the stands.  It was really fun to watch.


One of the week’s highest-profile players was Sammie Coates, the “looks the part” receiver from Auburn.  I watched Coates closely during the early portion (read more…)

Bryan Perez’s 2015 Senior Bowl Recap: NORTH practice, Day Three

Written by Bryan Perez on January 22, 2015

The final day of practices for the 2015 Senior Bowl provided one last chance for the crop of participating seniors to make an impression on the scouts and coaches in attendance.  A few players did just that today.

Today’s focus was on the wide receivers and cornerbacks.  I felt bad for this year’s crop of pass catchers, as the quarterback play has been downright atrocious.  In fact, none of the quarterbacks on either roster played like a draftable prospect.  The lone exception might be Bryce Petty (Baylor), but it’s only because he was able to sporadically spin an NFL throw.  Players like Shane Carden (ECU), Sean Manion (Oregon State), Blake Sims(Alabama), and Bryan Bennett (Southeast LA) failed to display any traits that suggested a rush to sign them after Mr. Irrelevant is announced.  They could (read more…)

Bryan Perez’s 2015 Senior Bowl Recap: SOUTH practice, Day Two

Written by Bryan Perez on January 21, 2015

As I mentioned in my piece about today’s North practice, the weather continued to be perfect for the South team’s afternoon practice session.  The weather cooled down nicely about halfway through, as the condition’s were darn near ‘perfect.’

Also consistent with my approach toward the North team, I focused my attention on the South’s linebackers and running backs.  The results were underwhelming, with a few exceptions.  It should be noted that Denzel Perryman(Miami) sat out of practice with a hamstring injury.  His absence was obvious.

The standout in the running back group for me was Jalston Fowler (Alabama).  It started with special teams drills (kick coverage) where Fowler displayed better than expected straight-line speed when running downfield.  He was among the first coverage guys to the ball and added to his already increasing value.  He displayed (read more…)

Bryan Perez’s 2015 Senior Bowl Recap: NORTH Practice, Day Two

Written by Bryan Perez on January 21, 2015

The second day of practices at the 2015 Senior Bowl are in the books.  It was a perfect day in Mobile, as the players and coaches were able to go to work under a clear blue sky.  The biggest “winner” this week might just be the weather.

Today was an important day for a lot of players, as the second practice tends to pivot their stock in one direction or the other.  Traditionally, guys who have a good first day can use the second practice to build on the positive momentum, whereas guys who struggled on day one have an opportunity to wipe the slate clean.

I decided to focus most of my attention on the running backs and linebackers for both squads, with a wandering eye back to the linemen who I spent a lot of my time on yesterday.  Tomorrow will be dedicated to the wide receivers and (read more…)

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