Im slowly starting to recover from the crippling agony of the Ravens AFC championship defeat(which i firmly believe is the worst loss ive ever experienced outside of the Bills first superbowl) and im starting to transition into draft mode, what better way to ease my pain than to watch as much practice footage from the senior bowl as humanly possible(or at least as much as NFL network will show me). here is a position by position breakdown of what i saw.
I wrote a few weeks ago that i thought the Raves would be wise to use a mid round pick on a QB if one fell into their laps. well let me tell you definitivley, one is going to fall in their laps at some point in rounds 4 or 5. the QBs had a horrible week as a whole and really struggled to find holes in their defenses. each of them showed a spark or two of potential but they all had a ton of Red Flags. Brandon Weeden(Okla St.) had a stellar week and he is probably the only QB who actually helped himself by playing this week, his arm strength was better than expected and he was the only player at the senior bowl who didnt look flustered by the defenses. Kellen Moore(Boise St.) probably had the worst week, he came in with questions about his size and arm strength and those questions became major red flags. he weighed in even smaller than he was thought to be (5′ 9″ 175 lbs) and his passes floated on him all week, he threw some nice deep balls but i got the feeling that if had thrown those balls against live defenses(rather than in 7-on-7s) that they probably would have been INTs. Nick Foles(Arizona) and Russell Wilson(Wisc) were solid but neither was spectacular and they both made many silly mistakes, if they have great games it could erase their poor practices. Kirk Cousins(Mich. St.) was probably second best behind Weeden(maybe second least bad is a better way to say it), he made few mistakes but really struggled to find open WRs and couldnt put the zip on his passes that you would have liked to have seen. all in all the Senior QBs had a terrible week and they may all slide in the draft, it helps the Ravens if they want to draft one in a middle round, but it hurts them in the first round as there may only be 2(luck and Griffen) taken in the first round, when lots of QBs go early, better talent at other positions slides down and makes it easier for the Ravens(Jimmy Smith lasted so long because 5 QBs were taken in the top 15 last year).
The WRs were kind of difficult to evaluate due to the poor play of the QBs in attendance but there were certainly a few guys who really helped and hurt themselves. Jauron Criner(Arizona) was the top WR by a pretty wide margin, he showed good speed, excellent hands(if he dropped a single pass, i didnt see it), he routinely showed the instinct to come back to the ball when his QB was in trouble, Criner may have found his way into the first round if he plays well during the game and runs a solid 40 time, he is at worst an early third rounder. Marvin Mcnutt(Iowa) had a good week, he came in as a likely 4th-5th round pick and i think he may end up sneaking into the second round with a good combine and a team that likes his character(he has a Torrey Smith-esque background). Im Not quite sure where to put chris Rainey(Florida) as he came in as a RB and played mostly WR during the week, he sis small and shifty and lightning fast, he may be the biggest riser at the senior bowl, he reminds me of Darren Sproles but much faster, he is an impressive prospect and he has had a stellar week, i would be surprised if he made it out of the second round as long as he doesnt bomb at the combine. Jeff Fuller had maybe the worst week of any player aside from Kellen Moore, he struggled to get separation, dropped passes and couldnt read the defense(and they can only play cover 1 or cover 2) he fell from a 5th-7th round grade to maybe being out of the draft all together, if he gets drafted it will be for special teams potential and nothing else.Brian Quick(Appalachian St.) is a guy to keep an eye on, he hasn’t played against good competition but he has elite size(6’2” but he has a 81.5” wingspan(Calvin Johnson has an 82” wingspan) and speed(reported(unofficial) 4.45 40 time). He wont(and shouldn’t) be an early round pick but he would be a nice grab in round 3 or 4.
I feel like I need to mention Chris Rainey(Florida) here again, he was that impressive. When he did play at RB(which granted wasn’t often) he excelled there as well, he was an impressive blocker despite his small stature and really showed a good instinct for timing plays. It wasn’t an incredibly impressive week for RBs, part of that is because the Senior bowl Is set up to favor the QBs and another part is that teams don’t really want to see the RBs as much. Aside from Rainey there really isn’t anything noteworthy to mention.
It was a rough week for centers at the combine, not because they struggled to play but more because they struggled with injuries. In fact the North team was forced to move Kevin Zeitler(OG, Wisc., ill talk more about him later) to center for 2 days while they waited on a player they hadn’t originally invited to show up because all of the other Cs were injured. There wasn’t much to mention here either because the top 2 centers in the senior bowl were both injured by the end of the first day if practice.
The Guards at the Senior bowl had a pretty strong week, Kevin Zeitler was an absolute stud. He was a complete mauler at G and half way through the week when he was forced to move to C, he was a stud there as well. He struggled during his first practice to transition to the responsibilities of a center but after that he was a beast, Zeitler really raised his draft stock, I mentioned a few weeks ago that the Ravens could maybe grab him at the end of the third round, now they might be lucky to get him in the second. Cordy Glenn was very impressive as well, Courtney Upshaw(OLB, Bama) said that Glenn was the most physically dominating interior player he had played against. Glenn may have raised his stock into the top 20, more than likely he is just out of reach for the Ravens. Amini Silatolu is a small school guy to keep an eye on, he had a good week and is quickly rising up the boards and could sneak into the second round.
Cordy Glenn needs to be mentioned here again, he played both tackle and guard and was probably the best player all week at both positions. Mike Adams(Ohio St.) had a great week as well and has risen back up into the first round after falling out of favor a few weeks ago.
How this affects the draft
I Still believe that the Ravens best bet will likely be to trade down into the first 10 picks of round 2. They only have 6 draft picks right now(though they will likely receive at least 1 compensatory pick for the departure of Landry or McClain last season). This draft is incredibly deep but not incredibly talented at the top. There are a few players(realistically) worth taking in round 1 if they fall to the Ravens(Vontaze Burfict, Alshon Jeffery, Zach Brown, Cordy Glenn, David Decastro) but other than those guys I think the Ravens would be better off trading down. With guys like Kevin Zeitler, Brian Quick, and Mike Adams likely going in the second round, that is the place to be. As it is the Ravens only have 1 pick(number 29) in that round, that is far to late to get any of these great offensive lineman(which I believe should be their top priority since Ben Grubbs is almost certainly leaving in FA). I also think the Ravens should take a strong look at this years second round WRs, there is some serious talent in there.