Yesterday I caught up with NFL Draft Scout's Rob Rang, who had just returned from the Senior Bowl. Here are Rang's thoughts about some of the positions and players that looked strong in Mobile, Ala.
Rang's favorites were Kyle Wilson from Boise State and Perrish Cox out of Oklahoma State. Neither are very big. Wilson measured in at 5-10, 190 and Cox at 5-11, 189. But both are aggressive players. "Kyle Wilson in particular has proven to be such a competitor and he relishes covering bigger receivers," Rang said. Both players also are good returners. Rang, however, said he was skeptical about how both play against the run. That's something that'll have to watched in Saturday's game. There was no tackling in the two padded practices this week.
I asked him what he thought of Alabama's Javier Arenas. Rang said Arenas' height will be a notch against him, but he noted that at 195 pounds, Arenas was one of the most solidly built cornerbacks in Mobile. "He's a rock-solid kid. He'd have to play in a zone system He just doesn't have the wheels to play in a man system."
Defensive tackle/nose tackle
Rang said that Terrence Cody, despite his unflattering weigh in, had a strong week. "He does one thing - stuff the run - but he does that really well," Rang said. The question that teams have to ask themselves is how many snaps a game Cody, at 370 pounds, possibly could play. That's the reason he's being pegged at, at best, a late first rounder. Rang also liked Penn State's Jared Odrick (6-5, 301) as someone who would be a nice fit as a 3-4 defensive end.
Tennessee's Dan Williams (6-2, 329) also is a candidate at nose tackle. Another potential nose tackle who was inconsistent was Texas' LaMarr Houston (6-2, 302). "He was Ok Monday, struggled Tuesday and was much better Wednesday," Rang said. The hustle award may have belonged to Cal's Tyson Alualu. At 6-2, 291, he's not massive, but he was handful for blockers all week. "He goes after the ball and does everything it takes to get there," Rang said.
As is typically the case, the top senior talent at the position - Oklahoma State's Russell Okung and Oklahoma's Trent Williams - and another potential first rounder, USC's Charles Brown, opted to not take part in the Senior Bowl. "The guys who were left didn't do so well," Rang said.
Rang confirmed that Idaho guard Mike Iupati had a very good week. He said that Ole Miss guard John Jerry, whose brother, Peria, was a first-round pick last year at defensive tackle, also stood out. John Jerry has been as heavy at 360 pounds and Ole Miss listed him at 350. He weighed in, however, at 332 pounds. "That showed that he was committed," Rang said. "He actually played so well that they moved him to left tackle." Jerry played right tackle at Ole Miss and was a bookend to Michael Oher. "I think he's got a lot of people interested in him," Rang said.
The top name at Senior Bowl practices was Cincinnati's Mardy Gilyard, but he was a disappointment during the week. The best route runner unexpectedly may have been a small-school product, Andre Roberts from the Citadel. Rang also liked Ohio's Taylor Price (6-0, 198), who reminded Rang of Bears rookie Johnny Knox (who was one of the best kick returners in the league this year). "He supposedly is going to run 4.35 and you could see it on the field. He can fly."
-- Matt Barrows