This week we will cover two of the top running backs in the 2019 NFL draft.
Without question, this class lacks the fervor that last year’s top running back prospect Saquon Barkley commanded. I’m also seeing many mock drafts that don’t even have a running back getting drafted day 1.
That being said, the first running back coming off should be Alabama’s Joshua Jacobs.
Listed at 5’10”, 220 pounds, Jacobs is being talked about as one of the most physical of the backs entering the draft. With his ability to line up in the flat and his blocking skills, he instantly becomes the front runner. Despite that, Jacobs did not participate in this years NFL combine, because he was nursing a sore groin.
The Reese’s Senior Bowl has become the premier event to watch college football players, and I was lucky enough to attend this year. As I sit here and reflect on this past weekend, a few names stand out to me.
Those that know me, or who listen to our podcast regularly, know which group I went to first: the quarterbacks, of course. I didn’t get a chance to attend practices due to prior events so I had to play catch-up.
I found my source and started firing away.
I first asked which quarterbacks did teams seem to talk about the most. Surprisingly, it wasn’t the two most talked about among social media: West Virginia’s Will Grier or Missouri’s Drew Lock. I have to say, however, Drew Lock does have that typical pro-style passer physique. At 6’4″, 225 lbs, he stands tall in the pocket.
On a beautiful sunny California day, 197 athletes from all over the nation came to compete and showcase their talents at the Pasadena Rose Bowl. Though their week was filled with rain and mud, that did not stop their drive to make their coaches and teammates proud.
Lead by former head coaches Mike Tice and Chuck Pagano, the NFLPA Bowl would produce a cache of future NFL superstars and expose them to the expertise of veteran players who still have their hand in the game they love.
As I mentioned in the North piece, the two teams practice differently, with the Texans leaning heavier on Special Teams play. This is a good thing because of the 100 guys here, maybe 40 go top three rounds, the rest will need an extra reason to be drafted over the younger guys who left school early because their talents was seen as better.
This mean for guys on the fringe, special teams is their bread and butter, a way in. Even if it’s only the practice squad, it’s a way to get into the NFL and be noticed by coaches.
What stood out today is how much better the wide receivers for the South were over the North. You would think the better group of QBs from the North would help them, but that wasn’t the case today.
The players spent less time on the field giving interviews that on Tuesday, so it was tougher to grab them.
DE Andrew Brown showed off his quickness; he’s a shade under 6’4” so his height could be a concern, however, he has an 82” wingspan. Brown would like to play 3 technique in a 4-3 Defense. He started off playing LT before moving over to defense because he thought that position was boring, he wanted more action. Julius Peppers was his athletic hero.
North went first and as we continued to see, the Broncos and Texans run things differently. The North spent a good amount of time having the linebackers knock the ball out, while the defensive backs focused on stripping the ball and recovering them.
In addition, when the players did stretching, several coaches walked though watching, including Head Coach Vance Joseph. This shows the athletes that coaches care about this, but also lets them know who’s dogging and who’s not.
Some notes on players from the North: Miami’s Braxton Berrios didn’t have a good day while New Mexico State’s Jaleel Scott and especially Boise State’s Cedric Wilson had very good days. I don’t think Wilson dropped the entire practice.
No music or routines are required for this type of audition. There were 109 college seniors who accepted their invitation to the biggest on-field display of talent outside the NFL Combine. Coached by Denver Broncos head coach Vance Joseph and Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien, each athlete participated in drills, developed new skills and tips from NFL coaches and mixed it with their own natural talent to leave it all on the field.
There was no Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen to join the Baker Mayfield hoopla. But there were some quarterbacks who flashed some impressive plays under center, improving their draft stock.
Today was weigh-ins and, as usual, most players were off from their college stats. The Process: players step up on the stage in their shorts are measured, and their stats posted on two very large lit up signs for the couple hundred in attendance to see.
Baker Mayfield missed this part, but late this evening his height came back at 6’03, weight was 216 pounds and hands measured 9-1/2 inches. He was swarmed after practice, so I didn’t attempt to interview him.
Last season, John Elway, Matt Russell and a Denver scout were at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. They signed none of the 100 or so players. This reporter will be heading back to cover the week-long event and am appreciative and excited to represent this great group.
Will that change this time? Denver drafted wide receiver Carlos Henderson four spots before running back Kareem Hunt, a player I tagged in my RB Scout Report. Maybe this time they’ll snatch up one of the several players from last season that did well as rookies, like Hunt, RB Jamaal Williams, center Ethan Pocic and more.
There will be several quarterbacks for Denver to coach; however, quarterbacks Mason Rudolf and Baker Mayfield will not likely be on the South team. QB Luke Falk will be North.
Tight end Troy Fumagalli from Wisconsin should be hitting Vance in the head and say, DRAFT ME. We need a TE who actually arrives without a torn ACL.
If Elway decides to stick with his first pick from 2016, Memphis Wide Receiver, Anthony Miller, would be a no-brainer choice. Those two would have instant chemistry, as they were a dangerous duo in 2015.
Colorado State WR Michael Gallup will no doubt get extra consideration as the home guy.
Right now, the running back slate is thin but could change.