I did not attend the Senior Bowl this year despite the fact the Dolphins are coaching the South team because, well, the game is in Mobile, Alabama and I've been there and done that. Given the choice of being in Miami or Mobile in January my choice is an easy one.
But that doesn't mean you won't get the insight from the event you have come to expect on this blog -- which I suppose is the reason you are here. So I today introduce you to Chris Cordero.
Cordero, 27, is from Miami and is working to break into professional scouting. He trained under Marc Trestman, Russ Lande, John Wooten and Aaron Schatz. He's attended the Indy Combine the past two years and expects to do so again this year. This is his first Senior Bowl. What you are about to read are not complete Cordero scouting reports. He sent me one and my eyes were bleeding by the time I finished reading it, it was so detailed. The quick takes below are strictly reader-friendly versions of his expertise. Any NFL team interested in talking to Chris should e-mail me and I'll discretely hook you up with this up-and-comer.
For the next few days Cordero will scout the players at the Senior Bowl at positions of interest to the Dolphins. Cordero starts with a look at wide receivers and tight ends because he knows I really want the Dolphins to actually be able to pass the ball in 2010.
The Dolphins are loaded with small, possession receivers. The type of receiver the Dolphins need are generally not found at the Senior Bowl - as they are usually underclassmen (i.e.. Dez Bryant, Arrelious Benn, and Demaryious Thomas). Two of the top senior prospects, LSU's Brandon LaFell and Texas's Jordan Shipley are not participating in the game either.
Here are my rankings for the Senior Bowl receivers:
1. Andre Roberts - 5-11, 194lbs - The Citadel.
Career numbers: 286 receptions, 3,743 yards, 36 touchdowns
-Catches EVERYTHING thrown in his direction (even from Tim Tebow).
-Quick feet and hands allow him to get separation.
-Has very good speed and got work as a returner.
-Runs great routes and put some nice double moves on possible first-round CB Patrick Robinson.
-Fearless over the middle, got laid out by Taylor Mays and got right back up.
-Undersized; although has a solid build for his size and decent strength.
-Can get jammed at the line - Javier Arenas jammed him a few times.
Someone is going to get great value in the 3rd or 4th round with this guy - if he runs well at the combine - he could be a second rounder. Sadly, he is not 2 inches taller or he would be a first round lock. Dolphins have similar receivers on the roster already; but he could be really good. Showed he could play with top competition here at the Senior Bowl practices.
2. Taylor Price - 6-0, 198lbs - Ohio.
Career numbers: 149 receptions, 2,019 yards, 14 touchdowns.
-Has good measurables (height, weight) very "put together" and appears to have good speed.
-Runs decent routes and is quick in and out of breaks.
-Good body control - made a beautiful adjustment in the air for a catch on a bad throw by Tony Pike against hard hitting LSU S Harry Coleman.
-Goes up for the ball and catches it at it's highest point.
-Can get open deep and creates separation from the DB with his strength; ran by Saints 1st Round Pick Malcolm Jenkins in college.
-Hands are a little inconsistent as he will make the highlight catch but drop the easy one.
-Rounds off routes sometimes; which allows DBs to break on the ball.
The buzz was that he was moving up draft boards and is at worst a fourth round pick - but could fit into the third. Rookie receivers don't always make an impact right away but this guy could be an exception - much like this year's rookie crop; including the Dolphins own Brian Hartline.
3. Mardy Gilyard - 6-0 179lbs - Cincinnati.
Career numbers: 204 receptions, 3,003 yards, 25 touchdowns.
-Smooth and runs good routes.
-Quick feet allow him to get off the line and beat the jam.
-Gets good separation from defenders using his quickness.
-Faster than most; but also very quick,
-Could be a great returner (and won't always run out of bounds...).
-Very light and has ankle injury history.
-Inconsistent catching the ball; will drop the easy one and needs to concentrate more.
-Needs to develop strength in order to go over the middle and go up for the ball in traffic.
Most have him pegged as a second rounder; I see his value in the third. If he can add some bulk and strength and keep his quickness, he could develop into a very good NFL receiver as long as his focus is there.
HONORABLE MENTION: Two players who aren't really wide receivers but practiced there really stood out. Dorin Dickerson out of Pittsburgh was one of the most impressive players on either team. Has great speed, leaping ability and caught just about everything thrown his way. His strength allowed him to shield defenders from the ball and make the tough catch. A smart offensive coordinator will find a way to use him (he played mostly Tight End and Fullback at Pittsburgh) and he might even be drafted as a WR by draft day. Dexter McCluster out of Mississippi was also very impressive - even running the Wildcat under the Dolphins staff. He was the most explosive, quick, fast player on either team. Think of Darren Sproles but a better receiver and tough between the tackles. His 165-pound size is his only drawback. Riley Cooper and Shay Hodge (who didn't practice and was limping Thursday) were the only other receivers who relatively stood out. Donald Jones from Youngstown State, who I only saw practice Thursday was pretty impressive but that was only in helmets and shoulder pads.
Granted this is not one of the Dolphins greatest needs but if WR is a "must have" this could fall under the "need" umbrella. Anthony Fasano struggled much of the year after two fumbles in the opener. Despite picking it up a little late, there is no guarantee he will revert to his 2008 form. The top senior tight end, Jermaine Gresham of Oklahoma, did not participate as he is still rehabbing right knee surgery; and top junior Aaron Hernandez from Florida is not eligible.
1. Ed Dickson - 6-4, 244lbs - Oregon
Career numbers: 124 receptions, 1,557 yards, 12 touchdowns
-Big target with the ability to separate from defenders; would have had three TDs during one of the practices.
-Good hands and catches most everything thrown to him away from his body - even in traffic; strong hands.
-Good athlete with good speed and decent leaping ability.
-Shows good blocking technique and tries in this area.
-Undersized with a lack of bulk; which hurts him as a blocker.
-Could use work on route running.
Would be a good value in the fourth round - but will probably go in the third. Is essentially a pumped up wide receiver (similar to Kory Sperry) but is a good overall prospect.
2. Anthony McCoy - 6-5, 249lbs - Southern Cal
Career numbers: 46 receptions, 731 yards, 3 touchdowns
-Looks the part with long arms and a solid build.
-Good speed to stretch the middle of the field.
-Looked good as a blocker at the practices; has very good strength; and put Eric Norwood on the ground once.
-Can make the highlight reel catch with his size, leaping ability, and strength and will fight for ball in traffic.
-Drops some easy passes.
-Very inconsistent in college; labeled an underachiever and didn't have great production (although that might be due to supporting cast).
Will probably come off the board in the second round - too high for the Dolphins to take him there. Looks like he will be a better pro than college player as he has all the tools to succeed and was very eager to learn from coach George DeLeone.
3. Jimmy Graham - 6-6, 259lbs - Miami
Career numbers: 17 receptions, 213 yards, 5 touchdowns
-Great athlete as evidenced by career playing hoops - tremendous leaping ability and good speed.
-Uses body well and would be a beast in the red zone.
-Can split the seam and is fluid in his routes for someone with so little experience.
-Can make the difficult catch.
-Has good natural strength and long arms.
-Wants to learn and seeks out coaching.
-Inconsistent; will lose concentration and drop some easy passes (Virginia Tech game this past year and in the practices).
-His size can be a detriment in the run-blocking game as smaller defenders can use leverage and push him back.
-Still needs work on his routes.
If he would have played football instead of basketball; or even if he would have had one more year of college football - would have been a first round lock. Someone will take a flyer on him in the 3rd round - call me a homer but I hope it's the Dolphins - due to his upside, and his potential is almost limitless if he wants it bad enough (he turned down a six figure basketball contract; so he must want it).
HONORABLE MENTION: The other tight ends at the practices were also pretty good. Mike Hoomanawanui (say that 3 times fast) out of Illinois has good hands and is a strong blocker, but lacks speed and athleticism. Garrett Graham out of Wisconsin, who owned the University of Miami in the Champs Sports Bowl, is slightly undersized but has great hands and a feel for finding seams in the zone and getting open. Colin Peek from Alabama got sick - but looks the part and catches and blocks well.
Tomorrow: NT and FS.