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Scout looks at FS and NT at the Senior Bowl

This is Day Two of player Scouting Reports from the Senior Bowl.

Chris Cordero of Miami drove 11 hours from South Florida to Mobile, Alabama to see the North and South teams practice and be able to report back to you his take on the talent. Cordero, 27, is an aspiring professional scout who trained under talented personnel men.Any NFL team interested in seeing Cordero's complete work can e-mail me and I will discretely put you in contact with him. 

This is Cordero's abbreviated look at the nose tackle and free safety positions -- two more positions of need for the Dolphins.

After the signing of Gibril Wilson and the resigning of Yeremiah Bell - the Dolphins must have believed they were set at the position for the near future. I must politely disagree. While Bell is a Pro Bowl player and should still have 1 or 2 good years left, Wilson struggled - particularly in coverage - which is a free safety's biggest responsibility in most defenses. While Chris Clemons might yet turn out to be the answer and Tyrone Culver probably deserves more of an opportunity, this position could use an upgrade as Wilson should not be expected back especially in an uncapped year. The top players at this position are underclassmen (Eric Berry, Earl Thomas - who I think is going to be great, Morgan Burnett, Chad Jones, Major Wright). Most of the Safety prospects in the Senior Bowl look to be more of the In-The-Box, Strong Safety variety - but there where a few guys who stood out to me.
1. Nate Allen - 6-1, 205lbs - South Florida
Career numbers: 216 tackles, 1 sack, 2 fumbles forced, 10 interceptions, 1 touchdown
-Ideal build for a free safety with more than adequate speed for the deep secondary.
-Fluid in his movement; accelerates out of his breaks; plants and drives out of his backpedal cleanly.
-Is able to read routes and the QB; making him an ideal centerfielder in the secondary.
-Is not a big hitter; but will support the run and is a solid, wrap-up tackler.
-Leader in the secondary, gets everyone lined up and makes the coverage calls
-Could struggle when asked to man-up a receiver; but his skill set will allow him to get by from time-to-time; although very fast receivers (i.e. a DeSean Jackson) would eat him up.
-Might have reached his physical limits (weight, height, speed) and does not have the upside of some of the underclassmen.
Overall Analysis:
A player that I really like and would be a good fit in the 2nd Round for the Dolphins. Sometimes when a player doesn't stand out with big plays or big hits, he tends to get looked over - and that could happen with this guy. He could be a solid free safety for a very long time in this league thanks to his smarts and abilities.
2. Myron Rolle - 6-1, 217lbs - Florida State / Oxford University in England
Career numbers at FSU: 207 tackles, 1 fumble forced, 1 interception
-A genius outside of football; he has a great mind for the game as well - rarely out of position and is always asking the coaches questions; won't make the same mistake twice.
-Stays low, with good technique, in his backpedal and drives to the ball when it is in the air.
-Good size for the position; not afraid to hit, and is a secure tackler (not always looking for the big hit - but he can bring it).
-When in coverage - did a nice job of using his body to keep the receiver near the sideline a few times.
-Has good range despite a lack of speed due to his route reading ability.
-Lacks top end speed which could force him to be more of a Strong Safety.
-Didn't show up in the practices - but a year away from the game could hurt him.
-Had some trouble flipping his hips and turning and running with the WR.
-Doesn't have great hands to make INTs.
Overall Analysis:
Here is Rolle in a nutshell - on one play, he got beat on a double move (I think by Shay Hodge from Mississippi - who was one of the better receivers here) a couple of plays later - Jeremy Williams of Tulane tried the same move and Rolle recognized and broke on the ball; disallowing the completion. I can't say for certain that he can be a free safety in the NFL due to his weaknesses, but failure is not an option for this guy and I wouldn't bet against him. If he runs well at the Combine he'll be a solid 2nd Round pick and would be a steal in the 3rd. You can't teach a lot of the things that he has.
3. Taylor Mays - 6-3, 231lbs - Southern Cal
Career numbers: 268 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 5 interceptions
-Physically - he has no faults; speed, size, leaping ability, he has all those tools.
-Aggressive hitter - brings the wood and will clean some clocks if you dare go in his zone.
-Has decent hands when actually going for the ball and plucks it at it's highest point.
-Will be a beast in run support - as he was at USC and is very good between the numbers on the field.
-Can jam the receiver with good hand usage and upper body strength at the line of scrimmage.
-Seems to want to learn and reports say he studies the lots of film.
-Coverage skills are extremely lacking - stiff in the hips; trouble backpedaling; doesn't plant and drive to the ball; gets too high out of his backpedal; slow in reverse - got beat constantly with double moves.
-Has little range - if the play isn't going on around him - will be late to react.
-Gave up a lot of underneath receptions during practice that occurred right in front of him.
Overall Analysis:
 I almost put Terrell Skinner out of Maryland in this spot. Mays will be a 1st Round Pick (Al Davis in Oakland loves this type of guy and maybe his college coach Pete Carroll in Seattle will take him) and if he gets past those two teams; some team in the 20's will take him because his potential is just too great. As an athletic specimen - he has no peers. I don't see him making it as a FS and could see him ending up like Thomas Davis of Carolina - a college safety out of Georgia who was a physical specimen but ended up at OLB. Doesn't fit the Dolphins unless they are looking to groom Yeremiah's replacement.
HONORABLE MENTION: The above mentioned Terrell Skinner out of Maryland was the only other FS of note. He is a converted receiver still learning the position - but has great size and is a big hitter. He needs work on his technique - but could be a good value in the late rounds. Kurt Coleman of Ohio State and Kyle McCarthy of Notre Dame were thoroughly unimpressive; Harry Coleman of LSU - who played OLB this year in college - looked like a good in-the-box strong safety. Larry Asante of Nebraska also looked very good and got better as the week went on - but again is more of a Strong Safety, but has good range for the position. Another player I would like to mention is Chris Cook, a big Cornerback out of Virginia, he reminds me some of the Dolphins own Sean Smith and would seem to have the tools to play the free safety spot.
After Jason Ferguson went down - so did the Dolphins run defense. Paul Soliai had his moments - but would be better off in a rotation; although he is so big and young enough that he can improve. This is a vital position for the 3-4 defense; and such a tough one to get a read on as not too many colleges run a 3-4. A nose tackle in most 3-4 defenses is usually responsible for occupying blockers and allowing the LBs to make the plays; although there are exceptions (Jay Ratliff, a Parcells pick, out of Dallas made an extraordinary number of plays for a NT last year). You generally don't see them go too high in the draft as they have to learn the position and are drafted later in the draft and developed - like Jason Ferguson and Ratliff. Here are some names not at this game to remember - Brian Price from UCLA (Underclassman - likely 1st Rounder); Torrell Troup from UCF; Vince Oghobaase from Duke; Linval Joseph from East Carolina (Underclassman); Al Woods from LSU; Jay Ross from East Carolina; Martin Tevaseu from UNLV, and Kade Weston from Georgia (there are a few more names - but I don't want to concentrate on players not at the game). These are only the players I feel can play NT - so stud DT Jared Odrick from Penn State won't be ranked (although he would be a GREAT 3-4 DE - but that position seems set with Phillip Merling, Randy Starks, and Kendall Langford).
1. Dan Williams - 6-2, 329lbs - Tennessee
Career numbers: 153 tackles, 6 sacks
-Very strong, stout, huge lower body - looks fire hydrant-ish (for lack of better terminology - is that even a word?).
-Fires off the ball, low and hard and gets underneath the Offensive Lineman's pads to push back.
-Is able to draw and hold a double team - allowing his teammates to make the play (telling sign of a good NT).
-Has long arms allowing him to keep linemen off his frame.
-Is a good tackler to boot.
-Only pass-rush move is a bullrush; which worked in college-but won't work consistently in the pros.
-Could use his hands better - some of the interior linemen, like John Jerry, were able to jam him up.
Overall Analysis:
A 1st Rounder - but not the 12th pick. If the Dolphins decide the player that they want is not available at #12, they could trade back to the late teens or early 20s and take this guy. Watching him up close most of his weight is in his lower body - with extremely thick legs which means a strong base. I didn't see him on the ground much and that is a testament to that base. I DID see him bury Southern Cal Interior Lineman Jeff Byers once and his strength is evident. Has few visible weaknesses.
2. Cam Thomas - 6-4, 331lbs - North Carolina
Career Numbers: 83 tackles, 3 sacks
-Massive - but carries it well - doesn't look fat (unlike SOMEONE that I will mention next) and carries his weight exceptionally well - could possibly put even more weight/strength on and still look this way.
-Vocal leader - rallied the DLineman and was always hooting and hollering (I'm in Alabama so I can say that); watching him and Sean Weatherspoon of Missouri (who I have as a possible top ILB for the Fins) jabbering was one of the joys of the week.
-Very strong - pushes blockers into the backfield.
-Has good hand usage and is active and aggressive with them.
-Draws double teams and reestablishes the line of scrimmage with his strength.
-Looked athletic in drills for a man of his size.
-Lack of pass rush moves (a common theme amongst this position).
-Needs work on his pad level as it is inconsistent - this could be due to his getting too upright after the snap due to his height.
Overall Analysis:
If he is available in the 4th Round (or if the Dolphins can pick a 5th Rounder somehow and he is there) - they should jump on this guy without hesitation. I feel after this week he could have possibly moved into the 3rd Round range though. Didn't have many weaknesses that I saw and his attitude and loud mouth are a plus in my book (someone has to replace Joey Porter right?). Could be in the league 10 years as a run-stopping NT much like Jason Ferguson.
3. Terrence "Mount" Cody - 6-4, 370lbs - Alabama
Career numbers: 51 tackles, 1 forced fumble
-As his nickname attest - a huge human being - I got a chance to stand next to him and it was impressive how big he is.
-Natural strength; is immovable when he wants to be.
-Demands a double team - as he will throw a single blocker off him like a fly for the most part (John Jerry was among the only OLinemen that stood his ground versus this guy).
-Plays are very rarely run at him so that would make it seem like he doesn't make many plays - but his presence allows his teammates to make plays.
-Imposes his will, stands his ground, and will push blockers into the backfield.
-I'm sure everyone saw the picture on Mando's previous blog......
-Stamina is an issue.
-Inconsistent effort - maturity could be an issue as I saw him goofing off a lot during drills.
-Needs to stay low coming off the snap.
-Lacks pass rush moves; although he had a nice swim move that I saw him make.
-Was shut down by the aforementioned Jeff Byers at one point.
-Was on the ground more often than I expected; which causes concern about his lower-body strength.
Overall Analysis:
If you are going to draft this guy it is knowing that he will strictly play 2 downs (or on short yardage situations) and that you have to monitor his weight and get him on a strict training regimen and diet. I don't see him as a 1st Rounder - but if the Dolphins are as impressed by him as they seemed to be (DLine Coach Kacy Rodgers was always with him and Sparano made it a point to check him out more than a couple times every practice) then maybe trading back from our 2nd round pick to a later one and picking up some extra picks would be a good spot for him. I think he could be the ideal NT - but at the same time he could be out of the league in 3 years.
HONORABLE MENTION: Jeff Owens from Georgia spent a lot of time with Dan Williams and Terrence Cody with Coach Kacy Rodgers working on technique to break the double team. He is very short and looks like a mini version of Cody - so his conditioning would need work; but he is quite strong. None of the other DTs looked to be able to play the Nose; but again a lot of these players are developed. The most impressive Defensive Tackles were Jared Odrick of Penn State - who as mentioned would be a stud 3-4 DE and should be a 1st Rounder; Geno Atkins from Georgia - who at one point got some work with Mike Nolan and some of the DEs on OLB work - he is very quick and has good pass rush moves. None of the other DTs really stood out.
Tomorrow: Look for ILB and OLB reports following the game. There are some very good 3-4 OLB prospects in the game - so keep an eye out for that.


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why does everyone hate NJ? i have only been following the blog for a few weeks and just recently started posting but from everything i can tell he knows what he is talking about most of the time and just likes to have fun with you all. Very amusing how upset everyone gets over this blog. i do believe thats why i chose to read.

The Menace will be blogging during the senior bowl, who else will be here???? R.S.V.P

Posted by: cuban menace | January 30, 2010 at 07:39 AM

Now NJ will be holding a live blog, two biggest egos around. dying breed is next

WOOOOOOOOW!!!!. I just gone done watching/reading comedy central from last night. I'm glad i was the life of the party , even though i missed the damn thing because of some tragic circumstances. At first i got P'Od but as it went on , i was on the floor in laughing in tears. I've been on this blog for a couple of years and have seen some funny and crazed out Sh*T before , but i have to admit , that was some of the funniest stuff i have ever read . LMFAO !!!

Great report. Not a lot of surprises vs my personal expectations and assessments of players.

One guy I want to hear some more about that isn't at the combine is NT prospect Jay Ross. May be someone who goes about the same draft round as Cam Thomas but up to this point I just don't have a good feel as to what he exactly is.

NJ, interesting that you project Dan Williams to be more of a 4-3 DT vs a NT considering to me he looks and plays exactly liek Casey Hampton. Going to have to disagree with you there.

Also re: Earl Thomas - agreed that he should be on the Dolphins radar and have gone on the record many times as being the #3 draft option for them. A four round draft of Thomas, Witherspoon, Eric Norwood, and Cam Thomas sounds just about right. It's nice to dream, right?

Personally, I think Witherspoon was one of the biggest winners this week in practice to the point that I don't care if McClain is drafted and teh Dolphins end up with Witherspoon. Better than Brandon Spikes if you ask me.

NJ you are always the life of the party. Even last night you were a hit. I still do not know who the He|| I was talking to.

Sorry typo - not combine re: jay Ross - meant Senior Bowl practice.

Getting ahead of myself I guess!!!

I have no response or want to stoop to the level of that low IQ nutjob and don't want to waste my or another dolphins fan time on this good blog and topic. Especially with the senior bowl today. But kris , whoever the " F " you are , if your out there i have a word or two for you. maybe you're more reasonable than that BUFFOON !!! I'll be back for the game.

New blog up

Mark , said dan williams will make a better dt than nt a position he's never played before. I'm sorry but williams in no way shape of form does he remind of casey hampton. Hampton is raw power and a rock anchor . Williams is more of a side line to side line player instead of a anchor holding his ground right now. Williams can chase down RB and QB's from sideline to sideline like nobody i've seen in a long time. That's better for dt in the 4-3. I'm not saying he can't learn the NT but right now . he's better DT in te 4-3.

Obviously, it's easy to say that he's better in the 4-3 as DT becuase that's all he's played. But his lower body shape and power do indeed remind me of Hampton. He might be more athletic right now and be able to do more things finesse wise but as he matures and gets stronger you will see more similarities arise.

And as a Dolphin fan, my main concern is whether these guys can only help my team. He definitely can be a monster NT - he has all the skills. No doubt!!!

Mark...non-football topic...I'm not a finance guy at all and was like 'whhhaaaaa?' when you were talking about the market correcting to 10000 as it went up to 10700..then TANK. LOL. Kudos, man. While not yet there the drop was impressive. And NJ..You sound like Armando there for a second with the classic line "As I said earlier...and I was correct" lol. We can't handle to Mandos

drsamii, the correction was inevitable and probably long overdue. Hopefully it bounces off 10,000 or thereabouts! :)))

Mando, instead of giving his resume to a football team how about giving it to your boss. This blog could use a little more meat and less filler.

Chris Cordero

Thanks and your right teams like the Raiders and maybe a Seahawks team might fall in love with Mays' measurables and be taken higher than projected. I disagree with you that Odrich from Penn State cann play the Nt or the DE and is very similar to Jay Ratlif of Dallas, good punch and long arms and can shew and grab the running back as they run thru the hole.
Dont sleep on Kurt Coleman he is a good one, though he shwoed little in practice he can still play. I also agree with you on Myron Rolle and the year away from football may have hurt a bit, but like you pointed out has the ability to adjust from his mistake asap.
Again Witherspoon looked very good and made the most of the week in practice. OK game day is today. Will catch up later.

Dolphins4life has no clue . T mays will be drafted late 1st round if he's lucky and will probably move to ss or olb like chris said . jared odrick is no jay ratliff , that's for sure. he can't play Nt and is better suited at DT in the 4-3 ot DE in the 3-4 , Where do you get your info bro ??? Didn't you say mays would go ahead of berry ??? lol

I caught it yetserday late Carlito re:11:17am. I will post my response from yesterday. Nice question by the way...

Carlito from Golfito,

Very thought provoking question... does Kurt Warners retirement add or subtract value from Anquan Bolden?

Most people did not want the Fins to use a high pick on a WR last year becasue they didn't have a powerful armed QB. I see that logic and it works for me. If 2008-2009 Chad Pennigton doesn't have a cannon arm then why load up with Ginn type burners in the 2009 draft? (Altough Henning needs to send Ginn deep and try the go routes more often...period. I want more free field position as Ginn runs by some secondary people and they P. I. him)

Using this logic, I would say AZ coach Wisenhut cutting his teeth for so long in PiTT would try to emphasize the run more. They have Beannie Wells emerging at RB and Hightower is solid so I predict they will shoot for more balance in 2010. That would drive the need to have yet another decently paid, quality WR on the AZ roster down imho. Until Matt Lineart proves otherwise, he is definitely no Kurt Warner. I say they run more and probably draft another QB in this draft to groom in case Lineart can't deliver the goods.

Maybe a 3rd or better yet a 4rth gets AB from AZ? I would do it if the Fins were allowed to stay on the clock and they didnt like who they had to pick from in that round. Why not get a proven commodity. Bolden has been injured some but I also know he took that shot under the chin from the Jets safety and then got his work done with no novacaine. He then preceeded to play with a wired jaw way before they thought he could. He is a tough dude for sure. Maybe he can brush some tough guy mojo on Ginns wheaties?

Damn! Sorry Carlito, my fingers are like Joey Porter, I try to wave them off the keyboard but they just ignore me and keep typing. lol.

Posted by: Rob in OC | January 29, 2010 at 10:39 PM

Strong analysis and you seem to take a very pragmatic approach to your descriptions. I like that. Reading your reports, I feel like a I have a very clear and un-biased report that isn't watered down with all the superlatives that are often unnecessarily interspersed into scouting reports.

Good work. Looking forward to reading other reports from you.

what's up with John Henry everyone says the guy is a beast , do we have a chance to take this guy in the later rounds? I heard somebody said the guy can play any position but left tackle , and play at a high level.

Carlito, I don't think Warner's retirement affects Boldin at all, Boldin is still under contract cheap. If Arizona can't get what they want for Boldin they just keep him until he is an FA.

Cam Thomas had a good week at the Senior Bowl and may have earned himself a third round rating, forth round for sure, lets see what he does at the combine.

NJ PHINS FAN, I have to respectfully disagree with your opinion of NT prospect Dan Williams, He is unanimously rated as the #1 NT prospect in this draft. I have not see a single scouting report that says he would be a better "3-technique" (4-3 DT) than "1-technique" two-gap NT.If you have seen a scouting report that calls him a 4-3 DT please share it with us.
The scouting report in this article above while not as comprehensive as some others I have read points out that Williams has all the physical attributes needed to be a very good NT. Most Draftniks have him rated from as high as #16 to the #20th pick.

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