2016 Senior Bowl: Friday Rumor Mill
This is Charlie Campbell's Friday 2016 Senior Bowl Rumor Mill. Charlie is reporting live from Mobile, Ala., and he'll describe what he sees at practice and whom certain prospects talk to all week.
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By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell
With all the general managers, coaches and scouts in attendance for the Senior Bowl, there is a lot of chatter going around. Here are some of the highlights from the rumor mill on Day 5.
In speaking with sources, one can expect the Jacksonville Jaguars to have a draft that is heavy on defense. That isn't surprising, as the Jags played in a lot of shootouts last year. Second-year starter Blake Bortles showed massive improvement under new offensive coordinator Greg Olson. Bortles had the second-most touchdown passes in the NFL with 35 while throwing for 4,400 yards. The focus of the offseason will be upgrading the Jaguar defense that allowed teams to build leads in a lot of games and put Borltes in comeback mode on a nearly weekly basis.
In the first round of the draft, it sounds like Jacksonville's initial preference is to go with a pass-rusher over a cornerback. That could be considered surprising with 2015 third-overall pick Dante Fowler coming back from his ACL tear. However, Fowler is an unknown commodity who may need time to develop, and who knows if his injury will have a hangover into what is essentially his rookie season. Thus, taking another end to go on the other side from him could make sense. Potential targets include Oregon's DeForest Buckner and Ohio State's Joey Bosa. Of course, sources also say that a shutdown corner is in play. If the Jaguars had equally graded prospects available at corner or edge rusher, the inclination is towards the latter.
One offensive lineman who has some fans in the scouting community is Texas Tech left tackle Le'Raven Clark. He has the body for left tackle in the NFL to go along with some quickness and athleticism. However, Clark is inconsistent. He can look great on some plays, and completely clueless on others. Scouts say that Clark is all potential at this point. They feel his technique needs a lot of work, but they love the tools he has. Sources feel he would be a great fit in a zone scheme or Chip Kelly's offense. These scouts have given Clark second-day grades.
Another offensive lineman whom sources like is Kansas State left tackle-turned-guard Cody Whitehair. For next season, teams like Whitehair's versatility to be their sixth offensive lineman who is a capable game-day backup at guard or tackle. Teams really value those swing sixth offensive lineman, so Whitehair looks safe on Day 2. Whitehair needs to get stronger, and teams feel he has the potential to develop into a starting guard.
In speaking to coaches that attended the Senior Bowl, the only quarterback who truly impressed them was North Dakota State's Carson Wentz. The other quarterbacks were all viewed as being backup quality. Teams really liked Dak Prescott in the team interviews and feel he has excellent football character. He could go in the top half of Day 3. Alabama quarterback Jacob Coker is viewed more as a late-rounder. They feel he has a long wind-up and is a statue in the pocket. One coach said that Coker is a poor man's Mike Glennon.
Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan has some fans with teams. They feel that he may never be an effective starter, but they do believe that he could be a good backup quarterback. They like his intelligence and feel he will pick up their playbook quickly. Sources from a playoff team said they would consider taking Hogan as soon as the third-round to upgrade their backup signal-caller.
The Los Angeles Rams are clearly in the quarterback market and sources say their favorite signal-caller right now is Carson Wentz. Perhaps as the process gets further along, Cal's Jared Goff will rise in the eyes of the Rams, but it looks very likely that the Rams would have to trade up to land either Goff or Wentz as they won't get out of the top 10 and to LA's pick at 15.
Sources with the Redskins say the team really liked Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper last year. They said it would have been a really hard decision between Cooper and Brandon Scherff because they loved both of them. Oakland made Washington's decision for them when they took Cooper, and that wasn't a surprise as the Redskins expected Cooper to be off the board.
I thought it would be interesting to ask some opposing coaches their view on some of the recent draft picks and how they're looking in terms of development. A few AFC coaches said that Houston Texans edge defender Jadeveon Clowney is downright scary. They feel that if Clowney can stay healthy, he is going to be a nightmare and one of the best defenders in the league. They said the tapes he put together late in the season against the Patriots and Bills were incredible.
Sources said that Clowney could be better than the Raiders' Khalil Mack, which is pretty incredible because those same sources said they believe that Mack will be a Hall of Famer. They said Mack is out of this world.
Jaguars running back T.J. Yeldon is in a similar status to Clowney. Opposing teams think Yeldon could be a tremendous NFL running back and has the skill set to be a top-10 runner in the league, but staying healthy is the big challenge for Yeldon, who was dinged up as a rookie and throughout his time at Alabama.
Of the young quarterbacks, a few AFC coaches said that Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota are going to be super signal-callers. They feel that each one has the potential to be on a similar level to Aaron Rodgers.
Conversely, one general manager that it is insanely stupid that Teddy Bridgewater was in the Pro Bowl. They felt he didn't play anything close to a Pro Bowl level; same with Tyrod Taylor.
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2016 Senior Bowl: Friday's Rumor Mill
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2016 Senior Bowl: Thursday's Rumor Mill
2016 Senior Bowl: Reggie Ragland Interview
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2016 Senior Bowl Wednesday's South Practice Report
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2016 Senior Bowl: Wednesday's Rumor Mill
2016 Senior Bowl: Carson Wentz Interview
2016 Senior Bowl: Noah Spence Interview
2016 Senior Bowl Tuesday's Practice Report
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2016 Senior Bowl: Tuesday's Rumor Mill
2016 Senior Bowl Weigh-In: Quarterbacks
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2016 Senior Bowl Weigh-In: Wide Receivers
2016 Senior Bowl Weigh-In: Tight Ends
2016 Senior Bowl Weigh-In: Offensive Linemen
2016 Senior Bowl Weigh-In: Defensive Linemen
2016 Senior Bowl Weigh-In: Linebackers
2016 Senior Bowl Weigh-In: Defensive Backs
2016 Senior Bowl: Monday's Rumor Mill
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