Welcome back to The B&G Report. The Senior Bowl usually doesn’t boast the best Quarterbacks that the College ranks have to offer, but this year is different. The consensus top quarterbacks are Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen. The Senior Bowl had two of the four QB’s in attendance. They also boast a few small school prospects that would fit well in Washington. The running backs weren’t overly impressive, but some possible fits for the Skins could be found amongst these prospects. After that the Wide Receiver, Tight End and offensive lineman groups showed some flash. I’ll go through the QB’s in depth, since it’s arguably the Redskins top position of need. With quarterback being priority number one for the Skins, finding mid round prospects at other positions that are fits is imperative as well. Even if the Skins trade/sign a veteran bridge QB, they’ll still need to groom a QB with this being potentially McCoy’s last year in Washington. At this point it will be a record for underclassmen declaring for the 2018 Draft, with over 120 prospects forgoing their final year of eligibility. So the Senior Bowl will have many undrafted players due to the influx of underclassman declaring. This is an opportunity for the Redskins to build a winning culture, while adding depth to the roster. The Senior Bowl will provide plenty of Day 2- Day 3 Prospects, but this is how teams such as the Patriots continue to dominate year after year. I’ll go through the QB prospects and players that could be fits in Washington.
Possible Fits in Washington
Rashad Penny RB San Diego State 5’11 224 lbs Co MVP for South team
Kalen Ballage RB Arizona State 6’2 225 lbs
Ballage had one of the most productive days of all the running backs next to Penny. The Arizona back is a mountain of a man checking in at 6’3 230. His upright running style needs work, but Titans running back Derek Henry showed what patience and good coaching can achieve. Henry checks in with nearly identical height/weight to Ballage and I can see the same type of success in the NFL for Ballage. His combine shuttle drill and forty time will determine if he’s a fringe 3rd round back or a late rounder. I predict he’ll run in the 4.55-4.6 range, but his ability as a pass catcher appeal to me even more than Penny. On tape Ballage runs fluid routes and although he’s still raw, I envision the Sun Devil as a goal line/3rd down back in the NFL. I know Chris Thompson fills the role of a 3rd down back, but the recent leg injury has given me pause. I understand the Skins have a power back in Perine, but he hasn’t convinced me that he can shake his bad hands/fumble problems. The young running backs jump cut move is impressive and I’ll look for that to be his calling card, if he can get his pad level lower that is. Some have compared him to a quicker/more athletic Brandon Jacobs, but I see a better overall athlete. My favorite running back Draft prospect in 2017 was Kareem Hunt, I without a doubt see him as Ballage’s comp. The Arizona State back fills two roles for the Redskins as a power & pass catching back, he would be a steal if he’s available in the 3rd round.
Isaiah Wynn 6’3 310 G/OL Georgia
Wynn was a very good tackle for Georgia, but his pass protection limitations forced him back to Guard after he declared for the NFL. Wynn played Guard most of his life before switching to OT, based on the Bulldogs lack of depth at Tackle. The Bulldog tackle earned All First team All-SEC Awards giving to the top lineman. The Georgia lineman easily handled the quicker pass rushers on the interior with power stacked directly on top of him. His pass blocking improvement this year showed up on film. Wynn showed his ability to close gaps during the Senior Bowl. His best assets is his power and I’m looking forward to seeing his strength on display at the NFL Combine. He excels in the run game and is a good puller, which is exactly what the Redskins have lacked in a LG. I could envision Wynn available in the 3rd round and could be a plug in play for the Redskins.
Will Hernandez 6’2 340 lbs Guard UTEP
I’ve liked what I’ve seen from Hernandez this year and he had a dominant Senior Bowl. When you don’t hear an offensive lineman’s name called in a game, their avoiding penalties and holding their ground. Hernandez was a Second Team All American, which is a big achievement for the unheralded UTEP program. At this point in the draft process, he’s listed as 2nd round prospect. His short arms push him to a mid-late second round pick. Hernandez was the number one Guard prospect recruited in the nation. USC & Arizona recruited him, but he didn’t have the grades to qualify for a scholarship. He choose UTEP where he dominated. I understand the level of competition will be an issue, but I view him in the same manner as Isaiah Wynn and also believe he’s a plug and play for the Skins at LG. If theSkins decide to trade back into the later parts of the second round, Hernandez would be a great option at that slot.
The Redskins traded Kendall Fuller and a 3rd round Draft pick for KC Quarterback Alex Smith.
Josh Allen QB 6’4 7/8 237 lbs Wyoming MVP North Team
Allen had an up and down Senior Bowl. In practices he looked particularly shaky per multiple reports. After early struggles vs the South Team, Allen settled down and lead two speedy scoring drives. The Wyoming Quarterback showed why so many analysts and teams are infatuated with his potential. His prototypical 6’4 7/8 237 pound frame, left onlookers salivating. Allen finished the game 9 for 13 for 158 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions, earning North Team MVP. The issue I have with Allen is his passing trajectory is all over the place at times. Secondly he simply doesn’t use his size to get out of pressure situations. Allen can make a play with his feet if he’s forced to. The bigger issue is he doesn’t seem to have the desire to keep plays alive, when forced out of the pocket. I’ve seen him in various mock drafts, mocked as high as number one overall to Cleveland. That’s insane in my opinion! Allen has the potential be a good NFL QB, I just don’t view him as elite. He has the character you want in your franchise QB and as ESPN 980 Radio Host and former Redskins Chris Cooley stated, “your getting a no drama QB, who’s willing to put in the work”. In the end, Allen has a long way to go as a passer before he steps onto an NFL field. I’ll be curious to see how he fares at the combine. Regardless of his combine results, Allen most likely still goes within the Top 10 on Draft Night. Based on his size and potential alone, a team will take a chance on the improving Allen. He would be a decent fit in Jay Gruden’s offense, but needs at least two years and Gruden doesn’t have that long to produce a Franchise QB. I could be wrong and Allen could have instant success, but he needs to be taught how to study Pro coverages and a Pro playbook first.
Baker Mayfield QB 6’0 216 lbs Oklahoma
Baker Mayfield kicked his Senior Bowl experience off to a rocky start, after arriving late with his mother being hospitalized. In saying that, the Oklahoma signal caller showed leadership and maturity earning the Senior Bowl Award For Practice Achievment. I know it sounds like a silly award, but in fact it’s given to the player at each position group that took charge and led the unit in practice drills. Although his statistics left little to be desired (3-7 9 yards sacked once), he did take snaps under center and employed multiple play action formations. Baker didnothing to sway me or impress me. The Brett Favre comparisons continue amongst some scouts (attitude, gunslinger, goes off script), but I see more of a team player willing to make those better around him. A team will fall in love with Mayfield and he goes top 10, putting him out of reach for the Redskins.
QB Mike White 6’4 225 Western Kentucky
Coming into the Senior Bowl, Western Kentucky’s QB Mike White was anything but a household name. After his performance some believe he’s moved from a possible fringe 4th/5th round pick, to a potential Top 100 pick. Per former Redskins General Manager Charlie Casserly, “after the Senior Bowl many teams now have White as a second round prospect and ”. He was featured in the previous B&G Report “Early Draft Prospects to Watch” and he didn’t disappoint. White started the game for South Team and went 8-11 128 yards with a TD. White’s first pass was a 22 yard strike and the WKU QB looked poised and accurate. Per NFL Network Analyst Mike Mayock, “White used his eyes to look off defenders which opened up the field for the receivers” during the Senior Bowl. White confirmed the best meeting he had during the Senior Bowl was with Washington. White’s Head Coach had a lot to do with his success in 2017. Mike Sanford was hired for White’s final year at WKU. Sanford is viewed as one of the best offense minds in college football. He brought an innovative offense scheme with Pro Concepts to WKU and White adapted without a hiccup. White seems to have a strong concept of how to run a Pro Offense and that was evident based on his Senior numbers (4,177 yards with 26 TD’s). I think drafting White in the 3rd round would be an ideal scenario for the Skins. This would enable the Redskins to focus on a playmaking defender and perhaps a franchise running back with their first two picks in the Draft. I’ll have a lot more to say about White and the other quarterbacks, as the Draft process chugs on.
Kyle Lauletta QB 6’3 215 Richmond
The Richmond QB showed the rest of the country what I knew he could do, which is take over games. Lauletta doesn’t have the strongest arm or the best athletic traits, but he has the “IT Factor”. He routinely waited for routes to develop and took advantage of a flat footed defense in the Senior Bowl. He was named MVP after going 8 for 12 for 198 yards and three touchdowns. Don’t get me wrong , I’m not saying he’s the second coming of Tom Brady, but I love his intelligence. Similar to White, Lauletta displayed a quick release and didn’t allow defenders to re-establish themselves in coverage. I’ve read the comparisons to Vikings Quarterback Case Keenum, but I don’t see that comp. Lauletta’s more of a poor mans Jimmy Garoppolo with a higher ceiling, with the right coaching that is. Similar to how Patriots Head Coach groomed Garoppolo, Lauletta would improve greatly under that type of supervision. I believe Jay Gruden could also do wonders with Lauletta. Granted he doesn’t have that cannon arm that Jay so desperately desires, but the West Coast offense principles focus more on quick game concepts. Although he’s got a long way to go, Lauletta has already shown the quick release that has attracted GM’s. The Richmond QB will see the biggest draft jump of all the players who attended the Senior Bowl in my opinion. Similar to Mike White who was viewed as a mid round prospect,Kyle Lauletta couldnow hear his name called in the top 100 picks or even slip into the early third round. I could envision JayGruden molding the Richmond signal caller into a franchise quarterback. Although I really like Lauletta, drafting him earlier than the fourth round isn’t ideal in my opinion. Again it’s super early in the evaluation process and many things could change. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a team fall in love with him as a Round 2-3 prospect.
*Mason Rudolph 6’5 230 lbs OKST
I’ll put it as blunt as I can, I’m just not a Rudolph fan. I’v watched a ton of game tape on the OKST Quarterback. My conclusion was his pass catchers routinely bailed him out of bad over/under throws or just took a 5 yard pass for a 50+ yard TD. His numbers were inflated based on that. I just don’t see the pocket awareness that is required in the NFL. I’m not saying he can’t be serviceable, but as a 2nd/3rd round QB? I’ll take a pass on him for the Burgundy & Gold.
*Tanner Lee 6’4 220 lbs Wisconsin
The Wisconsin QB is just ok in my opinion. He can be suitable in a run based scheme, but needs a lot of help. Lee is intelligent and I could see him sticking on a squad for a few years as a 3rd String/Practice Squad QB. I just don’t see him as a fit for the Skins, even as a backup.
The Wide Receivers
Personally I don’t see any potential number one receivers in the Senior Bowl pass catching group. I did see a few receivers that could be Day 2 or Day 3 Draft picks. Many if the pass catchers on hand will be developmental prospects. I did like watching DaSean Hamilton, JamesWashington, Michael Gallop and Allen Lazzard (previous B&GProspect to watch). LSU’s D.J. Clark stole the show in Mobile, AL.*LSU’s D.J. Chark registered 5 catches for 160 yards 1 TD in the Senior Bowl. It seems Clark’s best option in the NFL will be as a space creator/deep threat receiver. I’ll wait to see his combine times before any final judgements are made. He should go higher than the 4th round, but that’s where I’d select him for Washington.
*PSU’s DaSean Hamilton
The Penn State pass catcher had a good day and has nice size at 6’1. He did nothing great at the Senior Bowl, but was steady all week and during the game. He was part of a PSU offense that featured the best running back in the nation in Saquon Barkley. His achievements at Penn State were overshadowed by his teammate. Another prospect I’d put in the 4th-5th round range for the Skins.
*ISU’s Allen Lazzard continues to drop balls, he’s a nice position change prospect and could be a practice squad developmental project at Tight End. After watching him at the Senior Bowl, I’ve adjusted my expectations for the 6’5 pass catcher. He was the best jump ball receiver of the group, but needs to show more than that. At this point I’d slot him anywhere between early 5th round-UFA.
*Colorado State’s Michael Gallup Gallup showed his route running skills and the separation that he creates. On tape he’s not the fastest guy, so I expect him to run around a 4.5 forty at the NFL Combine. Gallup has been mocked all over the place in Mock Drafts I’ve viewed, but he’s a solid late 2nd-Early 3rd round prospect.
*OK State’s James Washington didn’t do much in the game and finished with no catches. He did show he has the ability to be a potential #2 on the next next level, but I believe he could be a product of OKST’s Air it Out Offense and his numbers might be inflated. After watching his tape I just don’t see a pass catcher that runs all the route tree concepts. He’s another WR that’s Combine 40 time will determine if he’s a Day 2 or 3 Draft pick. I don’t like him as a fit in Washington, unless he’s available in the 5th round, which is doubtful.
The Tight End
Durham Smythe of 6’5 257 Notre Dame
The Tight End group at the Senior Bowl was particularly weak in this years crop. Lots of flex tight ends who aren’t fast enough to produce on the next level we’re on hand. Just from watching the practices, the group lacks the fundamentals to block effectively in the run game. I really was looking forward to seeing Senior Bowl inviteTroy Fumagalli of Wisconsin, but he didn’t play. During the Scouting process, my mission is to find potential fits for the Redskins. Tight End Durham Smythe of Notre Dame was clearly the best blocker in attendance, as well as the best overall TE that played in the Senior Bowl. Smythe only registered 15 receptions for 244 yards and 1 TD in 2017. His lack of statistics were based on the Fighting Irish’s struggle to get their passing game going. The Golden Domers did have a good run game in 2017 though and Smythe was a big reason why, especially on runs to the outside. He isn’t the best all around Senior TE, but he fits what the Redskins need in a tight End. Jordan Reed can’t stay healthy, Vernon Davis is in the tail end of his career, Niles Paul(Free Agent) is undersized & injury prone, lastly Jeremy Sprinkle can’t be the only tight end with the ability to set the edge in the run game. Smythe is projected as a late 3rd-Early 4th round Draft pick. So the Notre Dame TE would fit in well, but I wouldn’t take him until at least the 5th round, based on team needs and depth at the position.
Thanks for checking out another B&G Report Prospect evaluation and stay tuned for the Senior Bowl Wrap Up Defensive Prospects Edition!