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2016 Senior Bowl: Final Pre-Practice Thoughts

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What are some of my final thoughts before the practices begin in earnest?

Bronson Kaufusi. Do Want
Bronson Kaufusi. Do Want
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

OFFENSE

QB

- Like many in the scouting community, I'm thoroughly amazed that Michigan State QB Connor Cook elected to skip the proceedings especially with NDSU QB Carson Wentz breathing down his neck to take his spot as third best QB in the class. Cook isn't a surefire prospect that doesn't need the trip. He desperately needed to show up and prove to the world that he's beyond his shoulder injury and the shellacking Alabama gave him in the semifinal. Stock down already.

- I'll be interested in seeing how North QB Cody Kessler (USC) and South QB Brandon Allen (Arkansas) do this week. Allen is arguably the most pro ready prospect this year in the SEC West and on the South roster. Kessler needs a good week to recover some of his stock from a subpar 2015. I currently grade Kessler as a fifth round guy. Allen is a fringe third rounder at best.

- I'm wholly intrigued by Louisiana Tech's Jeff Driskel. He was a transfer from Florida and lit it up for the Bulldogs. Physically he looks the part but his injury history is glaring. Could be a nice backup for someone. Well versed in the spread and some pro style elements.

- Count me out as a Carson Wentz fan. I'm not impressed by him at all. He's benefitting from a very weak QB class. I like Paxton Lynch better than Wentz and I abhor certain aspects of Lynch's game.

RB

- Big fan of La Tech's Kenneth Dixon. Dixon might be the most underrated RB in the nation. He won't blow you away athletically but is very good in the fundamentals.

- Northwestern's Dan Vitale (no relation to ESPN's college hoops funny man Dick) has the potential of being this year's Kyle J of the Baltimore Ravens.

WR

- Rutgers Leonte Caroo (North) needs a big week to answer some questions about his off field antics.

- Paul McRoberts of Southeast Missouri State (South) could separate himself as a middle round receiver with a good week in a relatively light receiver class. I'll have to do some more work on him.

OL

- The South OL is where it's at this year. Probably the most overall talent this year than in year's past. My favorite guard prospect is Vadal Alexander of LSU even if he's listed as a tackle.

- In terms of individual overall talent, it's Stanford's Kyle Murphy (North).

- I can see this year's Ali Marpet in recent Senior Bowl addition Georgia OL Jake Ganus or Missouri's Connor McGovern.

DEFENSE

DL

- The South DL vs South OL will be must see TV. That DL is simply the best it's been in years.

- Huge fan of BYU's Bronson Kaufusi's work. Not so much on Charles Tapper (Oklahoma).

- Expect Eastern Kentucky's Noah Spence to have a huge week.

- Carl Nassib (Penn State) could surprise some folks along with Sheldon Rankins of Louisville.

- Will be watching La Tech's Vernon Butler closely.

LB

- In the linebackers not named Reggie Ragland division, Mizzou's Kentrell Brothers intrigues me a lot. Sticking in the SEC, LSU's Deion Jones had a great 2015. Will see if he can carry that over.

- The Pac-12 duo Blake Martinez and Jared Norris are worth a look or two.

- As previously stated, I'll be watching Utah State's Kyler Fackrell closely. Been hyped for a couple of years now.

- Antonio Morrison is another guy I'll be watching.

DB

- Three that has me the most interested in watching: Auburn's CB Jonathan Jones, Boise State S Darian Thompson, and Deiondre Hall from Northern Iowa.

Bonus thoughts

- The weather is expected to play a role as rain is forecasted for the two big padded practice days. This will separate the wheat from the chaff in determining the QB and WR drills.

- Here's the conference breakdown:

SEC - 22

Big Ten - 22

Pac-12 - 13

FCS (Div 1-AA) - 9

ACC - 8

Non Power 5 (Group of 6) conferences - 16

- Senior Bowl director Phil Savage is a boss at putting on this event. His presence has been a massive boon.