Eric Fisher displays top-10 talent; major red flag on Justin Pugh
MOBILE, Ala. -- Senior Bowl week kicked off on Monday, and there were plenty of interesting developments. I've compiled some notes from the weigh-ins, practices and even hotel chatter. Practice notes were compiled after studying both the North and South sessions on tape Monday evening.
Buzz from the weigh-ins
» Alabama offensive tackle D.J. Fluker stole the show at the weigh-ins. He measured in at 6-foot-4 7/8, 355 pounds, and his arm length was 36 3/8 inches. He wasn't carrying any bad weight for a man that big. Due to a training injury, he won't be practicing this week, but he made the most of his time in Mobile.
» SMU defensive end Margus Hunt was another player who elicited a lot of attention from NFL brass at the weigh-in. He measured in at 6-8 1/4 and weighed 277 pounds. He has the frame to easily add another 20-25 pounds. Hunt is a very raw football player, but his size is very enticing.
» Syracuse offensive tackle Justin Pugh is a very good player on tape, but his lack of length is a concern for pro teams. His arms were just 31 1/2 inches long, and that is a major red flag amongst NFL evaluators. He will likely slide inside to play guard at the next level, making his lack of length less of an issue.
» Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson is a talented signal-caller with some upside, but his hand size is less than ideal for the position. His hand measurement of 8 5/8 inches -- well below average -- was a popular topic of conversation among NFL scouts following the weigh-ins.
» Central Michigan offensive tackle Eric Fisher was the best player on the field in either of Monday's practices. He was dominant in one-on-one pass-rush drills, displaying quick feet, a powerful punch and a strong base. Also, he was physical at the point of attack in the run game. He made it look easy during the entire practice, playing like a top-10 pick.
» While Fisher dominated the North practice, Oklahoma offensive tackle Lane Johnson did the same at the South session. Johnson is incredibly athletic, and his ability to redirect in pass protection is rare. He lined up at right tackle during this practice but was likely to slide over to the left side on Tuesday. A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that Johnson was going to be a fast riser up draft boards, and that ascension is well under way.
» Oklahoma product Landry Jones had the best day of all the quarterbacks. He has outstanding arm talent and moved around better in the pocket than he did on tape from the fall. There are a handful of teams that are desperate for a quarterback; Jones made a strong statement to them with his performance on Monday.
» It was a good day for West Coast cornerbacks. Washington's Desmond Trufant, San Diego State's Leon McFadden and Oregon State's Jordan Poyer all made several plays on the ball during Monday's practice. Boise State cornerback Jamar Taylor also had a solid performance.
» There were several interior defensive linemen who had dominant moments on Monday. Purdue's Kawann Short went 5-for-5 in one-on-one pass rush. North Carolina's Sylvester Williams used his quickness to make a lot of plays during the team periods. UCLA's Datone Jones has been training in mixed martial arts with Jay Glazer; his hand usage has improved noticeably from the fall.
» Rice tight end Vance McDonald was far and away the top player at his position. He is explosive in his release and is a very smooth route-runner. He did drop one ball but made several other impressive grabs. He looked like a second-round talent.
» Southeastern Louisiana cornerback Robert Alford is a little raw, but his talent jumps off the tape. He guessed wrong twice during one-on-ones, but his recovery burst was highly impressive. He also showed the awareness to locate and play the ball at the highest point.
» Oregon State wide receiver Markus Wheaton had an excellent practice. He avoided press coverage with his quickness and showed a second gear when the ball went up in the air. He can play outside or line up in the slot. His versatility and play-making skills have the attention of scouts and personnel men.
Sound bites from execs and scouts
» "I can't believe some of these teams are trying to talk themselves into (N.C. State QB) Mike Glennon. I don't see it." -- NFC personnel executive
» "I don't think it's a done deal that (Texas A&M's Luke) Joeckel will be the top offensive tackle taken. In my opinion, Fisher has more upside." -- AFC Scout
» In five years, (Georgia NT) John Jenkins will be a multi-year Pro Bowler or he'll be out of the league. I don't think there will be anything in between." -- NFC executive