In one short week the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos will face each other in the Super Bowl. For the other thirty teams of the NFL thoughts have already shifted to the upcoming NFL Draft.
After a season of college football games followed by Bowl games and ultimately the National Championship game college prospects hoping for a career in the NFL often participate in the post season all-star games. Namely the East-West Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl. It is the last chance for these players to show their wares against live competition. Next up will be the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.
I like to take a look at these players before the facts and figures come in from the Combine. Think of it as something of a rough draft. Just kind of a taste of players that I already like before some workout warrior wows all of us.
So here goes. Eight picks over seven rounds…starting now
1. Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida
Even if Brent Grimes returns next season(nothing is guaranteed) the Dolphins desperately need a solid corner on the other side. With impressive body control and great play recognition Hargreaves could easily be penciled in for the next decade. He is an impressive playmaker who does not shy away from defending the run.
2. Nick Martin, G, Notre Dame
If the name seems familiar it is because Nick Martin’s older brother is Zack Martin the two-time pro bowl guard for the Dallas Cowboys. I am not claiming that he will be as good as his brother but he should be a solid guard for the Dolphins. Something they have needed for several years now.
3. Scooby Wright, ILB, Arizona
Beyond belonging on the all-name team Scooby is a former Bednarik Award winner-given to the nations best linebacker. At 6’0 and 246 lbs he has good size which is complimented by excellent instincts and good athleticism. While he is coming off an injury plagued season(torn meniscus) he finished the season strong in the New Mexico Bowl with 11 solo tackles and two sacks.
4. Sean Davis, FS, Maryland
Strong safety Reshad Jones made his first appearance in the Pro Bowl this weekend. That does not mean that help is not needed on the other side. Davis provides length and athleticism while being an aggressive run defender.
5. Anthony Zettel, DE/DT, Penn State
Zettel first jumped off the screen for me two years ago as a distruptive defensive tackle. This year he slid outside to end. And did not lose a step. The position flexibility reminds me of former Dolphin Jared Odrick. But Zettel is far more athletic than Odrick ever was and the need may be there depending on what happens with ends Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon.
6. Joe Schobert, OLB, Wisconsin
Yes this draft is heavy on defense and after the performance last year I think that is necessary. Schobert showed special teams ability in the Senior Bowl and he has the ability to play on the outside.
7a. Michael Caputo, SS, Wisconsin
Known primarily as a run stopper Caputo showed range and playmaking ability in the East-West Shrine Bowl coming down with two interceptions. He could not ask for someone better to learn from that Reshad Jones.
7b. Glenn Gronkowski, FB/TE, Kansas State
The Dolphins have not used a fullback recently, however new coach Adam Gase has been know to use one. Gronkowski(youngest brother of Rob) has shown ability at fullback, tight end and H-back. During the Senior Bowl he caught the ball with ease. That position flexibility may help Glenn to stick on the 53.
This is just an early snapshot at what they may do come the draft. Things should start coming into focus over the next couple of months.