clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

2015 Senior Bowl rosters: South offense vs. North defense

Information on players the Steelers might be interested in, drawn from our Big Board.

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

NOTE: BTSC Rank organized by the current Highest Value rating (HV) to the Steelers. The specified position refers to what the prospect would play in Pittsburgh, not what he plays in the mandatory 4-3 defense at the Senior Bowl. Click here for the full January 19 Big Board (By Position).

TEAM SOUTH OFFENSE - ORGANIZED BY JERSEY NUMBER

No.

BTSC RANK

Information

Pos.

4

HV 4:16

Philip Dorsett, WR, Miami - 5'9-1/2", 183 lbs. Absolutely lit up the first day of the Senior Bowl practices with a combination of fantastic speed and much better-than-expected route running. Adding that kind of speed to what the Steelers already have could easily put Pittsburgh's WR corps into the discussion for GOAT.

WR

7

HV 5:01

David Johnson, RB, Northern Iowa - 6'0-3/4", 224 lbs. A big, downhill power runner with exceptional hands. He lacks top-end speed but might be a real bargain as a short-yardage power back who can block well but also sneak out into the flat.

Ran well and blocked well at the Senior Bowl practices.

RB

44

HV 4:01

Cameron Artis-Payne, RB, Auburn - 5'09-1/2", 212 lbs. A back who is solid in all phases of the game but spectacular in none. His productivity would normally call for a pick somewhere toward the 3rd Round, but given this class and the Steelers' roster he probably won't go to Pittsburgh until Day 3. You can find the nfl.com scouting report here.

Neither helped nor hurt himself at the Senior Bowl practice week.

RB

46

HV 2:24

Clive Walford, TE, Miami - 6'4-1/8", 254 lbs. with 34" arms. He's got very good hands despite some lapses in concentration, is a good blocker, runs good routes, and at the Senior Bowl made both safeties and linebackers look ineffectual. His flaws are in the area of omission rather than commission. For example, Walford his 40 time won't be blowing anyone away and he's only a plus athlete as opposed to a great one. Very good value if you can get him in the 3rd. He had a knee injury late in the season that may interfere with his workouts but should not linger into his rookie season. This scouting report from NFL.com is a decent place to start if you want to know more.

A great week of practice at the Senior Bowl pushes Walford up toward the #2 spot of this fairly weak class.

TE

50

HV 3:24

Reese Dismukes, G/C, Auburn - 6'2-7/8", 295 lbs. Auburn runs a zone blocking scheme so he's good on that count. And for someone who's been playing Center he's plenty strong and could probably bulk up to play Guard as well, though the Auburn system isn't based on rooting out unwilling men from where they want to go. He won't be starting as a rookie by any stretch of the imagination, but if the projection to Guard is reasonable, then his position flexibility would warrant a pick early on Day 3. He's higher ranked as pure Center and probably won't be available by the time the Steelers would start to consider him.

Had an okay week of practice that didn't make the news one way or the other.

OL

54

HV 3:01

Tre' Jackson, G, Florida State - 6'3-7/8", 323 lbs. He's had trouble against really quick tackles and has trouble recovering once he starts to lose in pass protection, but those are flaws that good coaching can fix. The upside is that he's a more physically gifted athlete than most of his peers, especially this year, and might be able to do well the things at Guard that Ramon Foster can't always manage to do. It takes a lot of projection, but after Cam Erving Tre' Jackson would be my highest rated Guard for what the Steelers want. Early Round 3-4 value to Pittsburgh, but deserves to be gone well before that to a team with bigger needs.

Had a good but not stand-out week of practice at the Senior Bowl.

OL

77

HV 4:01

Arie Kouandjio, G, Alabama - 6'4-7/8", 318 lbs. with really long (34-3/4") arms. A solid prospect from a very good training ground. He's had some knee problems, which raises one red flag, and he's the older brother of Buffalo's Cyrus Kouandjio, who was drafted in 2014's 2nd Round and was a disappointment in his rookie year. That's another. Kouandjio is nevertheless considered one of the top Guards of the year, which doesn't say much for the class as a whole. He's basically "okay" at everything but good at nothing in particular.

According to Mike Mayock Kouandjio took to coaching at the Senior Bowl like a fish to water, and got noticeably better as the week went on.

OL

78

HV 4:01

Daryl Williams, OT/G, Oklahoma - 6'5-3/8", 334 lbs. with long (34-3/4") arms. Williams is the Right Tackle bookend to Oklahoma's other big prospect, Tyrus Thompson, and as indicated by this article and this article, his very dear friend. Williams is the quiet, over-achieving, hard-working technician to Thompson's brash and brilliant athleticism. He won't wow as much at the Combine and probably lacks the feet to play on the blindside, but he's the sort of guy with a very high floor on the right side and probably at Guard.

Had an okay week of practice that didn't make the news one way or the other.

OL

TEAM NORTH DEFENSE - ORGANIZED BY JERSEY NUMBER

No.

BTSC RANK

Information

Pos.

2

HV 4:16

Steven Nelson, CB/S, Oregon State - 5'10", 199 lbs. His play makes most of the analysts say things like "promising slot corner" and retired Strong Safety Matt Bowen agreed after a Senior Bowl practice. On the other hand, this critical scouting report at NFL.com is enough to suggest he might be better suited to be a Safety than a Corner.

CB

4

HV 5:01

Adrian Amos, FS, Penn State - 6'0-1/2", 214 lbs. with long (32") arms. Amos played a lot of Corner in his first few years before moving to Safety in 2014, is a willing enough hitter, and has all the physical tools to be a standout player. The problem is that he never seems to put all that talent together and no one seems to know why. This scouting report from the NFL site gives a nice summary.

FS

16

HV 4:01

Josh Shaw, CB/S, USC - 6'0-1/2", 198 lbs. This is the kid who told the Big Lie about how he sprained his knees. The initial story had him leaping from a balcony to save his little nephew from drowning. Huge news and feel good story! That turned out not to be true. He just "fell" off the balcony. Reading between the lines, you'd normally think that hints at an altered state of mind but it appears there may be some kind of domestic violence issue lurking in the shadows. Aside from that, however, Shaw's got the makings of a solid prospect with experience at both Corner and Safety - something the Steelers could use. This grade assumes he will be cleared of all charges and reduces him by a bit only because he's involved in a controversy to begin with. I found this scouting report at NFL.com particularly useful because it emphasizes a few physical limitations (top speed and less flexible hips) while also noting that Shaw was limited by a series of very coachable flaws in his technique. Also a notable presence on special teams, which doesn't hurt.

Shaw made a good showing at the East West Shrine Game, where Mike Mayock and Charles Davis agreed that he was "a little stiff" and would probably fit best as a corner in a press man system. Had a so-so week of practice at the Senior Bowl.

CB

18

HV 3:01

Eric Rowe, CB, Utah - 6'0-5/8", 204 lbs. with fairly long (32-1/2") arms. Eric Rowe is a converted safety with the height, length, and (reportedly 4.37) speed to make him an object of greed. His biggest test was against Michigan WR Devin Funchess, and Rowe pretty much dominated him all day. OTOH, he's still very raw as a corner. Expect Rowe's stock to shoot up into the late-1st to early-2nd range if those numbers prove to be real because the scouting report at NFL.com lists long speed and sudden acceleration as Rowe's main weaknesses.

No news on him from the Senior Bowl practices.

CB

22

HV 2:12

Quinten Rollins, CB, Miami (Ohio) - 5'11", 193 lbs. This is one of my early favorites for the Steelers' pick in Round 2. Check out this college article on his background. Rollins is a basketball player who turned to football in his final year of eligibility, and then excelled because of his genuine athletic edge. He'll be badly out of his depth as a rookie, but sounds like exactly the sort of player who could make a huge sophomore leap with a second one to follow the year after. The need to wait that long for a return on investment is likely to make him available in the 2nd or 3rd rounds. Here is an interview he did with CBS. This is a brief scouting report from a Patriots site, this is a slightly better scouting report from edraft.com, and this is a pretty good scouting report from our sister site for the Jets. The NFL site's scouting report makes a point of noting his "rare start-stop-start suddeness" and "ability to change gears instantly."

Rollins was one of the biggest stars at the Senior Bowl practice sessions. HUGE buzz.

CB

23

HV 5:16

Damarious Randall, S, Arizona State - 5'10-1/2", 194 lbs. Has a knack for being around the play, but there's not much more to say. He's almost certainly a Day 3 pick, but whether that means the 4th Round or the 7th is hard to project.

No news on him from the Senior Bowl practices.

S

26

HV 3:12

Quandre Diggs, CB, Texas - 5'8-3/4", 196 lbs. with short, 29-1/2" arms. A four year starter from a school that produces good DB's, Diggs manages to look like a good player on the field, but not a special athlete. That will keep his draft stock down unless he can show up with better than expected numbers at the Combine. The NFL.com scouting report hints at a player who will need to develop exceptional technique to counter the physical limitations that leave him exposed to genuine giants and significant speedsters. This is a fairly optimistic grade because he's supposed to be a smart young man, a student of the game who improved every year, and thus a prospect who can absorb what Carnell Lake has to teach.

No real news on him from the Senior Bowl practices.

CB

27

HV 3:24

Kurtis Drummond, S, Michigan State - 6'0-1/2", 205 lbs. A solid, well-rounded player who has contributed for several years to an elite college defense. He's a Day 2 guy because he lacks elite speed and needs to add some bulk in order to thump at the level required for a Steelers Safety. This is a nice October 1st scouting report and interview from Dane Brugler of CBS Sports.

News was quietly positive out of the Senior Bowl practices.

S

58

HV 3:12

Deion Barnes, OLB, Penn State - 6'3-7/8", 260 lbs. Young and raw, Barnes will require at least one and probably two years of seasoning before he's ready to contribute, but he has the size, speed and power to be a good one he can learn how to use them correctly. This November article from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette is a nice place to start, as is this January article on his decision to leave early. There's also a brief write-up in this article.

OLB

71

HV 3:01

Carl Davis, NT/DE, Iowa - 6'4-1/2", 321 lbs. Really long, 34-1/2" arms. He will probably go to a 4-3 team by the end of the 2nd, but could be a real candidate for the Steelers if he's available at 3:23. He looks like the sort who of swing player who could step in at either DE or NT. In many ways he reminds of Steve McLendon.

Probably had a better week than anyone at the Senior Bowl practices.

NT

91

HV 4:01

Henry Anderson, DE, Stanford - 6'6-3/8", 287 lbs. but with relatively short arms (32-3/4"). Stanford plays a base 3-4 and Anderson has spent time at both NT and DE. Last year the Steelers got Josh Mauro out of Stanford and were very happy with the find until he got poached off the practice squad. Anderson is a better prospect than Mauro was. If the team believes that Big Dan McCullers can be a true backup for Steve McLendon, a guy like Henry Anderson could be the ideal way to set the complete defensive line of the future. The nfl.com scouting report will give you an idea of why a guy who would fit so well might fall to the Steelers well into Day 3 - basically, his tape is so-so and there are legitimate questions about his final ceiling.

He looked really good at the Senior Bowl despite playing out of position (mandatory 4-3 sets), which is encouraging.

DE

94

HV 3:01

Za'Darius Smith, OLB, Kentucky - 6'4-1/2", 270 lbs. Average arm length for being so tall (32-1/2"). A young man who's been tagged with that awful kind of "damnation through faint praise" description... at least until he flat out dominated the line at the East West Shrine Game. The truth is that he has a lot of potential but is still very, very raw and there are questions about whether he would fit at OLB. This scouting report from the SB Nation Giants site projects him more as a 5-technique! IMHO he looks like a great developmental prospect so long as we don't expect anything in the first year or two.

Great at the Shrine Game. Not really newsworthy at the Senior Bowl practices.

OLB

95

HV 1:25

Danny Shelton, NT, Washington - 6'1-3/4", 343 lbs. A pure Nose Tackle, and a good one who Mike Mayock suggested as a possible top-10 pick. Aside from everything else, Shelton is athletic enough to create real pressure up the middle on passing downs and thus might be that elusive 3-down plug for the middle of the field. If so, the Steelers will give him a long, hard look. McLendon's contract expires after the 2015 season and Big Dan McCullers has shown enough to foreshadow a long term contributor, but not necessarily a starter. The biggest issues on Shelton seem to be clubhouse things. If the reports really do show a "selfish" attitude, he won't be a Steeler. OTOH, can it really be a coincidence that Washington's two biggest defensive starts, Shelton and Marcus Peters, both had ongoing run-ins with the coaching staff that replaced the guys who recruited them?

Was all but dominant at the Senior Bowl practices - the benchmark for all the South's offensive linemen.

NT

96

HV 6:01

Zach Hodges, OLB, Harvard - 6'2-1/2", 242 lbs. with really long arms (33-5/8"). You face some serious level-of-competition questions when you're a pass rusher coming out of Harvard. Princeton, Yale and Brown aren't exactly known for their dominant offensive lines. Still, this scouting report from nfl.com indicates a pretty good amount of potential and I have to believe Hodges would benefit more from professional strength and technique training than prospects who come from premier programs. Not a bad prospect at all for a Day 3 flier.

Had an okay week of practice that didn't make the news one way or the other.

OLB

98

HV 2:01

Hau'oli Kikaha, OLB, Washington - 6'2-1/2", 246 lbs. Teeny, short 31-1/2" arms. His name was tied to the Steelers in a lot of early speculation and it's easy to see why. The descriptions always seem to use words like "tenacious," "hard-working," "fiery," "high motor" and the like, which are traits our Steelers really value. He might be there for Pittsburgh too because of two bad ACL tears on the same knee back in 2011 and some questions about whether he has a truly elite first step. Interesting fact: Kikaha led the nation in sacks in 2014, closely followed by Nate Orchard. Both young men are criticized in the draftnik press for excelling via motor and technique than through athletic brilliance. What does that say? Here is a good scouting report from Football Insiders that serves as a great starting point. There are some subtle pluses too, such as Kikaha's background as a judo and wrestling champion. Both of those sports require an exceptional level of discipline and other non-obvious skills that translate into excellence on the football field. The NFL.com scouting report is another place to go for an overview.

Kikaha's stock fell during the Senior Bowl week because he had real trouble playing in open space and also seemed to lose something on his pass rush from the standing position.

OLB

99

HV 2:01

Nate Orchard, OLB, Utah - 6'3-1/2", 251 lbs. 33" arms. Had a breakout 2014 that will make him a serious candidate for someone's 2nd-round pick. And it might just be the Steelers, if they believe he can carry his pass rush on to the next level while learning to drop back in coverage. Bucky Brooks of the NFL Network did this excellent and well-balanced scouting report after Orchard's fine Bowl game against fellow edge-of-the-1st prospect Ty Sambrailo. This scouting report boasts some gifs in support of its conclusion that Orchard shouldn't be picked until Day 3. This brief scouting report is less useful for analysis, but makes the point that Orchard has been capable of taking over games on his own. This excellent scouting report is about Hauoli Kikaha but could have been written about Orchard since their styles are so similar. This article provides good background going back to High School, as does this pre-season 2014 scouting report and interview from CBS. This brief and admiring scouting report from our sister site for the Giants compares Orchard to Justin Houston.

Looked very good at the Senior Bowl practices, with numerous observers commenting on his ability to convert speed into power, excellent hand fighting technique, and ability to dip around the corner.

OLB