The Senior Bowl’s third day of practice winds down, and reports filtering in have one thing in common: unabashed love for DE Cameron Jordan, whose scouting report boils down to a single word: “unblockable.” However, the Rams’ interest in Jordan may be muted: The Cal DE is likely to go to a 3-4 defense (perhaps in San Francisco?) before the Rams pick at #14, and the Rams already have a pretty good player lining up over right tackle in Chris Long.
So far Rams scouts have only been linked with two players: Scrappy WR Dwayne Harris (this year’s Dominic Curry?) and DT Terrell McClain. However, there are several other Seniors who should be piquing the interest of Rams scouts in attendance, based on their performance and our team’s needs. Here are a few names worth remembering:
OG Danny Watkins – Baylor
6′ 3 1/2″, 312 lbs
“Baylor OG Danny Watkins was the only guy who could slow down Cedric Thornton. Regardless of who he was matched up against, defenders facing Watkins could expect a lot of violence.”
— Draft Countdown, Tuesday’s South practice notes
A relative oldster at age 26, Danny Watkins has only been playing football for four years, and only at Division 1 level for the past two seasons. There’s a reason for his slow start in the sport: his first chosen calling is firefighting. The Rams could certainly use someone with his talents to help keep the heat off Sam Bradford.
After playing two seasons for Butte Junior College, Watkins stepped into Jason Smith’s shoes at Baylor and played well at Left Tackle in 2009-10; yet in the Senior Bowl, he has been practicing and playing as a guard, and is reportedly taking to it like a fish to water. Given the Rams’ coaches preference for the versatile Adam Goldberg over the big but one-dimensinoal John Greco at guard, coachability may be the thing that most intrigues with a player like Watkins.
Says Bunting, the director of college scouting at the National Football Post: “If Baylor OL Danny Watkins was three years younger and two inches taller the guy would be a first-round pick,” and “strikes me as a guy who can come in and play from day one as an NFL guard.”
One area of concern may be Watkins’ experience on the left side of the line; the Rams’ greatest short-term need is at the right OG position, and Jacob Bell is signed through 2013 on the left side. However, talent is talent, and with a player this coachable perhaps those concerns disappear.
WR Titus Young – Boise State
5’11 1/4″ 176lbs
Each year, a handful of players help boost their draft stock with an exceptional week at the Senior Bowl. While it’s early in the process, Boise State wide receiver Titus Young looks like one of those players this season.
The two Boise State receivers went in totally opposite directions this practice. Titus Young looked much more consistent catching the ball today, and his breaks were smooth and explosive. He could be among the best receivers in this draft based on his big play ability alone. Austin Pettis, however, struggled getting off the line versus press coverage, and had one of the slowest set of feet among the receivers.
Three years ago, in Billy Devaney’s first draft as Rams GM, he passed on DeSean Jackson to take Donnie Avery. Now that a D-Jack clone is in the draft queue, might he consider a do-over on that decision?
All this week, Titus Young has displayed two qualities that deepen the connection to the Philadelphia WR: stunning big-play ability, and infuriating lapses in focus that lead to dropped passes. (Jackson’s 11 drops last year were fifth-most in the NFL.) Nevertheless, scouts are continuing to weigh the positives more than the negatives, and he projects as an early-to-mid second round pick; perhaps an ideal fit for McDaniels’ offense if Julio Jones is off the board at #14.
S/CB Ahmad Black – Florida
5′ 9 3/8″, 183 lbs
Ahmad Black was very instinctive out there, breaking up at least two passes that no other safety could have today just based on his reading of the quarterback.
He plays faster than he runs because of his instincts and ability to cleanly change directions and get up to full speed quickly. But there aren’t too many safeties in the NFL who are starting at Black’s size. Nevertheless, I like the kid as a football player and think he could end up being a real steal for a team in the mid rounds.
The Rams have a plethora of safeties that can play in the run game, but only one — Oshiomogho Atogwe — who isn’t a liability against the pass. Enter undersized DB Ahmad Black, whose foot speed (and lack of size) have many scouts thinking that he could transition to cornerback. Whatever his roster designation, Black could provide the instinctual, hard-hitting and ball-hawking presence at nickel back that the Rams have lacked since … essentially forever.