Rookie Scouting Portfolio author Matt Waldman shares his thoughts on various players from this morning’s Senior Bowl weigh-in.
I don’t see the point of this any longer.
This may not be the pervading thought among those in the NFL but among the persons to whom I speak within media or connected to the league, it’s becoming a more popular response. NFL teams get dossiers on each player that includes the vital measurements and photos of them stripped down to their skivvies. Still, most of the teams send scouts to the 7:00 am event when it’s redundant information and that time could be used differently.
Those who benefit most from the weigh-in are media and independent scouts who won’t earn access to these league dossiers. My thoughts on specific skill players from the weigh-in are below. Remember that physical measurements are only a layer among many layers of information.
My surprise, admiration, or disappointment about a player’s measurements below are unlikely to move the needle significantly to the left or right of my film assessment of the prospect. If it does, it’s because the game performances have already led to me expecting the weigh-in to serve as a tipping point.
This list is comprised only of players I found notable to share commentary.
The primary thrust of my work is quarterbacks, wide receivers, running backs, and tight ends. If you’re new to the Rookie Scouting Portfolio, you will not earn complete coverage of every position although I deliver analysis on all positions when I co-host the College Draft with Ross Tucker.
There were two players whose weigh-ins were notable to me. The first was Utah defensive tackle Leki Fotu. If I could be a defensive lineman and pick my physical makeup, I’d want a frame like Fotu’s because it’s obvious that his bone structure supports his weight well.
His dimensions aren’t inflated by sloppy weight gain. Fotu is a well-muscled athlete who isn’t stiff and doesn’t have a bodybuilder’s frame. He looks like an old-school professional wrestler before the WWE ‘roided up the industry who could do the work for 40 years.
Tennessee edge rusher Darrell Taylor sports an 80-inch wingspan and an athletic 259-pound frame without appearing stiff or maxed-out. If he can get to 265-270 pounds, he’ll likely meet the physical demands of the position in the NFL.
Justin Herbert is a true 6’6″ in a lithe but muscular 227-pound frame. He’s built like a swimmer, which is a good body type for a quarterback–strong but mobile. It also appears that he could add another 10-15 pounds to his core.
NFL.com’s Chad Reuter reminded me as Jordan Love took the stage that Love’s frame looked a lot like Colin Kaepernick with Kaepernick arrived in Mobile several years ago. Love, like Herbert, has an athletic build and even more room than Herbert to add muscle. Both quarterbacks have sufficient hand size that won’t raise questions about their ability to grip a longer and thinner NFL ball.
At 6’1″ and 218 pounds, Jalen Hurts appears well-built for what has been an added benefit to his game: gaining yards with his legs and making plays from the pocket after pulling loose from the reach of the rush. His 9.48-inch hand size passes the threshold, which I expected despite frequent ball-security woes on his tape. Hurts’ issues with the ball when running has more to do with the looseness of his elbow from his frame or swinging the ball too wide from his chest while fighting for extra yards.
I hoped Darius Anderson and Ke’Shawn Vaughn would be larger backs. Anderson is 5’10”, 195 pounds and from eye-balling him, I wonder if he’s already in a maxed-out frame. Teams will have a more systematic way of determining this when they meet with him individually.
I also thought Vaughn would be 5’10” or 5’11” and 210-215 pounds, but he’s 5’9″, 205 pounds. The height isn’t a big deal and the weight isn’t far off from that sweet spot of 210-220 pounds. If teams determine that either player can reach a heavier weight and add explosion in the process, it will be enough to keep them in mind as potential lead runners if they perform well.
I mentioned that I like Antonio Gibson as a receiver but I wonder if the hand measurement of 8.28 inches is a layer of information that helped tip the scales towards featuring him in Mobile as a running back. Gibson’s true height and weight of 6’0″, 223 pounds are also factors that could have driven this decision.
After seeing Anderson and Vaughn’s measurements, I found it encouraging that Joshua Kelley is in that sweet spot of 5’10”, 214 pounds. If he shows off the acceleration I hope to see over the two months, Kelley could offer upside as an NFL contributor.
Baylor’s JaMycal Hasty’s 5’8″, 203-pound frame is encouraging for his potential role as a scat back.
Jauan Jennings was the biggest shocker to me. After watching him manhandle linebackers as a lead blocker in the run game and work through contact as a runner after the catch, I thought Jennings was at least north of 215 pounds. When this pencil-thin, 6’3″, 206-pound receiver stepped on the stage, I did a double=take when the posted his name and picture on the video board above.
If Jennings has room to add 10-15 pounds—remember, those of us in attendance are eye-balling a player’s body from 10-60 yards away for a total of 45 seconds to a minute and for half of that time, the employee from NFS who is measuring the player’s height is blocking our view–his physicality will stand out on Sundays. If not, it’s worth remembering that there’s a lot of grit in Jenning’s game that will help him surprise opponents in one-on-one situations.
Antonio Gandy-Golden measured 6’3″, 222 and looks ready to roll on Sunday when it comes to his physical dimensions. If he doesn’t overpower and out-position defensive backs this week, there will be lingering questions about his value. I’m confident he will.
Michael Pittman, Jr. is 6’3″, 219 pounds and it appeared he could evolve into a 230-pound receiver. K.J. Hill appeared closer to maxed at 6’0″, 192 pounds. Hill looks well-conditioned and maybe he’ll reach 200-205 pounds one day but based on his role and game, it’s nothing to sweat.
Like Jennings, Denzel Mims is also lighter than expected–206 pounds in a 6’2″ frame. I had questions about Mims’ physicality entering this week. I now understand why his listing at Baylor didn’t appear to match his game. I’m looking forward to seeing how he handles physical coverage at the line.
Jared Pinkney looks ready to roll at 6’4″, 254 pounds. If he adds more muscle to his upper back and arms, he could be closer to 260-265 pounds. Josiah Deguara is a well-built 6’2″, 245 pounds but much closer to his maximum frame. Pinkney has the physical potential to work in-line as a front-side blocker and receiver whereas Deguara appears best-suited to an H-Back role on the backside of two-tight-end sets or on the wing.
Brycen Hopkins is an in-shape 6’3″, 241 pounds and I think there’s more room for him to add weight to his core and reach 250 pounds. Like Deguara, he’s probably best-suited to an H-Back role.
Adam Trautman’s 6’5″, 251-pound frame was surprising. I don’t think there’s any room left for him to add weight but it was a pleasant thing to see that he’s not a maxed-out 235 pounder from a small program (Dayton). Charlie Taumoepea also has a similar build that we often see from people with Pacific Island descent–well-built, muscular, great bone structure, and neither sloppy nor overly chiseled. At 6’2″, 244 pounds, Taumoepea doesn’t look like he’ll add much more weight, but I think 5-10 pounds is well within the realm of possibility.
Once again how a player looks is not indicative of how a player plays. My long-time buddy Tres, who my high school team said was too small to play in games, used to hit people 70-100 pounds heavier and leave them breathless on the ground.
Obviously not an NFL example, but the Tres story underscores that if an NFL prospect has the game, favorable measurements will reinforce an opportunity. If the prospect has the game and unfavorable measurements, he may have more to prove or fewer suitors but there’s little, if any, correlation to talent.
For additional Senior Bowl coverage, check out Matt Waldman’s RSP 2020 Senior Bowl Page for a schedule and links to previews, practice reports, podcasts, film breakdowns, and commentary.
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