NFL Media's Daniel Jeremiah writes that Ole Miss TE Evan Engram "has entered into the discussion [as a Day 1 pick]."
One NFL executive who spoke with Jeremiah believes that Engram has had the strongest draft process of any player this winter/spring. Said that executive of the 6-foot-3, 243-pounder, "He answered every concern people had about him. People questioned his blocking in the fall. Well, he goes to the Senior Bowl and shows tremendous improvement. Any questions about route running and speed were answered [in Indianapolis]." We wouldn't say that Engram has completely eliminated all questions about his blocking, but on the speed front, yessir. The Ole Miss standout destroyed the 40-yard dash in 4.42 seconds during Combine testing. We still see a second- or third-round selection as most realistic for Engram.
Pro Football Focus believes that Mississippi State T Justin Senior will "need a complete re-tool of his pass-blocking technique [in the NFL]."
"Senior may not be a Day 1 starter but his physical ability will quickly make up for his learning curve and bad fundamentals. His versatility to play in any scheme and make any block will serve him well," notes the PFF analysis team. This past season, the 6-foot-5, 331-pounder surrendered a trio of quarterback sacks, two quarterback hits and 15 hurries. These numbers represent an improvement over his performance from the previous two campaigns. Speaking further to Senior's learning curve, NFL Media's Lance Zierlein cautions that "lack of bend and inconsistent footwork could cripple his NFL cause if he doesn't improve them."
Two of five NFL executives polled by NFL Media's Daniel Jeremiah believe that Washington CB Kevin King has impressed the most during the pre-draft process.
"Kevin King's height, length and ball skills show up on tape, but he was even better at the [C]ombine," said one executive. "He owned that event. It's hard to find corners with that combination of length and movement ability." Another executive referred to King's pro day as "unbelievably impressive" and predicted a first-round selection for the Washington standout. During the aforementioned pro day, King "moved well, displaying a smooth backpedal and was very quick in all his actions," according to Draft Analyst's Tony Pauline. Tons of momentum toward a Day 1 pick, here.
Iowa redshirt junior DE Matt Nelson (leg) did not participate in practice on Wednesday.
Just when Nelson might be ready to return is uncertain. His right leg was encased in a boot on Wednesday, so this injury might be one that will take a little time. The 6-foot-8, 270-pounder recorded 43 tackles (6.5 for loss) and 5.5 sacks over the course of 13 games started this past season.
NFL Media's Lance Zierlein compared UNC WR Ryan Switzer to former Houston Texans WR David Anderson.
"Wes Welker and Julian Edelman have become go-to comparisons for undersized slot receivers who utilize option routes to torment defenders underneath, but Switzer isn't quite on that level," Zierlein writes. The analyst notes that the 5-foot-8, 181-pounder is "able to create separation underneath and shows quality release quickness" and refers to him as a "slot-only target with punt return skills." Draft Analyst's Tony Pauline stamps Switzer with a third-round grade.
Miami CB Corn Elder said that he has gone through a private workout with the Panthers.
Draft Analyst's Tony Pauline views Elder as a potential fifth- or sixth-round selection. Size questions could scrub the Miami corner off some boards, with an NFC North area scout telling NFL Media's Lance Zierlein that while he "love[s]" Elder as a player, the 5-foot-10, 188-pounder is "too small for what we are asked to look for." This past season, Elder notched 69 tackles, three sacks, an interception and a forced fumble in 12 games played.
The Los Angeles Rams, Los Angeles Chargers, New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts met with Western Kentucky T Darrell Williams prior to his pro day.
In addition, Draft Analyst's Tony Pauline passes along word that the Panthers have put the 6-foot-5, 310-pounder through a private workout. Fellow OL Forrest Lamp has drawn the bulk of the interest among Hilltopper offensive linemen during the draft process, but Williams was a rock on the line in his own right and could potentially land as a selection late on Day 3. More realistically, though, he will probably have to claw his way onto an NFL roster through undrafted free agency.
Western Kentucky senior basketball forward Justin Johnson is practicing with the football team this spring.
Johnson saw initial interest from Western Kentucky as both a tight end and a forward during the 2014 cycle. He ultimately opted to pursue his basketball dreams. This past season, the 6-foot-7, 240-pounder was a 31-game starter for the Hilltoppers. A determination as to the feasibility of a football future will be made after team and player meet at the end of spring practice.