Monday Musings: February 27th
Tony PaulineDraft Analyst Writer
The final pre-combine edition of Monday Musings looks at the first half of the Pac-12, the conference that will have a major impact on April’s draft.
Sun Devils placekicker Zane Gonzalez was the only player from Arizona State or Arizona to receive an invitation to the combine. He’s likely to be the only player from either of those schools who will be selected in the draft.
Linebacker Paul Magloire and receiver Trey Griffey will quickly sign as free agents once the draft is complete. The duo played well during the week of practice for the Shrine Game and has an outside chance of sliding into the seventh round if they run well at the school's Pro Day.
Several reports from Rotoworld last week spoke of Cal’s Davis Webb being a top-five quarterback in the draft. It should not come as a surprise as Webb presently rates as the fourth signal caller on our board, just ahead of Patrick Mahomes.
Webb is a nice-sized passer who throws tight spirals which quickly get to the intended target. He’s relatively accurate and does a solid job spreading the ball around.
Webb could develop into a Sunday starter in time, but he needs to improve his throwing fundamentals and consistently deliver the ball with proper footwork. If he accomplishes this, it will only enhance his accuracy.
The other highly rated Cal prospect, and a player we grade as a second-day pick, is Webb’s favorite target -- wide receiver Chad Hansen.
I would argue Hansen’s pass-catching skills are on par with any of the top receivers in this draft, and he snatches absolutely everything thrown in his direction. Hansen regularly makes the acrobatic reception with defenders draped on his back while consistently coming away with easy receptions.
The difference between Hansen being a top-45 selection and a late-Round 2 choice is 40 time. On film Hansen does not seem to have the foot speed necessary to separate from defenders and has to battle for most of his receptions.
Colorado has not had a player selected in the past two drafts but will likely have multiple second-day picks this April.
I’ve written about Chidobe Awuzie numerous times and believe he’ll be a second-round choice. Not far behind is fellow Buff corner Ahkello Witherspoon.
Unrated by scouts entering the season, Witherspoon’s ball skills are close to equaling Awuzie’s and he’s taller than his teammate. Fast 40 times next week could push him into the initial 75 picks.
During the previous five drafts, CU had a combined five players selected. This year alone they are likely to have five players on defense chosen by the time the draft is complete.
My how the mighty have fallen.
In the past it took me two days to complete the Oregon film work. This year I was done after a single morning.
One year ago, I completed 11 individual scouting reports on Ducks players and handed three of them draftable grades.
This year I’ll be doing five, maybe six reports on this once-proud program, and not a single Oregon player grades as draftable on our board.
Contrary to Oregon, there could be several players from interstate rival Oregon State who slide into the late rounds.
The two players who intrigue me the most are cornerback Treston Decoud and receiver Victor Bolden.
Decoud is a big, physical defensive back who may ultimately move inside to safety. Bolden is a vertical threat that also lends a hand returning kicks. Both are underrated, both received combine invitations and, in my opinion, both will make active rosters in the NFL.
At the time of this writing I’m just beginning the Washington film. The Husky who really stands out is Budda Baker.
When I watch the film on Baker my thoughts are, "Wow, just wow!" If there’s a player I would compare him to, it’s the All Pro safety who plays just a few minutes from the Washington campus: Earl Thomas of the Seattle Seahawks.
Editors Note: Tomorrow, February 28th, we’ll being our combine coverage. Expect 1-2 articles daily centering on what’s happening at the combine as well as the talk surrounding pending free agency.