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Which Senior Bowl Standouts Could Ravens Target In NFL Draft?

January 29, 2019
NFL Draft analysts Tony Pauline, Chris Doering and Dan Shonka recently joined Glenn Clark Radio to discuss prospects they saw at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. Pauline is the publisher of draftanalyst.com; Doering, formerly a receiver in the NFL, is an analyst for the SEC Network, and Shonka, a former NFL scout, is the general manager of Ourlads NFL Scouting Services.

Pauline, Doering and Shonka talked about prospects they saw at the Senior Bowl who could be an option for the Ravens at No. 22 overall pick, receivers Baltimore may consider at some point in the draft and players with local ties.

Former Delaware safety Nasir Adderley posted 87 tackles, four interceptions and broke up seven passes for the Blue Hens during his senior season in 2018. The 6-foot, 190-pound Adderley had 11 interceptions during his four-year career. NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah had Adderley going to the Ravens in his first mock draft. 

Pauline: "People are talking about some first-round mentions. In my opinion, no way. He is a second-day pick at best. I don't think he's going to go higher than the 60th pick. There was a play [during Senior Bowl practice] against Drew Sample, the tight end from Washington who's 260 pounds and probably runs a 4.8, and Adderley was not able to stay with him downfield. Sample's not known as a downfield tight end, and Sample made the catch downfield, getting at least five yards behind Adderley."

Former South Carolina wide receiver Deebo Samuel was one of the top receivers in the SEC during his senior season, catching 62 passes for 882 yards and 11 touchdowns. Listed at 6-foot and 210 pounds, Samuel was named the Practice Player of the Week among wide receivers by the Senior Bowl.

Doering: "I'm well familiar with Deebo Samuel, who I think to me really stood out [Jan. 22] in a lot of the drills -- particularly the one-on-one drills. He's not the biggest guy, he's not the fastest guy, but the way that he runs his routes, he's got some burst. There's a difference between fast and quick, and I think Deebo's got some good speed, but his quickness, his urgency strikes fear in defensive backs, especially when they're playing press coverage."

Former Massachusetts wide receiver Andy Isabella has been one of the most productive receivers in college football the past three years, during which he totaled 3,519 receiving yards, 1,698 of which came in 2018. He's posted 32 total touchdowns the past three years as well. He caught seven passes for 74 yards and a touchdown in the Senior Bowl en route to being named the Most Outstanding Player for the North team.

Doering: "Isabella has kind of wowed folks here so far. He was talking [Jan. 22] at the podium about the fact that he's going to run a 4.2 at the Combine. You can see the burst, but you can also see a quickness in him that's really threatening to corners trying to cover him. I do think there's something to be said for quickness, particularly in this day and age where teams like to play so much press coverage. … I do think that there is a premium on quickness more so than speed in some cases."

Former Louisville wide receiver Jaylen Smith caught 60 passes for 980 yards and seven touchdowns in 10 games with quarterback Lamar Jackson throwing him passes in 2017. But his production dipped in 2018 with Jackson in Baltimore; he caught 36 passes for 550 yards and a touchdown. At 6-foot-4 and 223 pounds, Smith has NFL size.

Pauline: "Watching the film [Jan. 23]: average route runner, dropping some very catchable throws. So one of two things has happened: His game has really slid off or he misses Lamar Jackson. It may not be a bad idea to bring that type of player back in to get him hooked up with Lamar Jackson. The good news for the Ravens is you're probably not going to have to expend more than a fifth- or sixth-round pick at best to bring Jaylen Smith in, and then if you can resurrect him you've got a real steal on your hands."

Former West Virginia wide receiver David Sills paired with quarterback Will Grier in Dana Holgerson's high-powered offense and had two very productive years. Sills combined to catch 125 passes for 1,966 yards and 33 touchdowns from 2017-2018. The 6-foot-4, 210-pound Sills garnered attention years ago for committing to USC as a quarterback in seventh grade.

Shonka: "The thing about him is going to be obviously his speed. He catches the ball well, he tracks it well. He was in an offense that gave him a lot of chances to catch the ball. That's the big thing with him because he does have good size. He's more of a possession guy. But he can make contested catches when he's covered, so that's an important thing. He tracks the ball well over either shoulder on deep routes. … He's probably going to be in that third, fourth-round area."

Former Maryland safety Darnell Savage made 37 starts at safety for the Terps throughout his four-year career in College Park, Md. He made 182 tackles, including nine for loss, and picked off eight passes from 2015-2018. The 5-foot-11, 200-pound Savage also played some slot corner as part of his duties at safety. He won Practice Player of the Week among defensive backs at the Senior Bowl.

Shonka: "Savage is really an excellent football player, really like him. He's one of those kinds of guys that just makes plays. He'll light you up; a physical, downhill kind of player. He's not as a big. … You'd like to have a taller, rangier guy, but Savage is one of those guys that's going to play. He's probably going to get drafted later than you expect, but he's going to go in and play for somebody. … To me right now, he's probably going to go in the fifth round, I would guess."

Former Maryland defensive lineman Byron Cowart made 38 tackles -- three of which were sacks -- during his lone year with the Terps. The 6-foot-4, 293-pound Cowart was one of the top high school prospects in the 2015 recruiting class and landed at Auburn, but he never made an impact with the Tigers. 

Pauline: "I've always been a fan of Cowart going back to his Auburn days. He was spotty at Maryland last year. He was terrific [Jan. 23]. Fundamentals, mechanics, playing with great pad level, good knee bend. … It's not just a matter of the big, strong guy winning out. It's a matter of the person winning out because they're playing proper NFL techniques. That's what they're looking for. He showed great power, he showed great explosion, the way he uses his hands. I like Cowart a lot. There are a couple defensive linemen who have distinguished themselves here. Cowart was one of them [Jan. 23]."

Photo Credit: Jordan Burgess/Delaware Athletics