Orafor has been receiving a lot of attention as a potential 1st or early 2nd round OT from the MAC. I really don’t see it. He’s clearly a powerful, uncompromising athlete, with the ability to bury DEs and LBs in the running game. When, however, he is up against quick-twitch, nuanced pass-rushers (eg T.J.Watt), he looks pedestrian and confused – specifically, he has a tendency to lunge and play upright in pass protection which, against top tier NFL rushers, will leave him bewildered. He has, I think, the size, strength, power and aggression to shift inside but, should he do so, it would be very much a projection. He is too strong, too physical and too intelligent for MAC edge players but I have my concerns about how he projects to the NFL. My instinct is that, should he be drafted as an OT, he will find himself at OG before the end of his second training camp – he could make it in that position but there is no guarantee that he will. As such, I would see him as an early Day 3 projection at best.
There is a lot to like about Igwebuike. Entrance to Northwestern, of course, intimates that his brain contains more than a grey, nebulous mist and you can see evidence of this on the field. He is impressively instinctive against the run and, once he diagnoses a play, his closing speed is certainly of an NFL calibre – he is genuinely quick for a safety. He reads a QB’s eyes well, which enables him to get into position to make the tackle with an economy of effort. His tackling technique is sound, particularly against the run, where he takes excellent angles, enabling him to explode into contact. Against the pass, he has a tendency to wrestle people to the ground but I won’t criticise him too much for this; he does, at least, do it consistently, unlike Armani Watts of Texas A&M. I like his quickness and flexibility in man coverage; in zone, however, he is, on occasion, hesitant when it comes to diagnosing his responsibilities. He looks like a fluid, able athlete, with sufficient size to play well in the NFL and the attitude and intelligence to accept coaching. He is also an alpha-male leader, who should be a very positive addition to any locker room. I am not sure about his 6-0, 200lb measurable, which look a little generous; at the same time, I would be happy if my team were to draft Igwebuike somewhere on Day 2.
Serigne seems to have been at Wake Forest for about ten years; he has been a consistently productive player in the ACC, particularly as a pass receiver. He is particularly adept against zone coverage; he finds the soft spots consistently and is a reassuring target for his QB. He has strong hands, a decent catch radius and flashes the ability to make the contested catch – evident in the 2016 Delaware game (Q3, 5:46). He can get open in the red zone and his touchdown numbers are good – at the present time (6th September, 2017), he has scored 14 career TDs. He is not much of a downfield threat, however, and his potential for yards after the catch is pretty limited. As a pass catcher, Serigne could have a future in the NFL. As a blocker, however, he is very limited. He is a bit better on the perimeter but, as an in-line blocker, he tends to lunge and reach and is strikingly lacking in the stability needed to anchor as a TE. In the run game, his angles are positively bizarre; there are times when you will see him just turn his body round to try and shield players off with his back. It seldom works. As a pass blocker, he is shaky – the bowl game v Temple was a good example of his limitations in this area (see for instance Q2, 4:57). Given his marginal size (6-3, 245) and his frailties as a blocker, I don’t see Serigne as having a high ceiling in the NFL and, accordingly, I have a late round/UDFA grade on him at this stage.
There is a bear-like quality to Nelson’s play – and that is certainly not a criticism when it comes to interior offensive linemen. He is a huge (6-5,330), very physical guard who simply moves people in the run game. Woody Baron of Virginia Tech was one of my favourite college football players in 2016 but Nelson treated Baron like a rag doll at times in the Notre Dame-Virginia Tech game. The ursine comparisons extend to his pulling game – he is not the smoothest athlete but, when he comes lumbering round the corner on the pull, he is an intimidating spectacle. I like the way he sustains his blocks and he gets real explosiveness from his hips. As a pass blocker, he is alert, intelligent and quick to identify threats. He can handle both quick, penetrative DTs and the massive space-eaters with equal confidence. Some people have mentioned Nelson as a potential top 5 pick but that is too rich for my blood; I don’t see the rare athleticism needed to select a G or C that high. I do, however, see a player who could be an immediate, productive starter in the NFL. Nelson reminds me of a less psychotic Richie Incognito and I think he certainly deserves the first round consideration he’s been receiving; I like him in the 15-25 range of the 2018 draft.
Senat is a short, squat, intense DT who lines up mostly as a 3-tech at USF. His power is obvious when he plays low to the ground; he can anchor really well against the run and uses his upper body strength to shed blocks and make plays. The caveat here, though, is “when he plays low to the ground”. Too often, I saw Senat neutralise his natural ability by rising up too far out of his stance and allowing the guard an easy route into his chest. He also needs to work on his explosiveness out of his stance – he is not the quickest off the ball. There are times when he can get skinny – if that’s not an absurd paradox for a 310lb DT – though a gap and disrupt a play and I like his ability to move smoothly down the line without moving backwards. As a pass rusher, however, he offers very little; he relies on a pretty limited bull rush and, as his stats of 1 sack in three years suggest, it seldom presents a guard or center with too much trouble. Senat will give you effort and tenacity against the run and is a very sound tackler for a defensive lineman. At the same time, however, he is not particularly impressive in terms of size and explosiveness and it is hard to see him being much more than a back-up in the NFL. I would see him as a Day 3 option.
Coleman is a heady, productive CB who won 1st Team All-MAC honours as a junior. In the MAC, you can see why; he is an intelligent CB who reads routes well and who will bait QBs into making unwise throws. Against Ohio, for instance, last year, he had 4 passes defended. Those quick diagnostic skills were also evident against a higher standard of competition; in his interception return for a TD against Virginia, he read the QB perfectly, stepping in front of a screen pass and coasting to the end zone. I was most interested, however, in watching Coleman against Oklahoma State’s top tier passing attack and, in this game, his limitations as an athlete were pretty brutally exposed. He was constantly out of phase with the OSU WRs and lacked the speed and agility to cope with their threat. I really like Coleman’s effort and intelligence but I just don’t think he has the raw athletic skills or physical presence needed to be an effective contributor at the highest level. As such, I see him as an undrafted free agent prospect at this point in time.
Velichko is an experienced and versatile lineman, who has started at both tackle and guard at San Jose State, on both sides of the line. He is by no means an elite prospect but I do think that his skill-set, allied to this versatility, might make him a viable practice squad candidate for an NFL team in 2018. His main strength is his alertness; he recognises his responsibilities and can often be seen shunting off his primary responsibility to one of his teammates in order to pick up a secondary threat. He has quite a powerful punch and is reasonably athletic, with the ability to move quickly towards the second level. When he keeps his feet chopping, he is a creditable run blocker and I enjoyed the amount of pancake blocks for which he was responsible – always, for me, a positive sign! He is, however, a marginal prospect at best at the next level, due to the flaws in pass protection, where he tends to over-extend and lose his balance, forcing him to lunge and lose control of contact situations. This is, I suspect, partly due to two things: 1) he plays too high – at 6-7, he struggles to gain leverage – and 2) he is a bit slow off the snap and, as a result, lacks the explosion you would really want to see. A good offensive line coach will smooth out some of these difficulties and, although Velichko is a long-shot to make it in the NFL, I see enough on tape to suggest that a camp invite is feasible.