The granddaddy of all the pre-draft all-star games is upon us. Mobile will be taken over by NFL personnel and some of the top
players in the country. The game kicks off on Saturday but the week of practices is where the rubber meets the road for these prospects.
Without Geno Smith or Matt Barkley in attendance this week, it will serve as an opportunity for others to open the eyes of QB needy teams. Those teams will be keeping a careful eye on a fairly loaded QB roster. For some of these QB’s it will be their first opportunity to throw with top level weapons and behind a solid line.
Clearly, this is a huge week for all players in attendance. But for some this a week to stand toe-to-toe with top competition. We take a look at five offensive players that could set themselves apart this week.
Zac Dysert, QB, Miami (OH)
Dysert didn’t have Tavon Austin or Stedman Bailey. Or Robert Woods and Marqise Lee. Or Cobi Hamilton. Or even Alec Lemon. One could argue that even Mike Glennon had more weapons than Dysert. Dysert and Glennon played behind mediocre lines with little to nothing in terms of receivers. In Dysert’s case, the running game at Miami (OH) was non-existent this year. Dysert has the arm strength and accuracy to throw with the ‘big boys’ in Mobile. While many have become fixated on Syracuse’s Ryan Nassib as of late, its my bet that Dysert is the one that emerges from the week of Mobile with the most buzz.
Watching Dysert side by side with Tyler Wilson, Mike Glennon, and Ryan Nassib will go a long way in crafting his final grade. I took some heat for my rank on Dysert (36th). Dysert isn’t Ben Roethlisberger but has some similar abilities. Dysert stands 6-foot-3 and nearly 230 pounds. While, its not Roethlisberger’s size, its prototypical NFL size. Dysert has a knack of staying upright despite guys hanging on his torso and legs.
With a strong showing in Mobile, Dysert could earn his way into the first round of April’s draft and push him ahead of some of his Mobile counterparts.
Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLA
Johnathan Franklin re-emerged this season after a so-so junior season. The running back class is jumbled up in the 2nd-to-3rd round range. With Montee Ball a late scratch from the Senior Bowl, Franklin may be the top back in attendance. It has been my belief that Franklin has been the top senior running back in this class for the entire season. While that remains my belief, Franklin will need to prove to others that he is what I believe to him to be.
Denard Robinson, WR, Michigan
Robinson spent most of his career as a dynamic running threat playing the QB position at Michigan. This week, Robinson will be looking to prove that he can make a successful transition to NFL receiver. So many before him have attempted to make the switch to mixed results. With very few actually panning out making the QB to WR transition at the next level, Robinson will be looking to prove that he can turn his rare athletic talents into being an effective receiver.
Mychal Rivera, TE, Tennessee
The 2013 tight end class is a very solid class of prospects. It may be one of the more loaded classes in the draft and one of the deeper tight end classes in recent memory. Rivera is an underrated tight end prospect that got lost in the shuffle at Tennessee. With Justin Hunter, Da’Rick Rogers, Cordarrelle Patterson, and Zach Rogers out wide over the past two seasons, it easy to lose Rivera in the wash. Rivera lacks the top end size to play in-line in the NFL but brings unique versatility to the game. A hybrid TE, H-back, and fullback that will be looking to prove this week that he has the receiving skills to be an effective weapon in the NFL. With Travis Kelce pulling out late, Rivera could battle this week to prove that he is worthy of a late day two selection.
Oday Aboushi, OT, Virginia
Eric Fisher is the class of the senior class in terms of tackles. Readers know of my affinity for Fisher. Almost equal to that is my acquired taste of Oday Aboushi. Abousi is an NFL ready pass protector that has really become a solid run blocker. Aboushi has NFL tools of being a starting LT early on in his career. With the additions of Justin Pugh and D.J. Fluker, it will be a monster opportunity for Aboushi to improve his draft stock and find his way into round one.