Friday, January 29, 2010

2010 Senior Bowl: Top South Roster Prospects

The Senior Bowl is just days away, and the staff of the Miami Dolphins' week-long look at South roster will come to an end after Saturday's game.

The experience is sure to be a tremendous advantage for the Dolphins in the pre-draft scouting process, as coaching the all week gives them special insight to their talent, intelligence, coachability, and character.

We'll know in a few months whether or not the Dolphins use the knowledge gained this week to draft any of the players they coached (the Dolphins drafted two Senior Bowl players in 2009), but for now, here are my top 10 prospects on the South squad:

(Once again, keep in mind that this is an opinionated list, and is tailored to the needs and schemes of the Miami Dolphins. USC safety Taylor Mays, for example, is not on this list, as the Dolphins don't have a need at strong safety, and I'm not entirely high on him.)

DT Dan Williams, Tennessee

Alabama's Terrence Cody might have the girth that some teams desire at nose tackle, but Williams is a much better combination of size, strength, and athleticism.

At 6-foot-2 and 329 pounds, Williams has all the size to be a nose tackle in the Dolphins' 3-4 scheme, and is a much safer pick than Cody due to his conditioning.

The Dolphins' No. 12 pick might be too high for Williams, but he'll probably come off the board in the first round at some point and is very unlikely to be around when the Dolphins pick again at No. 43. Should the Dolphins trade down from the No. 12 pick, however, it's possible they could land at a perfect spot to take Williams in the middle-to-late first round.

CB Patrick Robinson, Florida State

One of the top cornerback prospects in the draft, Robinson (5-11, 190) is very refined in his technique and is a tremendous athlete.

While the Dolphins do not have an immediate need at cornerback and may not be picking at a time to pick Robinson, I think the position is at least worth considering if the right guy is on the board.

Despite picking two cornerbacks in the first two rounds in last year's draft, there's always a need for help in the secondary. Starter Will Allen is coming off a torn ACL and backup Nathan Jones is a free agent.

Also, with a big need at free safety, the Dolphins could always try to move 2009 second-rounder Sean Smith from cornerback. If that were to happen, however unlikely, the need for another young corner would be almost immediate.

CB Perrish Cox, Oklahoma State

Another one of the draft's top cornerback prospects, Cox has good size (5-11, 189) and has more of the big-play production you look for compared to someone like Patrick Robinson.

A potential first-round pick, Cox could potentially be available when the Dolphins pick in the second round. Though cornerback is not an immediate need, as I explained above, it also isn't one which I would totally rule out, either.

DT Terrence Cody, Alabama

If you're looking for a rare, pure, beast of a 3-4 nose tackle, then Cody is definitely your man.

Cody hovers between 340 and 370 pounds, is extremely strong, and has plenty of 3-4 experience in Nick Saban's top-ranked run defense at Alabama.

Although Cody seems like a perfect fit for the Dolphins on the surface given their need for a long-term nose tackle, I have my doubts as to whether or not the team will actually be high enough on him to draft him.

Despite his dominance in college, Cody's size and conditioning is a concern at the pro level, where shear strength isn't enough to get by. His value is also diminished in my view if he's so out of shape that he needs a breather every few plays.

Keep in mind, Bill Parcells' 3-4 scheme has typically not featured the monster, 400-pound nose tackles that some teams like.

Long-time Parcells pupil Jason Ferguson has weighed around 300 to 310 for most of his career. This to me says that Tennessee's Dan Williams is a much more logical fit for the Dolphins than Cody.

LB Eric Norwood, South Carolina

Norwood was a constant playmaker in four seasons for the Gamecocks, averaging 63 tackles and seven sacks in four college seasons.

Like the North squad's Brandon Graham, Norwood is a bit shorter (6-foot-1) than you look for, but has other features that make him appealing. He's very strong and powerful and and is a talent pass rusher.

Norwood doesn't have the size Bill Parcells looks for in his 3-4 outside linebackers, but his ability and versatility to maybe backup the inside as well could make him worth a look in the second or third rounds.

S Myron Rolle, Florida State

Rolle is a guy more known for his off-the-field achievements, as he graduated from Florida State early and opted to forgo his senior season and study at Oxford as a Rhodes scholar.

He was actually a very good football player for the Seminoles too. His big-play numbers aren't where you'd prefer them with only one interception in 38 games, but he has great size (6-2, 223), good athleticism and strength, and, surprisingly, great intelligence.

Rolle is a guy that's going to go a lot lower than some of the other safeties, but I'm willing to bet he becomes one of the best from this draft. He's smart, highly motivated, and definitely talented.

The Dolphins need help at free safety and I'm not sure how long strong safety Yeremiah Bell will be effective, so Rolle would definitely be a good pick in the mid-to-late rounds.

TE Anthony McCoy, Southern California

McCoy wasn't highly productive on a Trojans team with so many weapons, but he has a lot of the things you look for in an NFL tight end.

Although he lacks ideal speed for the position, McCoy has good size (6-5, 250), good athleticism and hands. He's one of those "does nothing great, but a lot of things well" kind of guys, and has the ability to eventually be a starter in the NFL.

Tight end is a decent need for the Dolphins, but it's unclear if they'll want to address it so early with some more pressing needs at receiver, linebacker, and safety. If they are going to go the tight end route fairly early, McCoy would be an ideal candidate on Day 2 (now the second and third rounds).

RB Anthony Dixon, Mississippi State

Dixon capped off his collegiate career in a big way, earning first-team All-SEC honors after leading the nation's best conference in rushing with 1,391 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Although he lacks top speed and has had some character issues, Dixon does bring to the table tremendous size and strength, measuring at 6-foot-1 and 245 pounds without an ounce of fat on him.

The Dolphins may be in need of a running back with Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams a year away from free agency and retirement, respectively, and Dixon is an intriguing prospect to consider in the early rounds.

OG John Jerry, Ole Miss

The brother of Atlanta Falcons 2009 first-rounder Peria Jerry, John Jerry leaves the Rebels as a four-year starter and two-time All-SEC selection.

Jerry doesn't have great speed of athleticism, but he's a powerful, mauling blocker with great strength and size at 6-foot-5 and 335 pounds.

The Dolphins' right guard spot is up in the air, and Jerry would be an ideal fit for the team's power-blocking scheme. The Dolphins reportedly like Jerry from coaching him at the Senior Bowl thus far, and could be targeted in the fourth or fifth rounds.

FS Nate Allen, South Florida

Everyone that watched a Dolphins game in 2009 knows free safety is a big need, as Gibril Wilson was one of the biggest free agent busts in recent memory.

Allen could be the guy to replace Wilson if the Dolphins took him in the second round. He has good size (6-2, 206), speed, athleticism, and strength, while also bringing great football intelligence, work ethic, and top-notch leadership qualities.

Which prospects from the South squad would you most like to see drafted by the Dolphins? Share your thoughts on the forum here!