With Mike Shanahan set to coach the South squad at the Senior Bowl later this month, I thought I'd take a look at some players that will be on his team that might look good in Burgundy and Gold. Right now i'll only focus on players who will be on the Southern Squad, but don't think that doesn't mean he won't be highly interested in some of the Northern prospects as well. I'm also only going to look at guys who have firmly accepted their invites, with the exception of the expected QB's for the Southern team. Remember this isn't a comprehensive list and will only cover the offensive guys, but it is good to start the conversation.
QB's: Originally this position looked to be the strongest as Ryan Tannehill was confirmed, with Nick Foles and Brandon Weeden the other likely signal callers for the South. Now with Tannehill having to miss the game to recover from a foot injury it doesn't seem as glamorous. Don't discount this group just yet though:
Nick Foles: The Arizona signal caller gets overlooked at times given the fact that wins were few and far between for the WIldcats these past two years, but that can hardly be blamed solely on Foles. Arizona had 4 straight games to start the year (after a tune up vs Northern Arizona) against Oklahoma State, Stanford, Oregon, and USC, which sent this team in a tailspin. Foles did his part completing 69% of his passes for over 4,000 yards and 28 TD's to 14 INT's, all while dealing with a mid year coaching change. Foles was furthered hampered by the lack of talent around him (particularly on offense), which was just too much for Foles to overcome.
What Shanahan will like: Foles is a big (6'5" 230) quarterback, who has a strong arm capable of making every throw. Appears to have decent mechanics and an above average feel for the game.
What Shanahan won't like: Foles would force the ball too often when Arizona was behind, which killed comeback opportunities. Foles also lacks any real threat to run (though he is decent at buying time).
Brandon Weeden: Weeden is an interesting case as he originally pursued a baseball career first and will turn 29 during the season next year. While the age is definitely a detractor in a lot of areas, it is important to note that if Weeden was 21-23 he'd be a 1st round lock. Weeden has had a tremendous two year run as the Cowboys starter, and his age and maturity should help make him an earlier starter in the NFL.
What Shanahan will like: Weeden has the maturity, advanced feel for the game and leadership you'd expect from a 28 year old. While he might not be the long term starter for Washington, Shanahan could see him as a guy who can step in right away and fill the Redskins biggest need with very little 'growing pains'. Weeden's strong arm and accuracy will also impress the Redskins coaching staff.
What Shanahan won't like: Weeden has played his entire career in a spread offense, and hasn't worked much from under center. He also anticipates the rush too early at times, throwing the ball early instead of risking a sack for a chance at a big play. It's good fundamental football, but the best QB's in the league usually have a better feel.
Chris Rainey: If Mike Shanahan is looking for a late round back, who could complement Helu and Royster, Rainey should be near the top of his list. The small quick back (5'9", 175), could be an excellent change of pace guy for the Skins, and he can contribute in a number of areas. In addition to being a weapon running and receiving, Rainey has been one of Florida's return men as well as part of their kick and punt block teams.
What Shanahan will like: Speed, quickness, elusiveness all rank near the top of the charts for Rainey. His willingness to play on special teams including the block units will also impress the Redskins.
What Shanahan won't like: Rainey's size will be a real question mark, when he is weighed in and measured. If he is under the 5'9" measurement that Florida has listed it makes it pretty tough for him to be considered a serious option.
Jeff Fuller: Fuller was coming off an amazing Junior year that many people thought would lead to him being a 1st round prospect. Unfortunately a year of nagging injuries sapped away much of his breakaway ability. While the injuries were troubling enough, Fuller also uncharacteristically dropped more balls this season, which should move his stock to the 3rd-5th round range.
What Shanahan will like: At 6'4", 220, Fuller has excellent size that the Skins desperately lack. He does well adjusting to the football in the air and usually wins the jump ball. He's the son of a former NFL player, and is considered to have a good strong work ethic.
What Shanahan won't like: Fuller's speed was called into question this year as he wouldn't come up with the big plays like he did the year before. Was it a result of the injuries or something else, that question needs to be answered. Also the drops are a concern and will need to be monitored in practice.
Matt McCants: Started 42 career games for UAB, the majority of which at LT. McCants is a two time All-conference selection, and widely considered a quality Tackle prospect. He looks to be a solid 3rd to 5th round prospect at this point, and could make a good jump with a strong Senior Bowl week.
What Shanahan will like: McCants has impressive athleticism and is a great fit for his zone blocking system. McCants also has a nice big frame that he can grow into still. McCants seems to have a natural feel for the position, and could even project as a LT down the road.
What Shanahan won't like: McCants didn't face as much high level competition at UAB, so this week will be a 'make or break' test for him. McCants also is probably too light right now at 6'7" 295, and needs to add more strength to anchor against NFL caliber players. He's probably not a day one starter, despite his tremendous upside.
Brandon Mosley: Mosley is a two year starter at RT for the Auburn Tigers, and has gotten high marks with his strength and consistency. He was expected to move over to LT this year, but ended up primarily playing on the right side. He's a former JC product, who spent most of his time on the defensive side of the ball, making him a bit more raw than most.
What Shanahan will like: Mosley has good size (6'6", 310), and a strong work ethic. He could probably start early on (at RT), and displays decent athletic ability.
What Shanahan won't like: Mosley is a bit more raw than you'd like, and its a real question if he could ever be a LT, which limits his upside.
Steve Shoup will be covering Senior Bowl Live this year for his own site Fanspeak.com, but will provide write-ups on players for the Redskins here on Hogs Haven as well. Check out his NFL Draft Page for more details and updates throughout the draft season! HTTR!