Four Buckeyes spent the past week in Mobile, Ala., working in front of NFL coaches and scouts in hopes of improving their draft stocks.
In the practice leading up to the game scheduled for Saturday, Mike Adams, Michael Brewster, Dan “Boom” Herron and DeVier Posey all turned in performances that gained the attention of reporters covering drills, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse.
The biggest impact came from the biggest of the four men – Adams. That should come as no surprise as he has been a high-profile player since his days at Dublin Coffman High School in the Columbus suburbs. A five-star recruit, Adams endured a somewhat star-crossed career. He played early but battled a variety of injuries that kept him out of the lineup. After establishing himself as an All-Big Ten player during a standout junior campaign, Adams had to sit out almost half of his senior season because of an NCAA suspension.
In Mobile, the 6-7, 323-pounder caught everyone’s attention with his mix of size and athleticism.
“I thought he was the best guy overall,” Scout.com director of scouting Scott Kennedy said after one practice. “He did a good job of protecting his edge playing from the left tackle spot. Then they moved him over to right tackle and he won both of his reps over there.”
While evaluators came away raving about Adams’ power as a run blocker, there were concerns about his pass protection.
“After a pretty solid session on Tuesday, Adams struggled with the speed rush on Wednesday,” Scout.com’s Tim Yotter said. “Marshall’s Vinny Curry burned him a few times before Adams recovered and finally got the best of Curry. But facing a quick end, Adam seemed to lose his balance too often trying to keep up with the opposing speed.”
Tony Pauline of Sports Illustrated noticed that as well, concluding, “Adams of Ohio State was not able to capitalize on his dominant performance from Monday and looked human at times this morning. How will this affect his draft stock? Let’s say at this point he’s not a lock to be a top-15 choice.”
Meanwhile, Mike Wilkening of Pro Football Weekly quoted a source as admiring Adams’ raw ability but questioning his technique.
As of now, Adams appears to be the only Buckeyes with a shot of being taken in the first round of the draft, but the trio who joined him in Mobile are certainly on the radar of NFL personnel staffs.
Brewster, a four-year starter at center for Ohio State, had some much-ballyhooed battles with former Michigan standout Mike Martin with conflicting views of which player got the better of it emerging from the practices.
“Mike Brewster went against Mike Martin and that was a spirited battle,” Kennedy told Scout.com’s Beth Long. “It was really close. I had it 3-1 for Brewster.”
Pauline also saw it closely on Monday –“Martin fired off several snaps and took the advantage with his first step, but Brewster adjusted and out-positioned Martin toward the end of the drill. It’s been fun to watch.” – but seemed to favor the former Wolverine two days later.
“Brewster of Ohio State is having a tough go of it this morning,” Pauline wrote Wednesday. “He was just beaten badly by Mike Martin of Michigan, who had been quiet most of the day. Brewster has been struggling to hold the point and continues to get pushed back off the line.”
Yotter rated Brewster among his surprises from day one of the practices.
“Typically, center isn’t a highly touted position in the NFL draft, but if Brewster’s nasty streak is any indication, he may be a consideration at guard as well,” Yotter wrote. “The 6-foot-5, 315 pound player has no problem taking a defensive lineman to the ground (legally) and giving him a little shove after that, but he also showed good leverage in early one-on-one work. He got off-balance once in drills but was generally in control despite his willingness to mix it up. His 49 consecutive starts, second-most in Buckeyes history, is a testament to his toughness.”
Posey entered with as much as anyone to gain from the Senior Bowl because of his senior season being limited to three games by a pair of NCAA suspensions, but he might not have made the impression he hoped.
The Cincinnati native predictably passed the look test and impressed scouts with his ability to get in and out of breaks smoothly and quickly, but an old familiar problem crept us as well.
“DeVier Posey continues to fight the ball as he’s a natural body catcher and he plays smaller than his near 6-2, 209-pound frame suggests,” Charlie Bernstien of Scout observed. “Posey has been one of the biggest disappointments at the Senior Bowl.”
Rob Rang of CBS Sports described Posey as posing the most formidable physical challenge to a gifted set of cornerbacks on the North squad but expressed concern about the former Buckeye dropping too many passes that were not placed perfectly.
“Posey struggled adjusting to passes slightly behind and had a couple of big play opportunities simply bounce to the ground because he allowed passes to get into his pads rather than catching the ball with his hands,” Rang wrote.
Finally, there was Herron. The running back weighed in at 5-9, 212 and impressed with how hard he ran but did not get a passing grade in pass protection.
“Dan Herron of Ohio State showed surprising foot quickness today,” Pauline wrote Wednesday. “After being stuffed on the inside for a few handoffs, Herron suddenly displayed the ability to bounce around the outside and avoid defenders and piles.”
Pro Football Weekly raised the pass protection concerns but was impressed with how Herron ran routes.