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Senior Bowl Video

Who got the 'Port City Push' in Mobile

Tue, Apr 23, 2013

By Phil Savage

Senior Bowl Executive Director Phil Savage continues his unique “countdown” by highlighting three prospects not named Ziggy Ansah, Eric Fisher or Lane Johnson that elevated their draft position in Mobile this year.

 “Port City Push”

Of the 114 prospects that ended up at the Senior Bowl in at least one practice, there is little doubt that the triumvirate of “Ziggy Fisher Johnson” elevated their draft stocks from mid-to-late 1st round considerations to consensus top 10 picks. However, a host of other players got a “push” in value during the week and here are three that really maximized their opportunity in the Port City.

1. Jonathan Cyprien            Florida International         DS       6002/217/4.64

At the Sun Belt media day last July, Jonathan asked the Senior Bowl representative “if his invite was in the mail yet?” Despite the Panthers going 2-10, he concluded his 2012 season with 93 total hits, 5 pass breakups and 4 interceptions and, in fact, received his invitation to the game at the end of November. With over 300+ career tackles, his football temperament and competitive nature not only showed up on tape, but also in Mobile when he was awarded the first-ever Defensive Back Practice Award for his performances in the Monday through Wednesday workouts. He has an excellent blend of run support and coverage skills and the right kind of demeanor to contribute on all four downs as a rookie. If he is not a late 1st round selection, he will certainly go in the 2nd round on Friday night.

2. Datone Jones                    UCLA                                      DE       6037/283/4.80

Playing in a 3-4 scheme as a senior for the Bruins, Datone registered 62 total tackles, 19 tackles-for-loss and 6.5 sacks, which spurred Coach Jim Mora to phone in a recommendation to the Senior Bowl on his behalf. And in Mobile, he flourished as a defensive line candidate that fits in either the 3-4 as a 5-technique or 4-3 as a left DE. Plus, with his combination of length and athletic ability, he can also rush from the interior as a Sub down DT. Because of his scheme-versatility, some mock drafts have him sneaking into the 1st round, if not, he will definitely be a “value” choice for a club in the 2nd round and should go on to have a very secure NFL career.

3. Vance McDonald             Rice                                        TE       6041/267/4.69

Vance jumped on to the radar when Executive Director Phil Savage attended the season-opening game between UCLA and Rice on a hot, Houston night in August. He went on to catch 36 passes for 458 yards (12.7avg) and 2 touchdowns despite missing three games during the year. He has excellent measurables with his size, speed and overall test numbers (31x225, 33.5 vertical, 9’11” broad, 4.53 short shuttle, 7.08 3-Cone, and 11.73 long shuttle). In Mobile, he displayed the combination skills needed to be a successful NFL tight end because he is enough of a tie-up in-line blocker, can threaten the downfield seam from the end-of-the-line and when detached and uses his 10 1/8” hands to catch the football away from his body (his drops came on passes directly at him in a stationary position). Vance should hear his name called on Friday night with the anticipation that his drafting team will want to utilize him as a 2nd tight end/H-back who will also be a core special teams player in 2013.

Phil Savage Phil Savage is the Executive Director of the Senior Bowl. He worked 20 years in the NFL as a coach, scout and executive, including two years as the Director of Player Personnel for the Baltimore Ravens and four years as the general manager of the Cleveland Browns.