This is another position in which one player set himself head-and-shoulders above the rest of the participants in Mobile. Jonathan Cyprien has largely flown under the radar during his time at Florida International, but his Ed Reed-like skills were jaw dropping. He was a blur flying everywhere on the field and can be counted on play centerfield or make run fits at the line of scrimmage as well as some linebackers. Behind Kenny Vaccaro, Cyprien may be the best safety to compliment Reggie Nelson on the back end and he is guaranteed to be drawing boatloads of views on YouTube as the world rushes to catch up.
Another UGA Bulldog, Bacarri Rambo, did have a nice interception on a square-in route. Playing the zone underneath the route, Rambo broke downfield knowing that there was help over the top and ran straight to the ball. His performance was not overly spectacular, but could be a great late-round value in a ridiculously deep safety class.
T.J. McDonald showed up as advertised: an outstanding tackler and in-the-box safety. He was beaten for a touchdown on a flag route by Michael Williams, but Manuel threw the ball perfectly to his 6’5” tight end and, in trail coverage, there was not much McDonald could do about it. He may be a later-round alternative to Eric Reid.
While this may not seem like a glaring need, there are two positions to address. The first of which is left guard. Clint Boling played decently but could stand an upgrade. The other is Andrew Whitworth, who is still far and away the best technician on the line, but could definitely be upgraded.
These positions do not need an early pick, but a few players stood out as good late-round value. The first of which is Kyle Long, the Oregon product that comes from the same stock as Howie and Chris Long. Kyle is still raw, but played competently at both left tackle and left guard using his athleticism to impress. He pulled on power runs very quickly and suddenly, reaching the hole quickly to clear it out. He also showed very quick feet at left tackle, and has the length (6’7”) to effectively engage and control edge rushers.
Long sometimes struggled to anchor against a bull rush, especially when playing guard. He is very slender at 312 pounds and could stand to put on a good deal of muscle without affecting his athleticism. His career arc with the Bengals could go the same way as the similarly tall Whitworth, being used as a guard and tackle during his first couple of years as needed before being installed as a left tackle after maturing.
Right tackle Oday Aboushi from Illinois also looked the part, although his game was up and down against Datone Jones. He is 6’6” and only 310 pounds, which is more of a left tackle build. He had some very good moments and some very poor moments, but played like he could be another second day value selection. When he plays with good technique and proper knee bend he has the tools to mirror an edge rusher.
Because of his small-school stature, Arkansas Pine Bluff’s Terron Armstead’s solid game was perhaps even more overshadowed than by Oklahoma’s Lane Johnson. Johnson, a former tight end and quarterback, has off-the-charts athleticism, functional strength and technique that is surprisingly sound considering his lack of experience at tackle. Armstead is middling across the board and looked unathletic in direct comparison to Johnson. Still, Armstead could be an Anthony Collins type player that should be considered in the later rounds if he is still available.