Early observations from prospects at the 2016 Senior Bowl

johnsigler
Jan 26, 2016; Mobile, AL, USA; North squad running back Tyler Ervin of San Jose State (7) carries the ball during Senior Bowl practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Glenn Andrews-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 26, 2016; Mobile, AL, USA; North squad running back Tyler Ervin of San Jose State (7) carries the ball during Senior Bowl practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Glenn Andrews-USA TODAY Sports /
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Sep 26, 2015; Tempe, AZ, USA; Southern California Trojans fullback Soma Vainuku (31) celebrates following the game against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 26, 2015; Tempe, AZ, USA; Southern California Trojans fullback Soma Vainuku (31) celebrates following the game against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Another player I liked going into practice and was happy to see flash some skills was USC fullback Soma Vainuku.  Vainuku is a little old for a prospect (he’ll be a 24-year old rookie) and doesn’t play a premium position, but he showed off his versatility by catching several passes out of the backfield and beating defenders with speed or physicality.  Vainuku weighed in at a very good 5-feet and 11-inches and 249-pounds, and is said to have legit 4.6-speed.  At any rate he plays fast for a guy his size.

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Vainuku is also a special teams demon and has been one of the Trojans’ leaders in special teams tackles the last few years.  He brings the team-first attitude that Saints head coach Sean Payton covets, and I expect Vainuku to be someone he falls in love with during Senior Bowl week.  One area he did show some vulnerability in was picking up rushers in the backfield; at one point in the practice-ending scrimmage, Illinois edge rusher Jihad Ward beat his blocker and collapsed the pocket, with Vainuku unable to turn an awkward perpendicular angle and pick up Ward.  That could have been a case of rusty play, but it was one bad play out of many positive ones.

Next: Temple shines

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