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Cover 4

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Cover 4: Takeaways from college all-star games


The crew shares takeaways from College All-Star Week at the Senior and Shrine Bowls:

John Schmeelk: The offensive line hype in this draft is strong, and it is deserved. The Senior Bowl featured five potential first-round offensive linemen in Taliese Fuaga, Tyler Guyton, Kingsley Suamataia, Jackson Powers-Johnson (center/guard), and Jordan Morgan. None of those players did anything to calm down their hype, though Jordan Morgan might be considered a guard by some teams measuring in with arms under 33 inches long.

In addition to that group, non-All-Star game offensive tackles Joe Alt, Olu Fashanu, JC Latham, Amarius Mims, and Troy Fautanu (seen by some as a guard) will also be first-round selections. The list of second-round tackles is a bit shorter, though Washington's Roger Rosengarten and Patrick Paul (both at the Senior Bowl) could make the argument for Day 2 selections, even if they aren't top 50 selections. It tells me that if a team wants an impactful offensive tackle in this class, they will be able to get one, though they better target one in the first round.

There should be, however, plenty of interior offensive linemen available on the second day of the draft. Duke's Graham Barton, a tackle who will likely convert into center or guard in the pros, could be an early second-round pick. Kansas State's Cooper Beebe, a mauling guard, should also be available on the second day of the draft. Other potential Day 2 guards that attended all-star games include Christian Haynes, Christian Mahogany, Dominick Puni, and Javion Cohen. An interior lineman can be found a bit later in the draft if a team wants to target one.

View photos from the 75th edition of the college all-star game and the week of practices in Mobile, Alabama.

Dan Salomone: College all-star games are all about opportunities, but not just for the players. Some members of the Giants' staff took on elevated roles last week in Frisco and Mobile. Offensive coordinator Mike Kafka served as head coach of the West Team at the Shrine Bowl, where offensive assistant Angela Baker also oversaw the tight ends. At the Senior Bowl, meanwhile, quarterbacks coach Shea Tierney and assistant special teams coach Mike Adams served as coordinators.

"There's definitely a lot of collaboration, talking through schedules and where everyone's supposed to be and making sure our coaches are on the same page," Kafka told Schmeelk when asked about what he learned from running his own team for a week. "I think that's the one thing is making sure we just over-communicate, not leave anything to chance and make sure that we're detailed about it, and if things happen, we adjust and adapt."

Kafka, a former NFL quarterback who played in the Shrine Bowl coming out of Northwestern, relished the chance after he once again drew head coaching interest in the NFL ranks this offseason.

"It's an awesome opportunity," Kafka said. "This all-star game has grown and developed so much since I played 12 years ago. It's an awesome opportunity for me to jump in there and lead a team and grow there and then also support a great organization."

Of course, it also helped to get more intel on the prospects.

"You get an opportunity to see them face to face and be in a meeting with them, which is rare," Kafka said. "You see how they learn, you see how they interact with the other players, you see how they interact with the coaches, how they take coaching, and then you get an opportunity to talk to them. We have a full team of scouts and our GM Joe Schoen is here. We've got a big contingent out here that we can get some good information and actually meet with these guys and interview them. There's a couple of different levels to it."

Lance Medow: If anyone helped his cause the most, it would be South Carolina quarterback Spencer Rattler, who capped off a strong string of practices with an efficient showing in the game, completing all four of his passes for 65 yards over two series. Rattler played his last two seasons with the Gamecocks after starting his career at Oklahoma and threw for a career-high 3,186 yards in 2023 after being plagued by turnovers the previous campaign. After the first wave of signal callers, Rattler could very well be in the conversation.

As far as the wide receiver position goes, two names worth mentioning are Florida's Ricky Pearsall, who made a name for himself during 1-on-1 drills, and Luke McCaffrey of Rice, who secured a one-handed catch in the game and further proved the McCaffrey family has yet another potential NFL standout following his father, Ed, and brother, Christian. They both have appealing frames, a knack for getting open, and the ability to record explosive plays. Pearsall stands at 6-3 with Luke at 6-2.

On the defensive side, Washington State corner Chau Smith-Wade continued his opportunistic ways with a pair of interceptions, one of which he returned for 83 yards just shy of the end zone. Smith-Wade had three picks in his four-year career with the Cougars but tallied 14 passes defensed in his last two seasons, an indication of how well he can track the ball. His athleticism was on full display in Mobile, a positive development for a player who missed five games in 2023 due to injury.

NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah released his first ranking of the top 50 prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft.


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