One of the most fascinating weeks on the NFL draft calendar officially kicked off today as the 2021 Reese’s Senior Bowl is now underway in its regular home in Mobile, Alabama.
The festivities began this morning with the weigh-in process. These weigh-ins are so important because it gives us a chance to look at prospects for who they truly are. Height and weight listings under school biography pages can often be generous, and the same home cooking often occurs at Pro Days as well.
Getting a gauge for things like wingspan and arm length can be difficult on film. That’s where today comes in handy.
Here are five prospects that looked great at this morning’s weigh-ins.
Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama
Alex Leatherwood came in at 6-foot-5 and 312 pounds with 34 3/8″ arms. His wingspan of 85 3/8″ places him in the 98th overall percentile for all offensive tackles. Those are excellent measurements for a versatile player that has seen time at both tackle and guard over the past two years.
The numbers are hardly a surprise. On tape, Leatherwood is a long and thick prospect that does his best work in pass protection where his smooth sets really shine through. There has been some whispers that some see Leatherwood as a guard at the next level, but I’m not sure how you don’t play him at the tackle position after seeing those measurements.
Baron Browning, LB, Ohio State
Baron Browning had a terrific day. Browning’s dynamic profile was well on display as he measured in at 6-foot-3 and 241 pounds with an 81-inch wingspan and 33-inch arms. Both the arm length and wingspan places him well above the 93rd percentile of all inside linebackers at the next level.
A prolific athlete, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Browning run the 40-yard dash in and around the 4.50 mark, either. Browning’s athletic ability pops up on tape in flashes. It’s a tad disappointing that he never reached his full potential at Ohio State, but Browning has the size, length and burst worth betting on at the next level.
Ifeatu Melifonwu, CB, Syracuse
There may be some questions about where Ifeatu Melifonwu best fits in at the next level, but nobody can question the measurables. At 6-foot-2, 212 pounds, it’s entirely possible teams will see him as a big nickel instead of the cornerback role he played at Syracuse.
Regardless of where Melifonwu lines up in the NFL, he has the length and range to become a real defensive weapon. His older brother Obi Melifonwu made some money throughout his own pre-draft process by showing off his athletic build. We would bet on a similar outcome for Ifeatu. He’s going to get drafted earlier than you think.
Deonte Brown, OG, Alabama
We all knew that Deonte Brown was big, but I don‘t think anyone was expecting this. He actually came in at 364 pounds, 14 pounds heavier than Alabama listed him at. Turn the tape on and it doesn’t take long to see that Brown lives up to every pound of his massive frame. A beefy and sturdy blocker, Brown possesses outstanding strength in his hands. He’s a human bulldozer that does his best work in a phone booth.
Brown may not be high on every team’s draft board due to his lack of position and scheme versatility, but some team is going to get a Day 1 starter when they draft Brown in the top 64.
Payton Turner, DL, Houston
LENGTH. FOR. DAYS. Turner has been an underrated name throughout this process so far, but I expect that to change now that the official measurements are in. Turner came in at 6-foot-5 and 270 pounds with an 84-inch wingspan and 35-inch arms. The arm length places Turner in the 92nd percentile while his massive wingspan is in the 99th percentile when compared to his NFL counterparts.
Despite playing in just a handful of games in 2020, Turner recorded a career high in sacks with five. He also recorded 10.5 tackles for loss, good for an average of two tackles for loss per game. This is very much an ascending prospect who is going to drop a lot of jaws in Mobile this week.