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Senior Bowl Flashback: Selvish Capers

Posted by Matt Terl on January 25, 2011 – 2:46 pm

Many of the “SLIDESHOW: 10 Guys The Redskins Are Watch At The Senior Bowl” articles that I’ve come across focus on the big tickets — the Jake Lockers, the Phil Taylors, the guys like that — but the time in Mobile can also be useful for checking out later-round projects.

Like, for example, 2010 seventh-rounder Selvish Capers. Capers spent the 2010 season on the practice squad before signing a reserve/futures contract after the season ended. No one thing ever gets a player selected, but Capers was at last year’s Senior Bowl, and you have to figure that what the scouts saw there contributed directly to his eventual draft position — and to his sticking around all season and into next year.

When I went back to see what that might have been, if there was anything specific that Capers showed in Mobile, I also got a quick lesson into why WHOSE reports you read are almost as important as WHAT they’re reporting. Check this out:

BigEastSportsBlog.com was apparently doing a series of posts “Scouting The Senior Bowl,” and the final entry discusses Capers. Here’s what it said:

Capers is the perfect example of why scouting is absolutely an art, not a science. Just as former Browns and Ravens scout Daniel Jeremiah was tweeting of Capers, “Rough week, looked like a priority free agent. Waist-bender, slow feet, no anchor,” ESPN’s McShay was writing that he “was the best offensive lineman on the South team, showing good mobility.”

Capers has always gotten to the second level well and, after starting his career as a tight end, has decent athleticism. He holds blocks downfield well, he’s generally considered to have good lateral mobility and both McShay and the National Fooball Post’s Bunting think he’d be a good fit for a zone blocking scheme. He needs to get bigger and stronger, though, especially in the lower body.

“I want to believe he can play left tackle,” Mayock said, “but he needs to work on his technique.”

Which is all pretty important to remember for two totally separate reasons:

1) Get a second opinion on anything you read. If you’re going to use other people’s reports to formulate your opinions — and that’s pretty much what you have to do, unless you’re flying out to Mobile yourself — remember that one respected evaluator (who was actually hired by the Eagles’ scouting department a few months later) was hugely critical of Capers, while the second-biggest draft evaluator on the biggest sports network in the universe was hugely complimentary.

2) Keep an eye on Selvish Capers. Aside fromJeremiah’s criticisms, all of the positives on Capers point to a guy who’s well-suited to the system the Redskins are running. He’s got a year of relatively low-pressure learning under his belt, and might be an under-the-radar candidate to be a contributor next season. And Mayock can rest easy — it seems unlikely that Capers would be asked to play left tackle over fourth-overall pick Trent Williams. By the end of last preseason, Capers had seen work at both tackle spots and guard; if he’s good enough to get on the field, this coaching staff will find a spot for him.

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