Senior Bowl Recap & Draft Thoughts
The Senior Bowl is one of my favorite football events, besides the draft. After watching the game, here are my thoughts as to who did well, and who didn’t. While the combine, which has yet to transpire, may help and hurt player’s stock, their stock is probably now settling. Therefore, I will also include draft
Stock Boosted Wayyy Up:
Christian Ponder- Was best QB at Senior Bowl, hands down, throwing 7/13 for 132 yards and 2 TDs. To me, he looks like a taller and more composed Jimmy Clausen, a good West Coast QB. As far as the draft goes, in my opinion, he's the best QB in the class and will be the first chosen. Also like Clausen, Ponder has the talent to go in the top 10, but if he does slide, the mid second round would be the farthest he could fall. Jim Harbaugh in San Francisco may have found his West Coast QB in Ponder, and could very well take him.
Leonard Hankerson- Besides Ponder, the biggest winner of the Senior Bowl was undoubtedly ‘Hank.' Bringing in 5 catches for 100 yards and a TD, he was unstoppable. Had a field day against any and all corners, and was each QBs preferred target. Really showed that he is for real, and drastically improved his stock. Guaranteed that scouts will reevaluate him based on this performance. Went from being a mid rounder to possible second rounder with this performance.
Bilal Powell- Who? This RB from Louisville produced 51 yards on 10 carries. Although the South's line dominated, he looked great while Noel Devine looked like a clown.
Von Miller- Looks like the real deal ladies and gents. Although he didn't play for long, was dominating and had everyone singing his praises. With 4 tackles and 2 TFL in a very short stint, while also playing out of position in a 4-3, Von Miller's stock is flying high. Was definitely a first rounder before the bowl, however he might be top 5 consideration now. If Buffalo is that desperate for an OLB that they'll take in Merriman, it is very possible that they take Von Miller with their top pick.
Ryan Kerrigan- Notched 5 tackles, 3 TFL, and 1 sack while playing in almost a entire half. VERY impressive. Was compared to the Energizer Bunny because he was doing circles around O-lineman. While Kerrigan was a first rounder, he's now likely in top 10 consideration.
Kendric Burney- The CB that has been making a name for himself dominating the SB practices had a great day. Although he was fooled by Hankerson a bit, he notched 7 tackles and 1 pass breakup. Other than his mismatch with Hank, he shutdown WRs and severely limited them to any YAC. His height might hurt his stock, however this performance boosted it, and Cover 2 teams like Chicago will be paying close attention to Burney. Really made a name for himself and separated him from many of the other CBs. Went from mid to late rounder to possible 3rd rounder.
Ricky Stanzi- Had a good day, throwing 7/12 for 87 yards. Had a nice drive going, and looked like a good leader. 3rd round and up is where I think he most likely will go.
Ian Williams- A lesser known DT in this class, Williams was a great NT. Although he didn't put up great numbers during the season, he notched 5 tackles, 1 TFL, and 1 sack. Really boosted his stock. Went from being a late rounder to possible middle rounder.
Phil Taylor- The 337 pounder NT from Baylor, really showed that he can move his weight around. Is probably cemented as the top NT and likely 2-3rd rounder.
James Carpenter- Surprisingly, Carpenter didn't switch positions. Even though scouts consider him an OG at the next level, he played OT and played it startlingly well. Has great bulk for the run game and good agility to face DEs. 3rd round is likely his ceiling.
Sam Acho- The DE from Texas did remarkably well in the game, with 3 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 FF, and 1 sack. Personally, I was worried about him being big and strong enough to take on Pro-level OTs, however he did well. Also made 6-9 Solder look like a fool. Likely 2nd-4th rounder.
Brooks Reed- DE from Arizona looked great, with 3 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sack, and 1 QB hurry. Looks like might be a good 3-4 OLB, possibly 4rd-6th round.
Stock Middling/Relatively Unchanged:
Greg McElroy- Completing 5/8 for 36 yards, his stats are impressive, however McElroy looked like a solid QB who had his stuff together. Unfortunately a wrist injury sidelined him. Don't think the bowl really hurt his stock, but not sure it's really going to boost it much. Most likely a late round QB.
Colin Kaepernick- Threw 4/9 for 53 yards and 1 INT, although the INT really wasn't his fault (the TE tipped it up into the air). Has an akward throwing motion, that is a hybrid football-baseball motion. Will need to correct some technique flaws, but looks very interesting. To me, he shares a lot of similarities with Tony Pike. Both are accomplished, tall, mobile, and projects. And Kaepernick, like Pike, will probably be picked in the later rounds because he really is a project. The absolute highest he would be picked is probably the 5th round.
Sione Fua- Stout is this guy's middle name. He really earns his living anchoring and eating up running lanes. Only had 3 tackles and 1 TFL, but commanded double teams at times and was as stout as they come. Although Fua can free LBs from OL, he isn't much of a factor in the passing game. Not much of a push there. Stock is relatively unchanged since he didn't really do anything that we aren't aware of. Likely mid rounder. Good fit in 3-4 and 4-3.
Cameron Jordan- The 3-4 DE from Cal did exceptionally well in the 4-3, producing 5 tackles and 1 TFL. Showed great strength and great agility to chase down RBs and QBs. Stock is relatively unchanged as he'll be a late 1st rounder.
Mark Herzlich- The remarkable LB who overcame cancer looked good. Made good reads and was usually in the right place at the right time. Only had 3 tackles, but looked good nonetheless. Like James Laurinaitis and Dan Connor, Herzlich is probably one of the best MLBs (besides freak Bruce Carter) in the draft and will probably be a 2nd-3rd rounder.
DJ Williams and Luke Stocker- Both surprised me with their blocking skills. Stocker took on DEs all by himself and stood his ground, and Williams paved the way for the struggling Devine to take it into the paint. They didn't catch a ball though. And Stocker couldn't shake off Casey Matthews who was all over him. Most likely 3rd-4th rounders.
Christian Ballard- Only had 2 tackles, but was impressive showing good strength and push. Not sure if he's a DE or DT, or a better fit for 3-4 or 4-3 teams. Not sure where he'll be drafted either. 4th-6th round sounds about right.
LBs Casey Matthews, Kelvin Sheppard, Mason Foster, Greg Jones- Good performances. 2nd round and up.
Jake Locker- Senior Bowl only hurt his stock because it really cemented what scouts already think about him. Although he threw 6/10 for 98 yards, he struggled with his accuracy, and scouts most likely took note of it. Mayock broke down his accuracy issues very well, associating his football throwing motion with his baseball throwing motion as he begins throwing with his feet very compactly expanding to a very wide throwing stance. In the pros, this just won't work. He won't have the time nor space in the pocket to begin this windup, not to mention it affecting his accuracy. As far as I'm concerned, Locker is a poor, very poor man's Tim Tebow, sans accomplishments and legacy. Like Tebow, he is a big mobile QB who'll definitely need to work on his technique. Also like Tebow, he will probably be a second rounder, but a desperate team like Seattle or Minnesota could pick him or trade up to get him late in the first, though it's probably unlikely.
Andy Dalton- 3/7 for 22 yards isn't lighting it up. Wasn't in for a long time, however wasn't all too impressive. Stock definitely took a hit. I'd say a late round QB.
Allen Bailey- Where were ya bud? Didn't see ya the entire game, and nor do I see you on the stat sheet. Bailey was completely ineffective and sometimes taken over by TEs. To me looks like he'll be the Charles Johnson of this draft. Like CJ, Bailey is a big, not overly quick or fast, country strong DE/DT who produced decent stats in college. Although was once talked about as a first rounder, however he'll likely slip to the 2nd and even 3rd round, like Johnson.
Anthony Castonzo and Nate Solder- Despite their great size, they struggled. Especially against smaller, quicker DEs like Brooks Reed and Sam Acho. Solder is a dominant run blocker and great in space, but is a liability when he puts it in reverse. To me, they look like RTs, not LTs. And they'll probably go mid first-2nd round. It is entirely possible for Solder to fall into the 3rd round also, because he shares a lot of similarities with draft fallee Bruce Campbell.
Noel Devine- You really have to do a lot to have your stock plummet, however Devine just stunk. Although the South had the better O-line, he wasn't able to use his speed and size to his advantage. 7 carries for 8 yards is pretty pathetic. Might just be a product of a triple option scheme. Don't know where he might get drafted after this lousy performance. Was probably a mid round pick, but now might be a late round pick now, if he's even picked at all.
DeMarcus Love- Needed a map out there because he was lost. DEs were doing circles around him, and he had to facemask DEs like Kerrigan just to keep them from getting to the QB. Very slow to get into position. A late round pick, very late.