Senior Bowl 2014 Practice Wrap-Up

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Spor

Here are some practice links from days 3 & 4 and then any overall analysis.

Let's start with CSR favorite WR Jordan Matthews, who stood out all week, especially on 'Matt Jones' day:

Tight ends Lynch, Gilmore shine in red-zone drills at Senior Bowl -
Matthews, who had a couple of nice TD catches in red zone drills Thursday, was named the Reese's Senior Bowl Player of the Day. "When you look at Matthews, he looked more loose, more fluid coming in and out (of his breaks)," Jeremiah said. "Matthews every now and then will surprise you -- he has got a little extra gear and will sneak by you."

Dan Kadar has Matthews mocked to the Panthers in his latest Mock Draft:

2014 NFL mock draft: Senior Bowl week -

28. Carolina Panthers: Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt Carolina and a wide receiver is another one of those overwrought picks. In this scenario, Matthews is the best wide receiver available. Matthews has good size for a wideout and can haul in difficult catches.

If it's an offensive hog mollie you want than this guy might be available:

Senior Bowl talent level down, but could feature six 1st-rounders -
1. Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame: He was outstanding all week long. He has enough athleticism to play tackle, but he has Pro Bowl potential as a guard. 2. Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh: His combination of quickness and power was a matchup nightmare for opposing offensive lineman. He doesn't have ideal size, but he held up well in the team and run periods. 3. Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia: He has ideal size and quick feet. He's not a great knee bender, but he held up well in 1-on-1 pass-rush drills. He creates a lot of space in the run game.

I was thinking there was some good talent in this game but some disagree:

NFL GM: 'It's the worst Senior Bowl talent I've seen' -
A combination of factors contributed to the absence of more potential first-round picks at the Senior Bowl this year. Along with roughly 20 players who declined invitations because of injuries, and another nine healthy scratches who simply didn't believe they had much to gain by participating, the pool of seniors was further diluted by last year's record 73 underclassmen entering the draft early. That record was shattered 12 months later, with 98 underclassmen declaring for 2014.

More on T Zack Martin from his interview with Cahrlie at Walter football: Interview with Zack Martin at 2014 Senior Bowl

At Notre Dame, you ran a lot of zone scheme. Is that the scheme you feel that you're a better fit for? "In college, we were a big power and zone team. I didn't get a whole lot of exposure to man, so I'll just keep working that. We're doing some of that this week, and I enjoyed doing all of it."

Dan Kadar was impressed with Martin, who has the type of position flexibility the Panthers love:

Four days in Mobile: Wrapping up Senior Bowl practices -

Zach Martin, OT, Notre Dame The overarching opinion about Martin is that, at worst, he's a good offensive tackle in the NFL. The other end of that scale is that he's an All-Pro guard. Martin was used all week as the North team's left tackle, partly because of the players in attendance. Even at tackle Martin looked good driving defenders into the ground. If there's a discussion about which Senior Bowl participant gets taken first in the draft, Martin should be a part of it.

Now the big CB everyone is talking about:

Is Nebraska's Stanley Jean-Baptiste the next Richard Sherman? -
With the requisite size (6-foot-3 and 220 pounds) and coverage skills (four interceptions as a senior), Jean-Baptiste is inviting comparisons to Richard Sherman. And as Sherman showed in the NFC Championship Game, that length allows a bigger cornerback to make a play even the best traditionally built defender might miss out on. "The bigger corner can do 90 percent of the play wrong and at the last second sway that ball away, and that's what Jean-Baptiste and these other bigger corners bring to the table," said Senior Bowl executive director Phil Savage, who served as general manager of the Cleveland Browns from 2005-08.

I can't see him being around the 3rd round like many are mocking him. But I like him none the less:

Five players with the most riding on Senior Bowl performance -
Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB, Nebraska The league is trending toward bigger corners on the perimeter after watching the Seattle Seahawks make their way to Super Bowl XLVIII behind a physically imposing secondary that features long, rangy athletes on the outside. Jean-Baptiste is a former wide receiver turned cornerback with impressive physical dimensions (6-3, 220) and ball skills. He has been the top cornerback in attendance, displaying a refined game that is ideally suited to play in a scheme that features press-man coverage extensively. Although Jean-Baptiste has made a strong case to be in the discussion as a borderline Day 1 selection, a spectacular performance in the game could send the Nebraska star flying up the charts.

Moving back to the WRs we explore some later round options:

Derek Carr thrives, Adrian Hubbard struggles at Senior Bowl -
Saginaw Valley State WR Jeff Janis: If you're looking for a small-school talent to follow in the run up to the draft, I would suggest keeping an eye on Janis. The 6-3, 218-pound pass catcher has quietly emerged as one of the standouts from a talented cast of receivers in attendance. Janis has worked free from defenders using clever stems and head fakes at the top of routes. He has shown surprising separation quickness out of his breaks, creating enough space for his quarterbacks to squeeze in throws with defenders in close proximity. When I talked to an AFC executive about Janis, he threw out a Jordy Nelson comparison based on the Saginaw Valley State star's frame, athleticism and footwork. The executive went on to tell me that the big-bodied receiver hasn't appeared intimidated by the big stage, which is critical for small-school players making the jump to the NFL.

Here's an interview with a WR we have already discussed. He can return punts too: Interview with Jared Abbrederis at 2014 Senior Bowl
You've been doing lots of special teams work in practice. Is that something you're looking to do in the NFL? "I love doing punt returns. That's my favorite. If I get a chance to that I'll take advantage of that. Special teams is really important and a third of the game, so you have to be willing to do that and I'd be excited to contribute there as well."

How about a TE?

Senior Bowl Day 4 practice report -

Today's practice was all about the matchups between receivers and defensive backs. Georgia tight end Arthur Lynch continued his strong week of practice. He made several contested catches and was physically outmatching the defensive backs he went against. Colorado State's Crockett Gilmore, a late edition to the Senior Bowl, kept in stride. Crockett doesn't always target the ball at the high point, but after one catch over Vanderbilt's Kenny Ladler he emphatically dunked the football over the back of the goalpost, delighting Jaguars coaches.

One last link from the Rumor Mill I found entertaining as it related to our NFC South rival Falcons who are in sudden disarray after a terrible 2013 season: 2014 Senior Bowl Rumor Mill

Falcons owner Arthur Blank was unhappy with the depth on the Atlanta roster in 2013. General manager Thomas Dimitroff responded that the backup players are there to get the team through a game or two, but if they were good starters, they wouldn't be backups; they would be starting somewhere and making multi-million-dollar salaries. As proof of Dimitroff's point, there is no backup who is capable of replacing what Julio Jones means to the Falcons' offense. However with Blank unhappy with the depth, one can expect that Dimitroff will be looking to build up talent behind Atlanta's starters with cheap veterans and draft picks.

I think Dimitroff's honeymoon in ATL is over...

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