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Wisconsin senior WR Jared Abbrederis
I’d wager many who previewed this contest likely predicted Ohio State redshirt junior CB Bradley Roby would get the better of Abbrederis. They, including myself, could not have been more wrong. Abbrederis consistently lined up on the outside in single coverage against the highly touted corner. The senior used free releases to his advantage, running straight at Roby and breaking his route off once the corner abandoned his back pedal. Some might suggest Abbrederis was given too much cushion, but I believe he created it with fluid movements and precision. Separation is one skill that seems to transcend every level of football, but Abbrederis also made things happen with Roby draped over him, winning in contested situations. This surprised me. Roby is a physical corner, but Abbrederis showed proper timing and reliable hands in 50/50 situations.
Virginia Tech senior CB Kyle Fuller
Hokie senior corner Kyle Fuller has been featured here before thanks to his coverage ability. That facet of his game was overshadowed against Georgia Tech’s ground game, but Fuller rose to the occasion in his run defense. Playing the WHIP role, a glorified range linebacker, Fuller was forced to make a stand at the point of attack on multiple occasions while also displaying tight angles and closing speed from the backside. We doubt he moves off the edge in the NFL, but with the growing importance of versatile defensive backs in nickel packages, teams will appreciate his willingness and success in this situation.
Texas A&M junior T Cedric Ogbuehi
I’ll keep driving this train until someone notices. Senior left tackle Jake Matthews receives a lot of attention, deservedly so, but Ogbuehi is a legitimate first-round talent. Although lacking in buzz, Arkansas deployed two capable pass rushers in Chris Smith and Trey Flowers, but Ogbuehi and Matthews consistently kept the pocket clean. NFL evaluators covet length and lower body agility for offensive linemen, and Ogbuehi is outstanding in both categories. The future Combine star finds first contact through his hands, keeping opponents in his grasp and preventing separation. Ogbuehi does have the athleticism to mirror laterally and plant, bend, and redirect momentum after absorbing a bull rush to the chest. He’s the real deal and a possible left tackle, even if we haven’t seen him there in college.
Stanford senior LB Shayne Skov
The Cardinal inside linebacker made a name for himself in 2010 and the early parts of 2011, but a season ending injury that same season developed rust in the veteran’s game last season. Skov just doesn’t have the same range, quickness and pop on first contact to impact games like he used to. Stanford ran a lot of zone against Mike Leach’s up-tempo, quick-hitting offense. As expected, Skov took a lot of wasted steps on the middle sections of the field. He was frequently asked to flow and chase from the backside, which showed mix results. I consider Skov at his best when moving forward, but a possible liability in other areas that will be exploited.
Oregon State junior WR Brandin Cooks
Obviously former teammate Markus Wheaton became a well-known name during last year’s draft process thanks for his vertical ability and fairly mature route running. As good as Wheaton was and is, I wouldn’t bet against Cooks becoming the better player. The same speed to stretch defenses is there, but Cooks burst off the line with explosion and shows the same determination at the catch point in contested situations. His frame will be knocked, but Cooks is the real deal. He belongs in the tier below Clemson’s Sammy Watkins.