Shawn Zobel

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Senior Bowl in Review

Sunday, January 31, 2010


This year's Senior Bowl offered several players a chance to raise their 2010 NFL Draft stock. Some took advantage of the opportunity while others hurt themselves and will likely suffer in late April because of it. Here's a breakdown of the players who were the risers and fallers of the 2010 Senior Bowl:

Risers

Kyle Wilson CB Boise State – No player in Mobile helped himself more than Boise State cornerback Kyle Wilson. Wilson was a shutdown defensive back all week, playing in both press- and off-man coverage, and closing down his side of the field for the entire week. At the beginning of the week I mentioned on my site that I was looking for one cornerback to establish himself as the top senior. Wilson did. The former Bronco was outstanding this week and showed the type of skills and talent that scouts see in a starting, shutdown-type of cornerback in the NFL. Wilson came into the week as a second-to-third round pick and now has a very good chance of going in the first round if he performs well at the Combine in Indianapolis.

Dexter McCluster RB/WR Ole Miss – Coming in as a quick scat back who could return kicks, Ole Miss' Dexter McCluster will leave Mobile as a player with starting potential who will offer teams at the next level an extremely dangerous player who is capable of playing running back, receiver, and return kicks. McCluster had a great senior year, but didn't receive much exposure for it because Ole Miss was a disappointing team. McCluster elevated his draft stock from the middle of the draft to the second-to-third round as likely the second senior running back off the board after Clemson's C.J. Spiller.

Mike Iupati OG IdahoMike Iupati came to Mobile with one question: how would he do against superior competition after playing in the lower-ranks at Idaho. Iupati completely answered that question and showed scouts that he has the potential to be a dominant force on the offensive line. He also showed that he's capable of playing not just offensive guard, but tackle as well, which will help his draft stock tremendously. Iupati is easily one of the, if not the top offensive lineman in this year's draft and is a near-lock to be taken in the Top 15 of the upcoming draft.

Brandon Graham DE Michigan – The complete defensive end for the Wolverines had an excellent week in Mobile. Brandon Graham was the top pass rusher in attendance and showed that he's capable of going up against bigger offensive linemen as an end and still getting to the quarterback. Graham has a knack for getting into the backfield and making plays, something that will draw heavy interest from teams at the next level. If Graham can develop into anything near the player that his former teammate LaMarr Woodley has turned into, then he should be a great player in the NFL. I have Graham ranked as a second round pick.

Alex Carrington DE Arkansas State – Carrington was a big unknown coming into Mobile, however he certainly showed up and made his presence clear. Carrington carried a mid-to-late round grade into this week and leaves with as a hot name in scouting circles. Carrington showed the power and strength needed to be a starting defensive end in the 4-3 defense in the NFL. He could go as high as the third to fourth round with a good Combine workout.

Cam Thomas DT North Carolina – Cam Thomas was a nightmare for opposing offensive linemen this week. The strength and power that he showed on the interior of the line was extremely impressive and he showed the type of brute force that scouts look for in the type of fire-hydrant defensive tackle that teams like to plug on the interior of their offensive line. Thomas was another player who had a mid-late round draft grade coming into the week but leaves with a third-to-fourth round grade.

Shawn Lauvao OG Arizona State – Lauvao was very impressive on the interior of the offensive line this week. The former Sun Devil showed excellent strength and great leverage at guard as he held up against Penn State's Jared Odrick and actually dominated at times this week. A player who wasn't valued very highly a week ago, Lauvao has risen up draft boards and now could go in the middle of the draft as a nice prospect at the guard position.

Taylor Price WR OhioTaylor Price was the most impressive wide receiver in attendance this week. The quick and agile receiver showed explosion in and out of his breaks and was clearly one of the most polished players in attendance this week. What impressed me the most about Price this week was the way he is able to make acrobatic catch after acrobatic catch; he does a fantastic job of catching the ball away from his body. Price went from the middle of the draft likely being taken within the first three rounds. Price has the potential to be a nice No. 2 or No. 3 receiver at the next level.

Geno Atkins DT GeorgiaGeno Atkins established himself as one of the top pass rushing defensive tackles in this year's draft. His quick-twitch, agile moves off the snap with extremely active hands showed scouts that he's capable of being a great pass rusher from the interior of the offensive line. Atkins was a player who was nearly un-blockable this week as he dominated the opposing centers and guards. I'd expect to see Atkins be drafted at the latest by the fourth round.

Dan Williams DT Tennessee – What was most impressive about Dan Williams this week was that he came to Mobile off a terrific senior year, however some scouts questioned whether he was just a one-year wonder. Williams all but ensured that he will be taken within the top 60 picks, and has a chance to go in the late-first round. Another fire-hydrant type of defensive tackle who is nearly immovable on the interior of the line, Williams has all of the tools needed to be a one-technique in the 4-3 defense at the next level.

Myron Rolle S Florida State – The Rhodes Scholar didn't play a down of football in 2009 as he studied at Oxford, however you wouldn't have been able to tell that this week. Rolle was one of the most polished players in attendance and showed outstanding quickness and agility in the open field with smooth hips. Rolle has all of the talent and tools needed to be a starting free safety in the NFL. What some don't remember is that Rolle was a terrific safety in college and would have gone in the first two rounds if he hadn't skipped one year; while he didn't play football this year, it really will make him fresh as a player for the 2010 season. Rolle answered every question that scouts had on him this week and ensured that he should be taken within the first three rounds of the draft.

Jimmy Graham TE Miami (FL) – The former basketball player-turned football player had a terrific week at the Senior Bowl. Graham showed up as one of the most physically-impressive players at the weigh-in and turned in an even better performance on the field. He showed the speed and agility needed to stretch the seam vertically and be a nice option for his quarterback down the field. Graham is a but raw as a prospect, however he has the type of talent that you can't pass on. It may be a bit much to say that Graham will be the next Antonio Gates, however he certainly does have a load of untapped potential that teams at the next level can't wait to get to. Graham should be off the board at the latest in the fifth round.

Fallers

Tim Tebow QB Florida – It was pretty clear this week that Florida quarterback Tim Tebow is far more of a project than most scouts and coaches initially anticipated. Tebow's footwork seemed to improve this week, but that was about it. The former Heisman-winning quarterback's elongated throw is even more apparent when you see him in person. His delivery is so slow that it's a wonder that more defensive backs in college didn't intercept more of his passes. While one team (Jacksonville) could still take Tebow in the first round for reasons other than what he will do on the field, it's pretty apparent now that the talk of Tebow going in the first round has come to a close. I had Tebow rated as a second-round pick coming into this week, however that seems too high now. Tebow has the arm of a second-or-third string quarterback in the NFL, but he has the intangibles of an MVP-type of quarterback. At this point, I'd project Tebow as a third-to-fourth rounder, but even now it may still be too early to know for sure where he will go. Tebow needs to have a good workout at the Combine to help salvage some sort of positive production this offseason.

Selvish Capers OT West Virginia – Selvish Capers really was not himself this week. He's an extremely athletic tackle with a large frame and showed at West Virginia that he has the talent needed to be a starting offensive tackle at the next level. However, this week he was beaten continuously and showed that he's far more of a raw prospect than most scouts assumed. Capers played right tackle in college, but was moved to left tackle at times at the Senior Bowl and failed miserably there. I had Capers rated as a late-first to early-second round pick coming into the week, however I could see him falling to the third round after this week. He is too raw to make an immediate impact, and if he is only able to play right tackle in the NFL, then his draft stock will take even more of a hit.

Vladimir Ducasse – Ducasse came into the week with tons of hype and attention and lived up to just about none of it. It was clear that he is incredibly talented and has outstanding athleticism, however he's also extremely raw and will need at least one, if not two years to develop in the NFL. Ducasse played tackle at the Senior Bowl, which is where he will likely play in the NFL. I'd expect to see Ducasse selected in the third-to-fourth round. Unless he has a great Combine workout, which is possible with his talent and athleticism, I wouldn't expect to see him go in the first two rounds, he's just too risky of a pick at this point.

Terrence Cody DT Alabama – Showing up at 370 lbs, clearly out of shape, and with the body type that would have made Andre Smith look twice to see if it was for real, Terrence Cody ensured that he may be one of the more risky picks in this year's first round. The mammoth defensive tackle played well this week, but the weigh-in scared a lot of coaches and scouts. If he can gain 15-20 lbs between the National Championship Game and the Senior Bowl, imagine how much weight he could gain in one offseason in the NFL. I understand that Alabama has great food, but that's not a good enough excuse for the large weight gain in just a few weeks. Cody needs to seriously start taking this process seriously or he could fall to the end of the first round, if not further.

O'Brien Schofield DE Wisconsin – O'Brien Schofield suffered a torn ACL on the first day of practice, effectively taking him out of action until early-next season at the earliest. For a player who relies on explosion and quickness, Schofield's reconstructed knee is going to scare teams away. What Schofield needs to hope for is that a team will draft him in the middle of the draft and stash him away on injured reserve for next season as they let him rehab, develop, and get accustomed to life in the NFL, kind of like a redshirt year. Schofield went from the third-to-fourth round to a late-round pick who will have to prove himself again once he gets to the NFL. It really was an unfortunate injury for Schofield.


Shawn Zobel runs Draftheadquarters.com
Email :Shawn Zobel



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