What follows are the
players that popped from watching the Senior Bowl and the Senior
Bowl practices on the NFL Network. In the coming weeks I will
review the game and practices in more detail to get a better
feel for all the players. So consider this my "top
level" analysis. As I study the game and practices in more
detail, some of these players could be removed from my list and
others could find themselves on my list.
QB, E.J. Manuel, Florida State- None of the quarterbacks,
in practice, or the game jumped out as a "must have"
quarterback prospect. However, Manuel had the best game showing
an NFL arm and making some nice throws. Of the rest of the
group, Glennon and Dysert had their moments showing a good arm,
but inconsistent accuracy; Landry looked the part of a good NFL
quarterback in practice, but had a poor game when the pressure
was the greatest and that is his supposed weakness heading into
the draft; Wilson looks like a fit for a West Coast offense, but
didn't demonstrate good arm strength; and Nassib didn't jump out
for me at all either in practice or during the game.
RB, Kenjon Barner, Oregon – Barner caught my eye during
practice and followed that up with a solid game. While he only
got three carries, he showed excellent receiving ability in the
game. During practice he competed well in one-on-one blocking
drills. Barner has the look of a solid change-of-pace, third
RB, Mike Gillislee, Florida – Much of the talk during
the week of practice was that Gillislee was a change-of-pace
back. After getting a look at him in the game, I believe he
could, at worst, be part of a two-back system. Gillislee had a
solid game, showing quickness , speed and the ability to run
between the tackles.
RB, Stephan Taylor, Stanford – Taylor was touted as the
sole three-down back at the Senior Bowl and he didn't
disappoint. He had some nice in the game runs showing toughness
and enough speed to get to the corner. I will be watching him
closely at the Combine to get a better feel for his speed and
RB, Jonathan Franklin, UCLA – Franklin showed quickness
and the ability to make sharp cuts during the game. He has the
look of a solid change-of-pace back at the next level.
RB, Mike James, Miami – A late add to the game, James
makes this list, not because of great stats in the game, but
because he has the look of a player that a team will covet as a
bottom of the roster type. Don't get me wrong, that doesn't mean
he isn't that good of a player. It's just that he does a lot of
things well. He excelled in special teams coverage, caught the
ball, and ran hard.
WR, Quinton Patton, Louisiana Tech – Patton was shut
out in the game, but had an excellent week during practice. He
consistently beat coverage and showed good hand. Most had him as
the top receiver during the week of practice. I had him second
on my list.
WR, Markus Wheaton, Oregon State – I had Wheaton, not
only as the best receiver during Senior Bowl practice, but one
of the top players period. How Charles Davis didn't have him on
his receiver list in the pregame show, I'll never know. Wheaton
followed up his superb week of practice with a solid game. If I
were an NFL team, I would target this kid. He is going to be a
very good NFL player.
WR, Marquise Goodwin, Texas – Goodwin, who appears to
have tremendous speed, had a nice week of practice, and followed
that up showing good hands, catching 5 balls in the game. While
I heard whispers of Mike Wallace comparisons during the
week-long coverage, I'm not ready to go there yet. Wallace is a
bigger receiver than Goodwin. I remember players in the past,
such as David Clowney, who showed speed and who I thought would
be solid NFL players. Goodwin did impress enough, however, to
make doing more research on him a priority.
WR, Conner Vernon, Duke – Every year I find a receiver
or two who have great hands, can get open, and can be solid NFL
players if they land in a situation where they can be given the
opportunity to succeed. These players aren't stars, but are
valuable sub-package receivers who help offenses move the
chains. Based on his college game and what I saw in the game,
Vernon could be one of those guys this year.
TE, Jack Doyle, Western Kentucky – Doyle Was the only
tight end I noticed at all during my live watching of practice.
In the game he caught one ball for 22 yards.
TE, Michael Williams, Alabama – Williams had a couple
of down-the-field catches, including a 20 yard touchdown catch.
OT, Eric Fisher, Central Michigan – Fisher showed up,
big time, during the one-on-ones in practice, although, on first
glance he didn't pop in the game.
OT, Lane Johnson, Oklahoma – Johnson also dominated in
the one-on-one drills in practice. He also had some excellent
blocks in both the run game and pass protection during the game.
OT, David Quessenberry, San Jose State – Quessenberry
was the surprise (at least to me) star on the one-on-one
blocking drills during practice. He could be a steal later in
OT, Xavier Nixon, Florida – While he didn't get
mentioned as often as many of the other offensive lineman during
the televised practice sessions, I made a mental note that Nixon
was performing well in the one-on-one drills.
OG, Larry Warford, Kentucky – Warford had a good week
of practice and also was highlighted making some nice blocks in
OG, Justin Pugh, Syracuse – While was as consistently
dominating in one-on-one's in practice and in the game; he had
enough positive moments to make my list.
OC, Brain Schwenke, California – A Mike Mayock favorite
during the game and practice telecasts, watching him, you could
understand why. He had an excellent week and game.
DE, Datone Jones, UCLA – Jones had an excellent week in
the one-on-one drills and followed up his excellent week of
practice by showing good pass rushing skills in the game.
DE, Ekekial Ansah, BYU – Ansah was very inconsistent in
practice, but got better as the week wore on and finished with a
terrific game. He showed both speed and power pass rushing moves
and made a nice play or two that I noticed on first glance
against the run.
DE, Cornelius Washington, Georgia – Washington was just
off this list based on practice (he flashed, but just not quite
enough), but then also flashed a couple of times showing good
pass rush skills in the game, so thew flashes added up to a
player to watch going forward who could be a good get later in
DT, Kawaan Short, Purdue – Short caught my eye during
practice and then followed it up with a nice game. He not only
stuffed the run, but got good push and penetration against the
DT, John Jenkins, Georgia – A big kid, Jenkins looked
very athletic for a 350-plus pound nose tackle. Jenkins showed
up more in practice than in the game on first watch.
DT, Brandon Williams, Missouri Southern – Williams
played the run well I the game and alternated between winning
and losing one-on-one's in practice; which was to be expected
since he appears to a run-stuffer, not a pass rusher.
OLB, Sio Moore, Connecticut – Moore was a late add from
the East West Shrine Game, where he made my top 15 list from
that game. Therefore, he got to practice later in the week, but
still popped on a couple of occasions. He followed that up with
an impressive game. I like this kid; he is going to be one of
those players who perform better in the NFL than many drafted
higher than him.
ILB, Steve Beauhamais, Rutgers – Based on the nature of
the coverage of Senior Bowl practice, it is difficult to get a
read on linebackers. However, Beauchamais did catch my eye on a
couple of occasions, and then I noticed a nice play on a run in
ILB, Kevin Reddick, North Carolina – Reddick was the
another linebacker who caught my attention a bit during
practice. He then made a couple of nice plays against both the
run and pass in the game.
ILB, Vince Williams, Florida State – Williams was very
active in the game. He is a big-hitter.
CB, Desmond Trufant, Washington – Outside special teams, I
did not notice Trufant that much during the game, which could be
a good thing; I need to watch the game again to study how
Trufant did in coverage. However, he was an absolute star during
practice playing both tight and off coverage. He had the look of
a potential NFL lock-down corner.
CB, Robert Alford, Southeastern Louisiana – Alford
looked very good in the one-on-one's in practice and followed
that up with an excellent game. Out of all the talented corners
in the game Alford stood out the most.
CB, Jordan Poyer, Oregon State – Poyer had a solid week
of practice, showing a nose for the ball and followed that up
with a solid game. Poyer has the look of an "Asante
Samuel" type of corner who covers well, gets and causes
turnovers, but gets beat on occasion.
CB, Blidi Wreh-Wilson, Connecticut – While Weh-Wilson
had his good moments during practice, he is on this list because
he followed that up with a nice game. I noticed him doing a good
job in coverage a couple times (which probably will mean more
after I review the game tape).
CB, Marc Anthony, California – I didn't notice Anthony
in the game, but he did stand out in a few of the one-on-one
drills during practice.
S, Jonathan Cyprien, Florida International – Cyprien
looked very good playing the run during the game. The kid can
hit and makes up ground in a hurry. He also competed well in
one-on-one drills, covering tight ends well, but did struggle,
as expected, against receivers.
S, J.J. Wilcox, Georgia Southern – Wilcox is on this
list because he looked good in coverage during the one-on-one
drills during practice, even against receivers. A safety who can
cover is a valuable commodity.
S, Shawn Williams, Georgia – Shawn Williams had a nice
week of practice, I didn't notice him while watching the game
S, Duke Williams, Nevada – Duke Williams also popped a
bit during practice and he also had a big hit in the game.