This week in the Senior Bowl 2014 NFL prospects were given an opportunity to improve their draft status which can certainly impact their contracts and financial bottom line. Each year some guys help themselves while others may actually hurt themselves during the week.
First a look at the prospects that I think are on the move up after the Senior Bowl and then those who may be trending down now.
STOCK on the RISE
DT Aaron Donald– Donald had a very productive college career at Pittsburg but was still a NFL prospect that many weren’t very familiar with. That all changed with just a few practices this week as Donald proved too quick to block. In the 4th quarter of the game Donald came up the middle and pressured the QB and effectively altered the throw which resulted in a interception.
Donald was named the top player at practice for the week.
Some choose to point out that Donald doesn’t represent ideal size at 6’0 tall, but with his outstanding quickness, he will be ideal as 3 technique in a 4-3 defense like the Dallas Cowboys run for example. (You need this guy Jerry Jones)
At the start of the Senior Bowl week, Donald was considered a 2nd round pick but now it appears highly unlikely that he will make it out of the first round.
QB Derek Carr– Scouts were impressed with the play of Carr during practices this week and he clearly separated himself from the rest of the pack of QBs at the Senior Bowl as the best prospect. Carr displays a big arm that NFL scouts like to see and he performed well in the game going 7/11, 45 yards, 1 TD.
Currently Carr is expected to get drafted late in the 1st round or perhaps in the 2nd round. His play this week may push him up into the 1st round for sure.
QB Jimmy Garoppolo– Garoppolo is the QB who played at Tony Romo’s school Eastern Illinois and smashed many of his records. Scouts wanted to see how he would play against a higher level of competition and Jimmy actually performed pretty good. Scouts love his quick release in passing the ball and he showed during the game that he can pass well on the move while rolling out. Jimmy also shows a nice touch on his throws.
What he doesn’t show however is a really strong NFL type arm and that may make teams draft him a little later. During the game, Jimmy went 6/12 for 32 yards. Currently he is rated as a 2nd round pick and during the week he helped establish himself as a solid NFL prospect.
DE/OLB Dee Ford– Ford had a great game as he was constantly flying into the backfield chasing the QBs. He finished the game with 2 sacks and a pass knocked down. All week scouts talked about how quickly he glided around offensive tackles and he didn’t disappoint in the game. Ford could be considered a DE in a 4-3 defense as a bit of a pass rush specialist but he is being looked at as a OLB for a 3-4. I think both schemes are going to like what he can do.
Ford who was named MVP of the Senior Bowl, is considered a 2nd round pick but he may have improved his status this week as his performance in the game reminds me of defensive lineman Ziggy Ansah in the Senior Bowl last year who the Lions drafted in the first round in 2013. It’s difficult to imagine Ford remaining on the board long now.
OT Zack Martin- Martin’s name was mentioned often this week as performing well in blocking some very talented defensive linemen. Martin who played tackle at Notre Dame, is likely to move to guard at the next level but he showed this week that he can help an NFL offensive line at either spot.
Martin definitely helped himself this week in establishing himself as a 1st round pick.
RB James White– As far as RBs go, White had the best game finishing with 61 yards and a TD. Ranked as a 5th round pick but his stock is rising after a strong performance running the ball today.
QB David Fales– There was no hype about this QB coming into the Senior Bowl but Fales came in the game late and played very well going 6/7, 104 yards and a TD. Prior to the game he was ranked the 8th top QB prospect for the draft but I think he makes scouts take a closer look at him after the game.
All 3 ACC QBs– During the week, scouts described the QB play of Tahj Boyd, Logan Thomas, and Stephen Morris as far less than stellar. It was tough to believe they were that bad but during the game they were that bad and showed they aren’t ready to even play big time college football not to mention the NFL.
They combined for a dismal 21/39, 138 yards, 0 TDs and 3 interceptions. These 3 do show talent but must be considered projects as they will need time to develop before playing at the NFL level. Their stock drops this week.
Guard Cyril Richardson– Richardson came into the game as the top ranked guard in the draft but he got off to a bad start as DT Aaron Donald exploited his weaknesses at practice. Richardson is great at blocking straight ahead in run blocking but when asked to move laterally in pass blocking, he gets off balance. He followed some tough moments in practice with a rather average game performance.
Richardson is still one of the best guards available in the draft but now teams realize part of his game will need some developing. Cyril didn’t help his stock this week at all.