Senior Bowl 2012 - Who to Watch for: North Team

With two practices in several members of the North team have began separating themselves from the rest of the roster. I will get into three standouts and also bring up some honorable mentions. We'll discuss several players through Friday leading up to the game on Saturday.

Every player on the North team is likely to end up on at least an 80-man roster this spring, but the trick has always been finding the men who will be day one starters.

The Denver Broncos have several needs and we've been discussing what can happen via free agency, the Senior Bowl offers the best opportunity to see what the nation's best Seniors can do against one another. Needs for the Broncos are predominantly on defense, though there is much depth to be added offensively as well.

There are no if ands or buts about it, Denver is adding at least one if not two quarterbacks this offseason to compete with Tim Tebow and Adam Weber, will it be through the draft or via free agency is the question. The North team features three of the nations top quarterbacks: Michigan States Kirk Cousins, Wisconsin's Russell Wilson and Boise State's Kellen Moore.

Moore appears to be the 'most like' Tebow, but through two days of practice has yet to raise many eyebrows. Wilson was mentioned prior to practice starting as the best of the three, but Cousins has been the most impressive through Tuesday.

The three players that I want to focus on are all defensive: linebacker Lavonte David from Nebraska, corner back Jamell Fleming from Oklahoma and Boise State's safety/cornerback George Iloka.

Lavonte David:

I am not the only David fan in Denver and any Ohio State fan will tell you exactly who this guy is. David is an outside linebacker who can play inside (the biggest need this offseason in my opinion for the Broncos), he can also do time at strong safety. He officially weighed in as 6'0 1/2" 225 lbs. at the Senior Bowl. He was a 2010 All American Junior College transfer and is currently ranked fourth of all linebackers in the draft.

Get this in 2009 David's Fort Scott Junior College was playing Cam Newton's Blinn Junior College in the final, David spied Newton the entire game and finished the game with 18 tackles on Newton. David's man knock is his size.

Jamell Fleming:

If middle linebacker is my top priority this offseason cornerback is in my opinion the second biggest need. Undrafted rookie cornerback Chris Harris came out of nowhere in 2011 and looked like a very good fit at nickle back, Syd'quan Thompson sat the entire season on injured reserve and Cassius Vaughn sat a significant amount of time in IR as well. Andre Goodman to me is better than most give him credit for, but Denver needs a true second corner to balance out what the Broncos have been feeling since the incredible loss of Darrent Williams. Fleming may be a step in the right direction.

Fleming runs a 4.43 40-yard dash, he's not necessarily the ball hawk one would want, but that may be due to the fact that no one was dumb enough to throw to his side. He can lock down an entire side of the field and that means more sack opportunities for the defensive line. It also means that the Broncos defense would be less likely to repeat the embarrassment of their AFC Divisional round blunder. Fleming measured 5'10 5/8" 202 lbs. at the Senior Bowl.

George Iloka:

The Broncos made two draft investments at free safety last season in Rahim Moore and Quinton Carter, Carter had a very strong second half of the season. There is little debate about the fact that strong safety Brian Dawkins is about ready to retire. Denver needs depth and a replacement for Dawkins; David Bruton and Rafael Bush did decently filling in for Dawkins and I am not saying one of them couldn't emerge as the replacement, but they need competition. Iloka could be that for them.

Iloka is a free safety who can play corner, Mike Mayock even went as far as to say that he could be asked to play weak side linebacker. To me that screams strong safety given his 6'3 5/8" 222 lbs. frame, he's a four-year starter, was a second-team Sporting News All Freshman and runs a 4.42 40. He's currently ranked second of all free safeties.

Honorable Mentions:

Missouri tight end Michael Egnew, Cal wide receiver Marvin Johnson and as I mentioned earlier Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins.

We will have a South team wrap up posted tomorrow and in the meantime feel free to share your observations in right here. We'll have full coverage leading up to the Senior Bowl on Saturday.

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