USA TODAY Sports
Which seniors improved their stock?
The Senior Bowl is a week long evaluation of the top seniors in the incoming 2013 NFL Draft Class. Which Seniors stood out, which hurt themselves, and which could be potential Denver Broncos? Lets take a look
QB's: None of the QB's really separated themselves from the pack. All of the QB's showed flashes of their potential, however they also showed they're very inconsistent and still need a lot of work. QB Geno Smith did himself no favors by not attending the Senior Bowl. So as of now, the QB rankings are still up in the air. One guy who may have helped his stock some was EJ Manuel. Manuel was the MVP of the game. Manuel projects as a 2nd-4th rounder as of now.
RB's: I liked what i saw from the senior runners. Johnathan Franklin from UCLA had the best weekend their i think. The UCLA Bruin had a solid year at UCLA and showed improved vision, finding cut back lanes and the ability to make people miss in the second level. Franklin probably is a second day pick.
A favorite of mine, Stepfan Taylor continued to look solid. Taylor showed he can get the tough yards, and that he can do everything the coaching staff asks of him(Pass blocking, work as a receiver and play special teams). Taylor will run a 4.5/4.6 in the combine, but he will make for a good back in the NFL i believe
Mike Gillislee is one of my favorite backs in this draft, Gillislee had a strong week i think. Gillislee thrives on working behind pulling linemen between the tackles. Coaches will love the senior because he runs to his assigned lane, follows blocks, and can even create on strong cuts. He should be available in the 3rd or 4th round.
Kenjon Barner showed his worth. He showed he can run inside, and that he's a dangerous receiver as well. Barner should go around the same spot as former Oregon runner LaMichael James went.
WR's: The senior receiver class looked solid i think. A lot of guys stood out, and i expect many of these guys to be drafted early. One guy who really stood out to me is Quinton Patton. Patton is not your big explosive receiver, but he's fluid, has great body control and runs great routes. He's being compared to Reggie Wayne. Patton is a late 1st, early 2nd round pick in my opinion. Marcus Wheaton was fun to watch in practices. The explosive slot WR showed many why he's a potential first round selection. He's a great route runner and is drawing comparisons to Pittsburgh Steeler speedster Mike Wallace. Marquise Goodwin had a strong week too. He didn't have the best career at Texas, but they did mis-use him some. He won't be highly drafted, but he does have some good potential.
Some disappointing players were Baylors Terrance Williams. He has a limited route tree and didn't show the ability to separate. Williams was listed as a potential late first rounder, but i would be really surprised if he went in the first round. Denard Robinson struggled to impress. Battling numbness is his hands, he didn't look natural catching the ball. Robinson stock has dropped a bit.
TE's: Vance McDonald had a strong week of practices. He did have some drops but McDonald is a very intriguing player. Alabamas Michael Williams isn't flashy but will make a living in the NFL as a blocking specialist. Mychal Rivera had a solid week as well.
OL: There's a lot of good OL prospects in this draft. One that really stood out is Central Michigans Eric Fisher. Fisher is battling Luke Joeckel as the top tackle in this years draft. Fisher really impressed. Oklahomas Lane Johnson showed why he's a top 15-20 pick in this draft. He looks like a tight end but blocks like a top tackle. Johnson is a very athletic tackle who will be protecting a QB's blind side on Sundays.
Guard Larry Warford is one of my favorite players in this draft. Warford is a mauling guard. He's a big man(333lbs) but is surprisingly athletic. I wouldn't be surprised if he was the 2nd guard taken and a first round pick. Kyle Long is a guy im intrigued about. He had a great week, but is very inexperienced. He does have the bloodlines to succeed, so the real question is whether he plays guard or tackle.
DL: The talk of the Senior Bowl was Ezekiel Ansah. Ziggy is a very raw prospect but had a solid game. The comparisons to Jason - Pierre Paul are a bit farfetched. Ziggy isn't the pass rusher that JPP is, but he;s a helluva run stopper with very good closing speed. Ziggy is raw, but has tons of potential.
Datone Jones had a very very good week. Jones showed he can be a versatile player. He was successful lining up at end and tackle. Teams love that versatility so his stock went up for sure. Alex Okafor was either dominant or invisible. Okafor is a bit inconsistent, but has all the potential to be a great NFL player.
Defensive tackles Sylvester Williams and Kawann Short had solid weeks too. Both showed they can be disruptive interior defensive linemen. Both still need work, but have great potential.
LB's: Khaseem Greene is one of my favorite LB's in this draft. The former safety is a great coverage linebacker. Greene is drawing some comparisons too last years draft prospect Zach Brown. Greene is a bit more physical than Brown though. UNC's Kevin Reddick showed some potential, but he is more than likely a late 2nd day to 3rd day draftee. Vince Williams may have been the best Inside Linebacker at the Senior Bowl. Williams was physical, filled the lane, and showed decent range.
CB's: This group of Senior corners is a very talented group. One guy that performed well was Jamar Taylor. He wasn't the biggest name there but he showed fluid hips, and looked very comfortable in man and zone coverage. Robert Alford has very good closing speed and showed he can be aggressive at the line. One of my favorite players to watch in the pracitces was Desmond Trufant. Trufant showed excellent technique this week. He also showed the ball skills to disrupt passes in the air. Trufant may be a late 1st round pick. Another potential first round pick Jordan Poyer. Poyer is very adept in man or zone coverage and always seems to get his hands on the football, whether it be deflections or breakups.
S: Johnathan Cyprien had a solid week. Cyprien will probably rise up the boards during the process, but he's a big hitting safety who's good in coverage. Phillip Thomas is your typical ball hawk, but he isn't the greatest tackler. If he gets better at tackling, he will be one helluva safety. J.J. Wilcox is a raw safety. The former running back has good closing speed and stays balanced. He's also versatile, so that will help him out some in teams eyes.
Exciting times for us fans that love the draft. Did any other prospect catch your eye? Do you think any of the players i listed will be Denver Broncos in April? Let me know and we can discuss it.