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Senior Bowl 2014 - Key Game Players to Watch
Photo - QB Jimmy Garoppolo - Eastern Illinois
Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, Eastern Illinois
Fast rising small college passer put back to back strong performances together at the East-West and Senior Bowl practices. He gets the main stage Saturday in Mobile and could elevate his stock into the top 50 selections. Garoppolo (6'2", 220 lbs) has a very compact and quick release with fine accuracy and a nice touch that allows receivers to run after the catch. He has an above average arm though he shows the ability to drive the ball into small openings with timing and accuracy. After an impressive week of practice, he can really shine on the big stage vs top completion.
Charles Sims, RB, West Virginia
Underrated runner elevated his stock significantly with an impressive effect at the practices. He combines fine size and speed with well rounded talent to fill all the roles for the position. He is a fine route runner with soft hands and the natural running ability to be dangerous after the catch. He is moves well laterally and shows a burst of speed coming out of his cuts to run away from defenders. He has a thick lower body to break tackles and show some cutback ability/vision to find running lanes. A strong game effort and he can move into the top 10 selections.
Robert Herron, WR, Wyoming
Fast vertical threat has lite it up this week with his ability to separate and get open. His big play potential has drawn raves and improved his draft status. Though only 5’10” 187 lbs., his short area quickness and long speed allow him to create big plays and will most likely allow him to shine at the NFL Combine.
Jared Abbrederis, WR, Wisconsin
Agile sure handed receiver may be the most developed wideout in this class. He routes great routes, adjusts very well and has the receiving radius and soft hands to catch everything. He has deceptive speed and quickness and could be the playmaker with the development to be a key factor on game day.
Zach Martin, OT, Notre Dame
Tough technician had an outstanding week at practices vs the best edge rushers. He probably guaranteed a first round grade. He is highly developed and versatile that probably will earn him a starting rookie grade this summer.
Jack Mewhort, OT, Ohio State
Sound technician displayed strong hands and balance that enables him to win consistently vs top linemen. He shows a strong base that translates well to the well and allows him to play with power. Good work effort and preparation will earn him early NFL starting spot, probably at right tackle.
Dee Ford, DE/OLB, Auburn
Fast edge rusher was unblockable this week. He has the explosive speed off the ball that dominated the practice sessions throughout the week. This small defensive end consistently attacked the edge of offensive tackles in one-on-one pass-rush and team drills. He weighs only 243 lbs and teams see him as a better fit as an outside 'backer in a 3-4 front. In a four man front, he is a situational rusher with impact ability. He has the quickest first step off the line in this draft class.
Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
Another smallish defender who had a strong week vs top competition. He has a quick burst off the ball, with strong and violent hands to gain a fast advantage. Though only 6'0" and 288 lbs, he wins with quickness and leverage with the ability to finish strong. He plays hard and competes on every rep.
Fine 3-technique defensive tackle in a 4-3 front who has rose up draft boards after he showcased consistent talent vs premier blockers.
Jordan Tripp, LB, Montana
Rangy small college defender moves easily that allows him to pursue and drop in coverage.
He moves like a strong safety with the frame to carry another 10-15 lbs. He is a very fluid athlete and plays with fine speed for a 6'2", 237-pound defender. He needs to get stronger and take on blockers
and hold the point to play in a base defense.. Interesting rising defender.
Walt Aikens, CB, Liberty
Big agile corner had a strong week of practices. He has the length scouts seek in a pro corner and shows the agility to move easily in his pedal and closing speed. He plays the ball well with the reach to deflect many passes. He plays both press and man well with the ability to ride a receiver’s hips and locate the ball consistently.
Deone Bucannon, SS, Washington State
Physical strong safety displayed powerful tackling with the ability to close on the ball and drop runners.
He has excellent size (6'1", 216 lbs) with the ability to cover the back quarter. He can run the alley and drop runners in their tracks. His ability to match up with top tight ends in the deep game will determine how high a club will draft this emerging defender.
Players Primed for Big Game Performances
Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State
C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE, Iowa
Brandon Thomas, OT, Clemson
Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia
Michael Schofield , OT, Michigan
Gabe Jackson , OG, Mississippi State
Travis Swanson, C, Arkansas
Weston Richburg, C, Colorado State
Tyler Larsen, C, Utah State
Ra'Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
Kyle Van Noy, LB, BYU
Keith McGill, CB, Utah
Dez Southward, DB, Wisconsin
Dontae Johnson, DB, North Carolina St.
Players Who Need Big Game Performances
QB Logan Thomas - Virginia Tech
QB Stephen Morris - Miami
WR Jeff Janis - Saginaw Valley St.
OG Cyril Richardson – Baylor
OT Seantrel Henderson – Miami
OG Kadeem Edwards - Tennessee St.
DE Michael Sam - Missouri
DT Caraun Reid - Princeton
LB Jonathan Brown - Illinois
CB Chris Davis - Auburn
Frank Coyle is a long time member of the FWAA and voter in College player awards - Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, Lombardi, Thorpe etc for the past 18 years. He writes College Football Mondays weekly during the season. He is a longtime scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier postseason All-star game. He does sports radio shows for ESPN, Fox Sports and Sporting News on a year round basis related to College Football especially during the postseason team and All-star Bowl time. He has worked for CBS Sports, NBC Sports, Yahoo and Rivals sports publications and web sites.