Senior Bowl 2013: Players Who Must Impress Scouts to Boost Draft Stock
The Senior Bowl is far more vital to some player's draft stock than others.
Take Jonathan Jenkins, the defensive tackle out of Georgia, for instance. He is coming off a nice run in the SEC where he showed he could dominate against other top talents. At this point, there are not many on-field questions he has left to answer, and barring something insanely drastic happening, his draft stock will be largely unchanged by the Senior Bowl.
Then there are players on the list below. These are guys that have questions to answer, and scouts will be paying close attention for any clues on their potential in the NFL.
These guys will be attempting to impress the scouts not just at the game, which is on Saturday, Jan. 26 at 4 p.m. ET, but also during the whole week of practice.
Onto the list of players with plenty to prove.
Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
Playing at Central Michigan, Eric Fisher did not have many opportunities to go against elite talent. Still, this 6'7", 305-pound tackle is an almost certain lock for the first round.
Fisher is massive, and he has room to comfortably add weight to his frame. Despite his size, he is also graceful. Fisher has smooth lateral movement, and he has good foot speed.
He does have a tendency to get his pad level up, which will always be a concern due to his height. Also, he could stand to add some strength.
Fisher will be in the spotlight all week at the Senior Bowl. If he shows he can consistently dominate and limit his vulnerability created by those weaknesses, he has a chance to be the first lineman taken and be a top-five pick.
Zac Dysert, QB, Miami Ohio
Miami University of Ohio's Zac Dysert put up some eye-grabbing numbers last season. He was just shy of 3,500 passing yards and added 25 touchdowns while throwing just 12 interceptions. He finished his career as the RedHawks' all-time leading passer.
At 6'3" and 228 pounds, Dysert has decent size for the NFL. He also has decent speed and quickness. His has slightly above average arm strength for the NFL and good accuracy.
What he doesn't have is a strong showing against elite competition. Against Cincinnati, Boise State, Ohio State and Kent State last year (arguably the four best teams he faced last season), he threw for seven touchdowns and six interceptions.
Dysert's release is too long, and he can be forced into bad decisions. He will need to show scouts he can make the proper reads under pressure.
E.J. Manuel, QB, Florida State
E.J. Manuel is different from our other two players on this list as he is not from a small school. Manuel has had plenty of opportunities to show off in the spotlight—although the Seminoles did not play the toughest schedule this year.
He put up a nice stat line last season as he completed 68 percent of his passes for 3,397 yards, 23 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
However, he was inconsistent and can lack poise, as he did against the tough defense of Florida this past season. Against the Gators, Manuel he had three interceptions and a lost fumble.
Still, Manuel is 6'4", 237 pounds and has good athleticism. He also has a strong arm, but he lacks touch.
Scouts will have all week to watch Manuel closely. He will need to show that he can stay poised and consistent. If he can do that, his draft stock will rise rapidly.
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