Senior Bowl 2013: Players with the Most to Gain in Mobile

Jonathan IrwinContributor IIJanuary 24, 2013

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 29: Ryan Nassib #12 of the Syracuse Orange looks for an open man against the West Virginia Mountaineers in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium on December 29, 2012 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

The 2013 Senior Bowl is underway, and some players are already making a big name for themselves. While everyone's draft stock can rise and fall, some players have more to gain than others.

Unlike the last few seasons, there's no consensus No. 1 pick going into this draft. Some will tell you it's West Virginia's Geno Smith. Others will say it's Texas A&M's Luke Joeckel.

There is no Andrew Luck or Cam Newton this time around.

That means it's anybody's game. Not all of the player's below have a shot at going No. 1 overall, but they all have plenty of ground to gain by making a big statement at the Senior Bowl.


Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan

Eric Fisher is a top-five offensive lineman, and he's been bounding up draft boards all winter.

But this draft is incredibly deep at O-line, and the Central Michigan star is still behind top names like Luke Joeckel and Chance Warmack.

As reported by ESPN, Fisher is already making waves at the Senior Bowl and impressing just about everyone. If he keeps it up, he could see himself becoming a top-five pick on draft day.

A strong enough impression could even get him above Joeckel as the top lineman in the draft, though that will take some real effort.


Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse

Unlike last year, this year's draft is incredibly thin at the quarterback position. The top player appears to be Geno Smith, and even he comes with question marks.

When a draft is like this, you can be sure of two things: No one's spot is secure at the top of the pack, and there will be plenty of reaches in the first round.

Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib could be one of those reaches.

The senior's final season in orange was his best, as he threw for over 3,000 yards for the first time in his career—3,749 to be exact—with 26 touchdowns.

The Buffalo Bills recently hired Syracuse coach Doug Marrone, and Nassib's been quoted as saying playing for the Bills would be "a match made in heaven."

But the Bills have the eighth pick in the draft and Nassib won't fall to them in the second round, meaning he'll have to continue to rise up boards to make a worthwhile impression on his former coach.


Mike Gillislee, RB, Florida

This year's draft has plenty of solid options at running back, but the overall talent is thin. As it stands, no back is expected to go before the first round.

That bodes well for lower-tier names such as Florida senior Mike Gillislee.

After spending his first three seasons in Florida as a backup, Gillislee exploded as the starter in 2012. He finished his season rushing for 1,152 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Gillislee's consistency has started to impress teams, most recently Bengals owner Mike Brown.

UCLA's Jonathan Franklin and Stanford's Stepfan Taylor are two other big-name seniors in Mobile this year.

They too are considered second-tier prospects at running back, but carry better draft stocks than Gillislee. If he can outshine the competition at the Senior Bowl, the former Gator could see himself propelled above those two.


Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU

Outside of linemen, this year's draft is also deep in defensive players.

BYU's Ezekiel Ansah is one of those defensive players, and his name remains a hot-ticket item at this year's Senior Bowl.

Ansah might have the most unique background of any other prospect. The senior from Ghana originally attended BYU for track and field, but eventually moved into football.

He has great athleticism with a stunning combination of power and speed.

But the defensive end position continues to be ruled by big-name juniors such as FSU's Bjoern Werner and LSU's dynamic tandem of Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery.

Those juniors won't have a chance to prove themselves at the Senior Bowl, meaning now is as good a time as any for Ansah to pull himself away from the pack.