Senior Bowl 2013: Defensive Stars Whose Draft Stocks Will Jump the Most

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 26, 2013

San Diego State Aztecs CB Leon McFadden
San Diego State Aztecs CB Leon McFaddenOtto Greule Jr/Getty Images

The 2013 Senior Bowl gives guys on the defensive side of the ball enough attention to skyrocket in the eyes of NFL scouts.

Leon McFadden was one of these players. While not highly regarded before his invite to the Senior Bowl, the San Diego State Aztecs cornerback was having a very good week and impressed NFL scouts with his performance.

Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune reported Jan. 23 that McFadden might sit out the game because of a groin strain. Gehlken wrote that McFadden had nothing to gain from actually playing, as he had already gotten on scouts' radars in practice.

On Saturday, Gehlken confirmed on Twitter that McFadden would be out for the Senior Bowl.

Fans won't be able to see his talents during the game, unlike these three defensive players, who have seen their stock rise significantly as a result of the Senior Bowl.



Jonathan Cyprien, SS, Florida International University

There are few elite safety prospects in the draft, so Jonathan Cyprien has really helped himself with a good showing in Mobile, Ala. Bleacher Report draft analyst Matt Miller tweeted that he was pleasantly surprised by Cyprien's talent:

He isn't the most athletic player in the draft, but Cyprien will work his tail off on the field. While you can't coach speed, you can't coach effort, either. You have to respect a player willing to throw himself so completely into every play.

With his physical nature, Cyprien will be a coach's dream. He's at home in the secondary laying out opposing receivers.



Arthur Brown, OLB, Kansas State

There are a lot of outside linebackers/defensive ends who are projected first-round selections. With rushing the passer a vital skill, athletic defenders who can come off the edge are at a premium.

Arthur Brown isn't the best when it comes to getting after the quarterback, but his versatility should be valuable in the NFL. He can defend the rush almost as well as the pass.

He also can move to a more inside position if necessary. Brown was a constant nuisance to opposing offenses, flying around the field on every play.

Many people are noting that he's undersized for an NFL linebacker. His overall talent will shine through, though.



Kawann Short, DT, Purdue

Kawann Short could see himself sneak into the late or maybe even middle part of the first round with his performance this week.'s Daniel Jeremiah was impressed, tweeting:

Much like most other tackles, Short can be a run-stuffer capable of helping to collapse the pocket. If he can develop some different moves, his size could be a major threat to offensive linemen.

Short is of similar height to his fellow defensive tackles. His advantage, though, is that his arms are almost 34 inches long. He won't even have to move, yet Short can be a major hassle for the opposing quarterback by swatting the ball at the line of scrimmage.