The 2014 Senior Bowl allowed the latest crop of talent in the college ranks to showcase its skills for NFL draft scouts, and more than one player was able to boost his stock with a solid performance.
Ultimately, the South team defeated the North team 20-10 in Mobile, Ala., but this game isn't really about the final result. It's about prospects doing what they can to impress scouts and improve their stock before the combine in February.
Though the top 10 is likely to be dominated by underclassmen, there was still plenty of talent to watch in the game. Here's a look at who made the most of their opportunity to shine against the best seniors in the country.
James White, RB, Wisconsin
It isn't often that a running back out of Wisconsin enters the NFL draft without much hype, but that's been the case with James White. As Ian Kenyon points out, he wasn't labeled the starter in many games, sharing a backfield with Montee Ball and Melvin Gordon for most of his career:
James White had 4,685 career yards from scrimmage and 48 total TDs at Wisconsin. He "started" 14 games. Played in 53.— Ian Kenyon (@IanKenyonNFL) January 25, 2014
However, White did what he could to get out of Ball and Gordon's shadow in the Senior Bowl. His rushing was one of the few bright spots for the North team as he ran in the team's only touchdown and piled up 61 yards on the ground on just 11 touches.
With teams always trying to find value at the running back position later in the draft, White proved that he could wind up being a productive back in the third day for whatever team is willing to take a chance on him.
Pierre Desir, CB, Lindenwood
While most of the participants in the Senior Bowl come from college football's power conferences, the game presents an even greater opportunity for small-school prospects.
For instance, Pierre Desir has the size (6'1", 195 lbs) and athleticism that scouts covet at the cornerback position, but it's tough to gauge exactly how good he is against the Division II competition he saw at Lindenwood.
Given the opportunity to go head-to-head against the nation's top seniors, he didn't disappoint. Desir was rarely targeted throughout the game and picked up an interception in the end zone.
Pierre Desir was rarely targeted at Lindenwood. And today, no targets. And he's BIG.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) January 25, 2014
With the success of big corners in the NFL like Richard Sherman, Desir definitely raised his profile in Mobile.
Dee Ford, DE, Auburn
There's no question that Dee Ford helped himself the most in Mobile. The edge-rusher from Auburn received rave reviews from the week of practice and delivered in a big way on the field.
He made opposing tackles miserable by utilizing a lightning-quick first step and living in the North's backfield. His two sacks and batted pass gave him a presence in the box score, and he was disruptive enough to take home the MVP award.
Ford hasn't received as much attention as, say, Jadeveon Clowney or Khalil Mack, but he definitely flashed the ability of an edge-rusher who will be worthy of having his name called on the draft's first day.