Senior Bowl 2010: Which Players Are Hurting Their NFL Stock?
The Senior Bowl can do as much to help a player's stock as it can to diminish it. This is just day three of practice, but there are already subtle rumblings of players who are underwhelming NFL scouts and analysts alike with their play on the field.
Some have already questioned whether or not Tim Tebow (pictured) has done harm to his stock by choosing to put himself on display, but where he is concerned, it seems to be a double-edged sword.
On the one hand, people are hoping that he fails miserably and therefore find reason to pick apart every possible flaw, while on the other hand it cannot be denied that no matter where he lands, he could be a key contributor thanks to all the intangibles he offers as a person and a player.
One thing is for certain: Mobile, AL has become a mecca for the media elite who are looking to get a first look at who is for real and who is not.
Some players are gaining a quiet following as we speak, but the ones who aren't have to be hoping that the damage being done isn't irreparable.
Brandon Ghee, CB, Wake Forest
Ghee has been up and down this week. He continues to struggle in man coverage but he's got the potential to be a good corner if he can work on his ability to jam receivers at the line. His technique is a bit sloppy off the snap and he allows receivers to get by him too easily.
He's rated as a second-round pick and should be able to maintain that status so long as he can improve upon some of his weaknesses, including his ability to turn his hips when coming out of his backpedal. He just looks a bit too tight right now.
Mike Neal, DT, Purdue
It's not that Neal (No. 92, pictured) hasn't been impressive this week. On the contrary, when he lines up against guys who are not as strong, fast, or athletic as he is, he's played lights out in each and every drill he's been given.
However, if you match him up with a guy who is as strong or stronger, he gets beat every time.
Neal does not possess an arsenal of moves to fend off blockers so he is prone to getting beat off the snap by more skilled guards and tackles. He's quick and has tremendous athletic ability, but his showing thus far has shown him to lack the big-time playmaking skills that NFL scouts covet.
Kyle McCarthy, S, Notre Dame
McCarthy was a bit of a long-shot to get drafted prior to the fifth or sixth round despite his 101 tackles and five interceptions this past season.
He's got good size and above-average coverage skills, but he lacks the speed and big play ability that you like to see out of the safety spot.
So far this week he has been burned by faster, more skilled, wide receivers and has looked over-matched on the field. He does do a good job of defending the deep ball but that does not make up for what he lacks in both speed and strength.
He is, at best, an early day two pick, but if he continues to play as unimpressively as he did in the first few practices, he could become an undrafted free agent (UDFA).
Mardy Gilyard, WR, Cincinnatti
Gilyard is another player who has had an up and down showing at the Senior Bowl. At times he looks like a dominant receiver—despite his size—that no one can do anything with off the line.
However, in other moments he looks like a receiver who will have problems keeping the ball in his hands—he's been plagued by multiple drops this week and that has overshadowed his one-on-one performances in press coverage.
He needs to show more consistency in his game if he expects to remain a late first to early second round selection.
Terrence Cody, DT, Alabama
Everyone knows that Cody is a beast—he didn't get the nickname "Mount" for nothing. However, he began the week showing up at a soft 370 pounds. That immediately set the scouts tongues wagging freely about his work ethic and overall ability to remain true to a regimen.
Cody shrugged off the criticisms and stated that he simply had not had the time to train between the end of the national championship game (January 7th) and now.
Don't get me wrong, Cody's sheer size and ability to take on and dominate the double-team make him a first-round prospect, but his play thus far has not been what most scouts would have expected—he's been stellar one day and not so much the next.
His inconsistency in practice, coupled with questions about his dedication to his conditioning, have some questioning if he should be considered a top 15 pick or not.
Syd'Quan Thompson, CB, California
He finished his season with 49 tackles and 10 pass break-ups. Depending on who you ask, he would go as high as the first or second round or as low as the fifth or sixth. Needless to say, the Senior Bowl is a pretty important outing for him.
That said, he has proven to be slower than anticipated—exposing him to being burned on multiple occasions by the speedier receivers. Furthermore, he lacks confidence in press coverage so physical receivers are able to blow him off the line with ease.
On the bright side, he is markedly more competent in space and has good awareness for the deep ball in the air, but his size (5'9") already makes him a bit of a liability. If he isn't able to increase his forty time (4.50), he will most likely drop into the later rounds.
Danario Alexander, WR, Missouri
At 6'4", 228 lbs, Alexander is a huge target and a definite redzone threat. However, he has been consistently unimpressive this week—dropping passes and lacking explosiveness off the line.
He's got a height advantage over most DBs he will face, yet he's losing the battle for the ball nearly every time. He's not as physical as his size would lead you to think and he seems lackadaisical when running routes.
I don't know that he's mentally or physically strong enough to be successful at the next level—yet. That said, his aspirations for being taken early are dwindling with each mediocre outing.
Tim Tebow, QB, Florida
Two things happened once Tebow decided to play in the Senior Bowl—ticket sales increased and the scrutiny went deeper.
The legacy of Tim Tebow as one of the most prolific college quarterbacks to have ever played the game is an untouchable one. He accomplished a ton at the University of Florida and in many ways, that has hurt him.
The doubts about his ability to consistently take snaps from under center have continued. He's looked great on some passes but mostly average on others. He's got a nice arm but his accuracy leaves a lot to be desired.
He's coachable and continues to try and tweak his delivery, but he still slips into the long wind-up at some point and that makes it easier for the DBs to get into position for a pick.
Tebow's marketability as a player seems to be keeping him in the first round, but if his name were not Tim Tebow he would easily be seen as a project that is no better than a late second round pick.
His appearance at the Senior Bowl is definitely not helping him prove his critics wrong.
Taylor Mays, S, Southern California
If Mays had come out last year he likely would have been a no-doubt first rounder. However, he's been up and down this week—mostly down.
He doesn't have the fluidity or looseness in his hips as hoped and, as such, has a hard time turning and running with the receiver.
His ball skills are alright but he's not the flat-out playmaker that you would think he'd be considering his size and overall physical ability. That said, the kid can level a guy with authority and will be phenomenal in run-support.
Mays is still likely to be a very high pick, but it is possible that he falls to the second round if he continues to play so inconsistently on the field.
Lamarr Houston, DT, Texas
Houston has consistently been manhandled in Senior Bowl drills. He gets a good jump off the snap and can get behind the line of scrimmage if he's not challenged significantly, but when challenged, he folds.
Houston has not shown an ability to get free of blocks once he's stopped at the point of attack and that shows a lack of both strength and technique on his part. He needs more experience and coaching at the next level if he is going to take advantage of his physical and athletic abilities.
As of now, his stock continues to fall with each one-on-one drill he loses and that remarkable NFL body (6'3", 302 pounds) has not translated into anything more than an impressive weigh-in.