I have to believe that this is the most hyped Senior Bowl that I have ever witnessed.
In times past the Senior Bowl was just another meaningless college all-star game.
Now the game has evolved into NFL Combine Jr.
It has become an all week event in which college seniors are poked, prodded, and portrayed as future NFL stars or busts.
Unless you have been hiding a rock for the last few years, you should understand that the NFL Draft in April will not consist of seniors only. This season the vast majority of first round difference makers are going to be underclassmen.
In my humble opinion that's where the added hype of this year's Senior Bowl event lies (other than that Tebow guy, that is).
The added importance of these seniors making an early mark in the scouting process has increased the level of scrutiny and coverage on this game.
With that said, I will reveal which college seniors in this game have the most NFL star potential.
Yes, I know he's small for an NFL wide receiver. But he's fast. Blazing fast.
If you want someone to compare him to, look no further than Vikings WR Percy Harvin. He's actually slightly shorter than Gilyard, but the two are easily comparable in their playmaking ability and style.
Gilyard will not go nearly as high as Harvin did, but if he falls past the third round I will be shocked, and the team that selects him there will get an absolute steal.
Speed kills on any level.
I know he's small. I also know he's another blindingly fast, stellar athlete with game-breaking ability.
While McCluster will need to put on some muscle to be mentioned in the same breath as Maurice Jones-Drew, his height, speed, and playmaking ability are already comparable to that of Jones-Drew.
In the immediate future, however, McCluster would be a tremendous punt/kickoff returner in the NFL.
LeFevour has put up stellar numbers at Central Michigan for quite a while now. At 6'3", 229 pounds, the now former Chippewa has the build and mental makeup to be a starting quarterback in the NFL.
How long it will take to develop him into a star is the only question.
LeFevour will probably drop to around the fourth or fifth rounds, but given time to study under an established quarterback, his talent and skills will be fine tuned.
Who? Yeah, I said the same thing.
For starters, the guy is a beast. 6'5", 326 pounds.
I realize he did not play against stellar competition in college, but according to published reports coming out of Mobile, AL, this week of practice has been huge for the up-and-coming offensive lineman.
He is projected as high as early second round on some draft boards. He has the build and skills to be a force in the NFL for years to come.
The 6'1", 250 pound linebacker has haunted SEC offenses much of his college career. Now it's time to take that game to the next level.
Norwood is a freak.
His build easily fits the NFL LB mold, and his speed and hard-hitting ability will translate on that level with no problem.
He's currently projected as a late second, early third round pick and would definitely be a great pick in that spot.
George Selvie has been terrorizing Big East quarterbacks for some time now. His 6'5", 250 pound frame is quite intimidating.
The South Florida defensive star has ability to move right into an NFL 3-4 scheme as a linebacker or a 4-3 as a pass rushing defensive end.
I personally do not understand how he's only grading out to a third/fourth round prospect on most draft boards. Getting him that low would be a steal.
Anyone knocking this one need look no further than how big a role Johnson has played the last two seasons in paving the way for a Heisman winner.
In the last two years Johnson has virtually prevented any hopes of an opponent stopping the potent Alabama running game.
Think about it. Mark Ingram was one of the best freshmen in America last season. This year he won the Heisman. All while another 'Bama freshman RB Trent Richardson spent much of this season running through gigantic holes that Mike Johnson forged for him as well.
At 6'6", 306 pounds, he fits the mold of the more athletic offensive linemen that the NFL is big on right now.
Johnson is currently projected as a mid-second, early third round prospect.
Say you are one of the top defensive players in America as a junior. You have the opportunity to forgo your senior season for the NFL draft or for a chance to become a Rhodes Scholar. Which one do you take? Millions of dollars or the most prestigious academic honor one can achieve?
For Myron Rolle it wasn't even that hard of a choice.
After sitting out his senior season, one in which he would have surely solidified his first round draft status, Rolle decided he wanted something more.
Because he did not play last season, his draft stock has dropped to sixth or seventh round status, but the NFL team lucky enough to get this guy will not only get an incredibly gifted athlete, but will also be obtaining a great person. That's a rare combination in today's football world. I believe it's a combination that has set Rolle up for tremendous success at the next level.
Sheer talent, great speed, and tremendous build are just a few of the positives surrounding Roddrick Muckelroy.
He is known as a versatile weak side linebacker who can either hit you so hard that your children's children will feel it or who can step back into coverage and actually affect when and where the ball is thrown.
He is deceptively quick, and at 6'2", 235 pounds, he has the build to fit in any defensive scheme on the next level.
I am shocked that he's only projected as a second-to-third round prospect.
There. I said it. Tim Tebow will be a really good, potentially great NFL player.
The question is, what position will he play?
I believe Tebow will be drafted early in the second round. The team that chooses him will either begin to develop an offense that suits his style at quarterback or turn him into some type of hybrid back/receiving tight end.
Ultimately the guy will change the NFL the same way he's changed college.
No one can convince me otherwise. I have watched this guy take hit after hit for four seasons. I have seen Tebow will himself into becoming a force on the field.
I know way too much about this kid to ever bet against him.
(This is coming from a diehard Tennessee fan who has hated Tim Tebow for the past four years.)