Senior Bowl 2011: Jeremy Beal and 15 Players Facing a Draft-Day Free-Fall

Drake Oz@drakeozbrSenior Writer IIJanuary 27, 2011

Senior Bowl 2011: Jeremy Beal and 15 Players Facing a Draft-Day Free-Fall

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    Senior Bowl 2011 is a backbreaker for some and a coming-out party for others.

    And as the outstanding seniors in this year's draft class prepare for this year's big game, backs are being broken aplenty. 

    There have been several players, including Oklahoma's Jeremy Beal, whose draft stocks are quickly going in the wrong direction.

    So who are they?

    Well, here are 15 Senior Bowl players who could be facing draft-day free-falls. 

15. James Carpenter, OT, Alabama

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    Alabama's James Carpenter entered the week as guy with loads of potential--and he still has it--but he's one of those players who can't seem to find any motivation.

    Carpenter has slacked off at times, often forgets to move his feet and has the bad habit of being bullied by much smaller defenders.

    He's struggled mightily with footwork, technique and the ability to recognize/pick up blitzes, which are obviously three of the bigger keys to being a successful offensive linemen.

    Though Carpenter had his supporters as a potential late-round pick and project player, he's working his way out of the draft all together. 

14. Nate Solder, OT, Colorado

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    The No. 14 overall players according to ESPN's Scouts Inc., Nate Solder hasn't quite looked like a potential top-15 pick.

    The offensive tackle out of Colorado has had a difficult time blocking the smaller and quicker outside pass rushers, while also failing to use his extreme size (6'8", 300 pounds) to his advantage. 

    Solder has often played hunched over and overextended his arms, especially in pass protection.

    Though he's been good against the run, he's been surprisingly mediocre against the pass, which is not something a team wants to see out of a first-round tackle prospect.

    Currently the highest rated tackle on the board, Solder could fall behind guys like Gabe Carimi, Tyron Smith and Anthony Castonzo in the draft.

13. Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevada

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    At 6'6", 225 pounds, former Nevada star Colin Kaepernick has all the makings of your prototypical starting quarterback at the NFL level.

    But although Kaepernick has shown off his athleticism, mobility and arm strength at Senior Bowl practices, he's been deemed as a "project" player.

    He's often held onto the ball too long in the pocket while waiting for his receivers to get open, and his accuracy has been a huge issue all week.

    Kaepernick will probably go in that fourth to fifth-round range simply because of his physical tools.

    But he might fall to the sixth or seven round if he can't improve in those areas he's struggled in. 

12. DeAndre McDaniel, S, Clemson

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    Clemson's DeAndre McDaniel showed up to Senior Bowl weighing much less than expected--which is an issue in and of itself--but the Tiger safety also showed up slower than expected.

    Though he's athletic, his reactions on the field have been too mechanical and his inability to the read the quarterback has been startling.

    Scouts love McDaniel's pre-Senior Bowl size (6', 216 pounds), but he's the No. 4 safety according to ESPN, and he's hardly shown he can be a second-round prospect.

    For McDaniel to improve his status--or prevent falling any further--he'll need to do a better job at reacting to the pass. 

11. DeMarcus Love, OT, Arkansas

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    DeMarcus Love entered Senior Bowl week as a possible first-round pick, mostly because scouts were unsure whether he would play guard or tackle in the NFL.

    Well, they have their answer to that question, but it's not a good one for the Alabama tackle's draft status.

    Love has been deemed as too uncoordinated to play tackle, and he struggles at blocking outside pass rushers because he plays too high.

    The word on Love right now is that he'll move to guard in the NFL, while serving as a potential combo-lineman.

    Because tackles come at a higher premium than guards in the NFL draft, though, Love might move to the middle part of the second round. 

10. Casey Matthews, LB, Oregon

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    When looking at his brother Clay (of the Green Bay Packers), it's hard not to expect Casey Matthews to be a phenomenal prospect.

    Well, he's a good one. He's just not as good as his brother.

    Matthews really struggled rushing the passer and couldn't get around smaller running backs, like Kendall Hunter, during drills.

    He will play inside linebacker at the NFL level, but folks expecting him to be drafted in Round 2 or 3 could be disappointed.

    Matthews will likely be selected in that fourth or fifth-round range because of his limitations as a pass rusher. 

9. Allen Bailey, DE, Miami

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    Allen Bailey is currently listed as the No. 27 overall prospect by ESPN's Scouts Inc., but the former Miami star hasn't done much to help his draft case.

    The 287-pound defensive end was supposed to be one of the dominant defensive linemen at the Senior Bowl, but he's drowned in mediocrity and has been nothing more than just another guy.

    Though Bailey hasn't looked bad, he's been a bit inconsistent.

    He'll use his great athleticism to make a phenomenal play, then follow that up with a couple of duds.

    For a guy with top-20 potential, Bailey could wind up being selected near the end of the first round or even early in the second round if that doesn't change. 

8. Jeremy Beal, DE, Oklahoma

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    Jeremy Beal's week got off to a bad start when he ate too many pancakes and was overweight at the weigh-in, but his play on the field has been even more disappointing.

    He's struggled big-time against bigger, more physical blockers and was pancaked by Marshall tight end Lee Smith on Monday.

    Beal has shown some potential as a pass rusher every once in a while, but he has been constantly overpowered whenever he's engaged tougher linemen and tight ends.

    Though listed as a defensive end throughout college and at the Senior Bowl, Beal will likely get drafted to play outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme.

    Outside pass rushers are highly valued, but Beal's transition to the position and a lack of first-round caliber skills could send him slipping to the latter part of the second round. 

7. Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin

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    The No. 19 overall prospect according to ESPN, Gabe Carimi's not doing himself any favors in Mobile this week.

    The offensive tackle from Wisconsin has been good in run blocking but has really been exposed as a poor run blocker because of his bad footwork.

    Carimi was easily moved around by Christian Ballard and got owned by Ian Williams in line drills.

    It's interesting to note that Carimi also spent time working at guard, which might be best for his skill set, but isn't for his draft status.

    If he makes the full-time move to guard, he won't be a top-20 selection. 

6. Ronald Johnson, WR, USC

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    On day two of practice, USC wide receiver Ronald Johnson had one huge problem that no receiver wants to have: getting open.

    And even on the rare occasion when he could separate from defenders, Johnson struggled when running routes and dropped two very catchable passes.

    Johnson has been using his body because he doesn't trust his hands.

    Given Johnson's small stature (6'0", 185 pounds), his lack of hands and breakaway speed are really not doing him any favors.

    Currently the No. 16 receiver prospect according to ESPN, he's probably been jumped by guys like Jeremy Kerley in the wide receiver pecking order. 

5. Ahmad Black, S, Florida

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    Already undersized for a safety (5'9", 187 pounds), Florida's Ahmad Black has had a difficult time against the pass early on, and that's continued all week long.

    Black has been manhandled by the receivers and tight ends on the South team, even becoming the personal target of destruction for Alabama tight end Preston Dial.

    Black has also had an incredibly difficult time recognizing routes, he's been late getting to the ball and his athleticism has been an issue.

    He entered the week as the ninth-rated safety prospect according to ESPN but may very well have fallen out of the top 10 at that position. 

4. Rashard Carmichael, CB, Virginia Tech

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    Rashard Carmichael, the No. 9 cornerback according to ESPN, has really killed his draft prospects this week.

    His performance earlier in the week was rougher than a bad hangover, but that hasn't even been the worst part of his Senior Bowl experience.

    Carmichael was on the sidelines Wednesday after suffering a high ankle sprain, so he didn't get a chance to make up for his miserable start.

    He could slip an entire round thanks to a very disappointing showing in Mobile. 

3. Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State

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    It's a shame to see something happen that's out of a player's control, but that's exactly what Stephen Paea is dealing with.

    The Oregon State defensive tackle suffered a meniscus injury in his right knee during practice on Monday, and it will require surgery to repair the damage.

    The injury is expected to take roughly eight weeks to heal, and Paea could miss the NFL combine as a result.

    Currently the No. 11 overall prospect, Paea might fall all the way to the end of the first round if his knee injury continues to be an issue.

2. Cameron Heyward, DT/DE, Ohio State

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    When Cameron Heyward arrived to Senior Bowl practice, he was expected to play.

    But the Ohio State defensive lineman revealed that he sustained a left-elbow injury during the Sugar Bowl and underwent Tommy John surgery last week at the hands of world-renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews.

    Heyward, who is the No. 24 prospect on ESPN's Big Board, won't be able to participate in any football-related activities for roughly three months, but he could perform in a combine-type workout (without the bench press) sometime before the NFL draft.

    Still, with a serious injury like this, Heyward, a fringe-first round prospect, could very well fall to the second round. 

1. Greg Jones, LB, Michigan State

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    Greg Jones racked up a whopping 464 career tackles at Michigan State, but his lack of athleticism has been a huge let down this week.

    The 240-pound linebacker has hit the wrong gaps on numerous plays, was destroyed by Wisconsin's John Moffitt on a running play and measured at just 5'10".

    Jones has also had a hard time in pass coverage, often getting outmaneuvered or straight up outrun by more athletically gifted tight ends and running backs.

    Plus, it's not expected that he can play middle linebacker at the NFL level, which means a position change for him and likely even more struggles in the future.