TE Luke Stocker could have jumped into the 1st round with a great week
The game is still set to be played, but many scouts are already on their way out of Mobile, Ala. as padded practices have ended for the 2011 Senior Bowl.
As with every year, there have been some questions answered and some careers made after three days of full practice. Let's take a look at both the highs and lows of the past week.
Luke Stocker, TE- Tennessee
Stocker had three solid days of practice, cementing himself as perhaps the best all-around TE in the draft and a possible first round pick. He has incredible athleticism, was a willing and able blocker and soft hands in the receiving game.
Cedric Thornton, DE- Southern Arkansas
Every year there is a small school player who proves that he has what it takes to make plays against top competition. Last year it was Alex Carrington who had an exceptional Senior Bowl and wound up as a third-round pick for the Bills. This year it's Thornton. He might not make the third round, but he showed a tremendous motor, brute strength and solid drive on the defensive line. He's a max effort guy, but he can become a solid member of a defensive line rotation.
Christian Ponder, QB- Florida State
Ponder helped himself more by what didn't happen than what did. Coming off of an injury-riddled year and a late season surgery, Ponder showed that he still has above-average arm strength to go along with his incredible football IQ and leadership skills. His mobility also surprised some scouts, as he easily avoided defenders in the backfield. He still might not be 100 percent, but he's proved he is healthy, which was the biggest hurdle.
Phil Taylor, NT- Baylor
The good week started for Taylor when he showed up at the weigh-in carrying his 337 lbs well and not looking at all sloppy in his frame. It got even better when he consistently pushed back against the offensive line in practices. In a league that values true NTs, Taylor just jumped up into the second round.
Colin Kaepernick, QB- Nevada
Kaepernick was a QB who was thought of as more developmental prospect than anything. He has a long delivery left over from his days in baseball and a lanky frame, but impressions can change quickly. He showed up in Mobile more filled out than before, showed impressive arm strength, solid mobility and the accuracy to make some really tough throws. He still has some issues to work out with his delivery and is a few years away from starting, but he's got teams talking about using a second-round pick on him.
Vincent Brown, WR- San Diego State
Brown's lack of ideal top end speed or elusiveness had many people wondering how he would do against faster and stronger corners. The answer is that it makes no difference. Brown is a smart receiver who seems to always find the open spots in coverage and simply catches everything thrown his way. In a loaded WR class, he looks like a great second-day value.
Leonard Hankerson, WR- Miami
Another WR who really helped himself, Hankerson was turning heads all week. He has great NFL size and speed and showed far better hands than anticipated. He's still not on the level of AJ Green or Julio Jones, but he could fill the void left when Justin Blackmon and Michael Floyd returned to school and provide great second-round value.
Lee Smith, TE- Marshall
It's not common for such a limited athlete to have such a great week, but Smith was an absolutely dominant blocker. The NFL is now a two-tight end league that sees incredible value in blocking specialists that act as an extra offensive lineman. Smith just proved that he can play five to eight years in the NFL in that role.
Cameron Jordan, DE- California
Already a first-round pick, Jordan just moved himself into top-10 consideration with a dominant week. Many scouts have said it was one of the most impressive performances they have ever seen at the Senior Bowl. He was constantly in the backfield, showing an impressive array of speed and strength off the end.
Gabe Carimi, OT- Wisconsin
Another high profile prospect who really helped his stock this week. Carimi was seen as strictly a RT in the NFL but proved that he has the feet to compete on the left side. He was also the only OT who really looked comfortable when moved inside to guard. That versatility and more importantly, the ability to play LT, should secure him a first round grade again.
Andy Dalton, QB- TCU
This isn't so much a reflection of Dalton as it is on the expectations people placed on him. Many thought that Dalton was going to be the biggest riser when unleashed from TCU's dink and dunk offense, but that talent never showed up. He didn't display great accuracy outside of the hash marks, and many of his passes wobbled and fluttered when he was asked to go downfield. He has some skill, but didn't breakout like many expected.
James Brewer, OT- Indiana
A suspect addition from the start, Brewer really had a tough week. He was abused on many occasions by the DE's in seven-on-sevens, sometimes not even laying a hand on guys as they blew by him. A player who already had injury concerns, he proved that he may not even be starting material when healthy.
Noel Devine, RB- West Virginia
It all started for Devine at the weigh-in. There just aren't many 5'7" 160-pound guys in the NFL. Sure, he shows great burst, but a player that size needs to be utilized in the passing game as well, and Devine too often gets lost behind the defensive line due to his small stature. He claims he'll weigh in at 180 when the combine rolls around, but consider me a skeptic.
DeMarcus Love, OT- Arkansas
This week was like a continuation of the bowl game for Love, who showed poor hand technique all week and never seemed to really improve despite constant coaching. He plays too off balance at times, ending up falling on his face on multiple occasions, which is never a good sign. He has some potential, but is not the first- or second-round talent that this season had indicated.
Lee Ziemba, OT- Auburn
Another offensive lineman who may have been more the product of a solid offense than the reason for it. Ziemba isn't a natural bender and didn't show that he could handle the edge rush as an offensive tackle. He also struggled when switched to guard, giving no indication that he could play inside in the tight spaces.