The Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama featured several NFL prospects with big names, but there were five athletes who did wonders for their draft stock with their performances yesterday afternoon. College FootBlog breaks down these five individuals and analyzes how they could fare in NFL training camps in the upcoming months.
How can you not root for this kid? After nearly dying from a freak accident in the weight room, which crushed his larynx, many thought Johnson would be done with football. Although his numbers were not great (4 carries for 3 yards), Johnson showed his speed and agility on his first carry, making a defender miss en route to a short gain. If Johnson can show the same perseverance and guts that got him back on the field yesterday, his stock will only continue to rise.
Blount’s measurables have never been an issue–at 6’2″ and 240 lbs, he is a load out of the backfield. Blount also possesses a textbook right cross (just ask Boise State’s Byron Hout), which has scouts questioning his character. Since that altercation in Boise, Blount has been on the straight and narrow. Blount’s suspension was lifted, and he has continued to show maturity. In the Senior Bowl, Blount was by far the most NFL-ready running back on the field. Of his 240 lbs, it is all solid and he has good speed and power. He finished the day with 36 yards and a touchdown on just seven carries.
While Tim Tebow got all the press for his strep throat and upcoming Superbowl commercial, it was LeFevour who impressed at quarterback. He showed great escapability and showcased his ability to run and pass. His running style should translate to the NFL because he is quick and despite his size (6’3″, 229 lbs), he does not depend on power, but instead, he has deceptive speed and keeps his eyes down field. LeFevour also showed good pocket presence and delivered the best pass of the day, when he dropped a perfect pass in a very tight window for a 32-yard touchdown to Mardy Gilyard.
Graham was disruptive all game, collecting two sacks and a forced fumble. He showed great explosiveness off the edge, but he also showed a solid base against the run and pass. On a misdirection running play, Graham showed the ability to change direction, shed a block and accelerate to the ball carrier. Graham was always know at Michigan as an end who could get to the quarterback, but he showed tremendous versatility yesterday and likely made himself a lot of money with his dominant performance.
Gilyard was one of the most explosive players in college football in the last two seasons, but experts wondered how he would do against the big boys, outside of the Big East Conference. Simply put–Gilyard showed out yesterday. His size may be an issue with some scouts, but the upside he possesses and the number of ways he can collect yardage (as a return man and a receiver) can not be ignored. Gilyard was on a different level all afternoon, and he highlighted his five-catch, 103-yard performance by leaving All-American cornerback Javier Arenas on a go-route for a touchdown.
Honorable Mention: Jeremy Williams, WR/Tulane; Sean Weatherspoon, LB/Missouri; Colin Peek, TE/Alabama