As I said earlier in the week, I got a chance to watch every drill from Day Two and Three of the Senior Bowl, so I'd say I have probably as good of a look at each of these prospects as every NFL team does here.
That being said, a handful of guys impressed me far more than I had anticipated. These rankings are NOT combining Senior Bowl evaluations and game film evaluations because they are not one in the same. Scouts use this as just a step in the process.
Top 10 Most Surprisingly Impressive
This "ranking" consists of ten prospects that impressed more than I initially thought they would based off of film study from games before I got here. I know that I'll be re-watching these top six guys to see if their Senior Bowl impressions were a week long fluke or actually indicative of their abilities. Look for each position recaps for more detail.
1. Marvin Jones, WR, California
2. Derek Wolfe, Cincinnati
3. Mitchell Schwartz, OT, California
4. Cordy Glenn, OT, Georgia
5. Russell Wilson, QB, Wisconsin
6 .Mike Martin, DT, Michigan
7. Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama
8. Brandon Boykin, CB, Georgia
9. Joe Adams, WR, Arkansas
10. Chris Rainey, WR, Florida
1. Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State
2. Russell Wilson, Wisconsin
3. Kirk Cousins, Michigan State
4. Ryan Lindley, San Diego State
5. Nick Foles, Arizona
NOTES: To anyone watching the practices (and it should have been VERY clear beforehand), Brandon Weeden was the clear cut quarterback here, showing outstanding touch, anticipation, full-field reads, and an overall instant chemistry in the new offense. His footwork left much to be desired still however. Russell Wilson, based on the numbers article on the Daily Notes I posted earlier today, was outstanding in his ability to make multiple reads down the field, placing the ball on time and with confidence across the field. Nick Foles on the other hand looked really awkward coming back from center, extremely indecisive in his reads, lacked any transition in his reads, and overall looked like he's West Coast system or bust in the NFL to me.
1. Doug Martin, Boise State
2. Chris Polk, Washington
3. Isaiah Pead, Cincinnati
4. Vick Ballard, Mississippi State
5. Lennon Creer, Louisiana Tech
NOTES: The running backs weren't highlighted much at all this week, limited really in how much they could do outside of foot quickness drills, route running from backfield, and pass blocking. Still, only Doug Martin was consistent as a receiver and blocker at the running back position. Chris Polk has the build and at times showed balance and power as a blocker, but was blown up at times and didn't keep his head up through his block. I didn't want to put Lennon Creer too high because it was only one day of real practices, but he held his ground very well in pass protection and showed some receiving ability on Wednesday.
1. Marvin Jones, California
2. Joe Adams, Arkansas
3. Chris Rainey, Florida
4. Juron Criner, Arizona
5. Dwight Jones, North Carolina
NOTES: Man, if anyone made the most out of the Senior Bowl, it was Marvin Jones of Cal. His routes were crisp at every level, he had little wasted motion in his cuts, caught away from his body well down the field, and consistently was on time and in great position to make a play on the ball. Joe Adams and Chris Rainey were the big play threats for the South team. Adams seemed to be awesomely in-sync with Brandon Weeden and overall exploded well into his cuts while also being patient in his defensive back reads across the middle. Chris Rainey was listed at running back (and WANTS to play there in the NFL) but looked best working down the field and utilizing his quickness initially and big play speed down the field. Dwight Jones looked powerful and focused on Monday, but seemed to lose some early passion and physicality as the week went on. Still, his day one dominance and raw talent still impressed. And Juron Criner didn't have an overly flashy week, but he caught away from his body well, adjusted in air, and was positioning himself in traffic well all week.
1. Cordy Glenn, Georgia
2. Mitchell Schwartz, California
3. Mike Adams, Ohio State
4. Matt McCants, UAB
5. Kelechi Osemele, Iowa State
NOTES: First off, there was no doubt to me that Cordy Glenn was the best offensive TACKLE here by a fairly wide margin considering the fact that he faced substantially better rushers than the North squad and from what I saw on film study from practices, only got beat twice all week if you consider he'd have inside leverage in a game situation. To me, he's no longer a guy "that has to kick inside". He's a tackle, maybe even a short term left tackle to me. Mitchell Schwartz of California got little love this week, including from myself, but after Josh Norris of Rotoworld.com told me to watch him a little further, he throughly impressed. He anchored well, was powerful and balanced in his pass protection slides, and looked the part of a powerful right tackle in the NFL. After those two, there was a sharp drop off, with Mike Adams of Ohio State really struggling this week and confirming my thoughts that he is a high risk as a tackle prospect. He's too finese, has no physicality with his hands, gives up too much room inside for counter rushes, and overall doesn't have the explosion or fire in his game to make him a high draft pick. Matt McCants of UAB struggled a lot this week as well, but at least his issues (not getting wide enough in pass protection, taking a poor first step, keeping hands too high) are correctable.
Interior Offensive Linemen
1. Kevin Zeitler, Wisconsin
2. Tony Bergstrom, Utah
3. Ben Jones, Georgia
4. Jeff Allen, Illinois
5. Phillip Blake, Baylor
NOTES: Kevin Zeitler was impressive early in the week, but he showed that if he doesn't get that initial inside hand placement off the snap, something he did get regularly on film, he's almost consistently beaten by quicker, low rushers. He's still a very solid guard prospect, but not elite. Tony Bergstrom was a pleasent surprise, holding the point of attack well and showing some pop in his initial punch. Ben Jones did a good job taking advantage of quicker rushers mistakes with his upper body power and footwork in the short area.
1. Mike Martin, Michigan
2. Derek Wolfe, Cincinnati
3. Brandon Thompson, Clemson
4. Kendall Reyes, UConn
5. Alameda Ta'Amu, Washington
NOTES: In one-on-one drills, few were as consistently dominant as Mike Martin of Michigan. He used inside leverage well, was sudden, powerful, and low off the snap, and had some developed double rush moves. Derek Wolfe was a surprisingly impressive rotated defensive linemen here after further film study, moving very well laterally, tracking the ball through the line well, and taking advantage of poor hand/foot placement by the blocker. Kendall Reyes showed some burst and power in his leg drive off the snap all week, but he and Brandon Thompson showed little in terms of a counter rush or disengage ability if they were locked up. Alameda Ta'Amu doesn't seem like he can fight through doubles well at all, but as a one-on-one rusher, he showed some impressive quick rushes, keeping his balance and the interior blocker off balance.
1. Courtney Upshaw, Alabama
2. Quinton Coples, North Carolina
3. Melvin Ingram, South Carolina
4. Cam Johnson, Virginia (listed at OLB)
5. Vinny Curry, Marshall
NOTES: A consistent beast, Courtney Upshaw has one of the most explosive and forceful initial punches in his pass rush and was able to extend and drive any blocker (with the exception at times of Cordy Glenn) backwards and off balance. He may have embarrassed Zebrie Sanders himself enough to the point that Sanders drops from a 1st to a 3rd round pick. Quinton Coples was literally not blocked adequately once on day one, but slowly stopped his disruptive nature in team drills the following days. Melvin Ingram showed some great interior rushing ability, which only further adds to his versatile nature as a potential end in a 4-3 or 3-4 defense and still a potential linebacker in a 3-4 as well. Cam Johnson was at linebacker on the roster, but he looked best as a pass rusher on the outside in defensive end work, showcasing suddenness off the snap and some great counter rushes from outside-in.
1. Sean Spence, Miami (FL)
2. Lavonte David, Nebraska
3. Nigel Bradham, Florida State
4. Zach Brown, North Carolina
5. Bobby Wagner, Utah State
NOTES: Sean Spence has been the smoothest athlete of any in the drills so far this week, utilizing his quick feet, balance, and fluidity to make up for a bit raw of technique in his drop-back. But explosive to the ball, just seems like a gamer. Lavonte David looks like a bit less athletic/not as built version of Spence, but still shows that same big play ability even in drills, and seemed to get better in coverage as the week went on. Bobby Wagner flashed some skills this week, but none that he didn't already show on film. I'm looking forward to watching him shed blocks on game-day.
1. Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama
2. Brandon Boykin, Georgia
3. Casey Hayward, Vanderbilt
4. Ryan Steed, Furman
5. Leonard Johnson, Iowa State
NOTES: It seemed fairly evident on film who the two best cornerbacks were here in Mobile in Janoris Jenkins and Brandon Boykin. Jenkins showed outstanding physicality but also staying tight in the receivers hip pocket and transitioning well in cuts both in press and off coverage. Boykin did the same as well, mirroring well down the field and mixing it up with longer receivers on out-routes and cutting down the cushion well. Ryan Steed used his size well all week long on deep throws and though he was caught out of position at times and not closing from his back pedal as well as I'd like, the fact that he was in the film room for almost as long as I was watching other receivers shows his desire. Leonard Johnson didn't impress me as a guy who could be a great starter in the NFL, but as a guy who could be an ideal nickel cornerback thanks to his ability to mirror from 5-8 yards back and still use his hands legally down the field against quicker receivers.