Mobile Alabama serves as the launching pad for many prospects who may have been overlooked previously. We bring you the ten players with the most to prove in the game as well as the most interesting 1-on-1 battles to watch for.
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2. Jimmy Garoppolo - QB Eastern Illinois. Draft "experts" are saying that Jimmy Garoppolo could become a 2nd round prospect or even late 1st if we performs well in Mobile, but the truth is that Garoppolo is already in that range. He was far and away the top player last week in the East-West showcase and can keep that momentum going this week. He's got a quick release, a ton of arm talent and shows a high football IQ. Let the ascension begin!!!
3. Billy Turner - OT North Dakota State. Billy Turner has ideal NFL offensive tackle size at 6'6" and 315. He is a two time consensus All-American and three time National Champion. In Division II. He'll face a steep step up in competition going up against some of the draft's top pass rushers in Trent Murphy, Marcus Smith and Michael Sam. Turner will be looking to prove he's legit, but if he's not we'll find out real quick.
4. Jordan Matthews - WR Vanderbilt. You wouldn't think the SEC's all-time leading receiver would have anything more to prove, but yet Senior Bowl practice week will be crucial for Matthews. Matthews is not an overly explosive or athletic receiver and there are questions about his ability to separate. The 1-on-1 battles will be huge for him, so if he can show enough quickness and fluidity to create separation in those drills he would lock himself into the 1st round.
5. Tajh Boyd - QB Clemson. Had Tajh Boyd left after last year he probably would have been a 1st round pick, but after just an above average season in which he struggled in big games Boyd's stock is left in limbo. If Boyd is not the top QB on the North squad (Stephen Morris and Logan Thomas) that will be a serious problem. He has the talent to blow us all away with an amazing week and get his stock back on the rise. A lot of money on the line for Tajh.
6. David Fales - QB San Jose State. In a pass-happy San Jose State offense David Fales tossed 33 touchdown passes and 4,000+ yards in each of the past two season. He feasted on weak MWC defenses which are chopped liver compared to the talent he'll see this weekend. Timing, mechanics and ball placement are the keys to look for in Fales this week and if he looks up to speed he could rise into the 2nd round range.
7. Seantrel Henderson - OT Miami. Seantrel Henderson was once the most sought after recruit coming out of high school, but after tumultuous college career he has slid somewhat off the radar. The talent remains with Henderson especially as a run blocker where he is dominant. With a good week, including off-field interviews Henderson could reestablish himself as a commodity to NFL teams.
8. Jimmie Ward - Safety Northern Illinois. It's all about coverage this week for Jimmie Ward. He is one of the top strong safeties in the draft who excels at stepping up in the box to stuff the run, but man coverage is somewhat of a question mark for him. I'm not saying he can't, I just haven't seen it yet. Against the likes of Jordan Matthews, Jalen Saunders and Mike Davis we'll see how fluid his hips are and how comfortable he is in space.
9. Morgan Moses - OT Virginia. Morgan Moses is interesting to me because some draft experts have him very highly ranked (No. 23 overall ESPN), but most have a late 2nd/early 3rd round grade on him. Moses has ideal size at 6-7 325 and is very light on his feet, but in the games I've seen of him I've never seen a dominant player. I'll be looking for him to impress me this week.
10. South Running Backs. Western Kentucky, Coastal Carolina and Georgia Southern. Those are the alma matters of the three South Squad running backs and nobody is really sure what to expect from Antonio Andrews, Jerick McKinnon and Lorenzo Taliaferro. We'll be all eyes this week looking to see what they have to offer from a group that is extremely weak compared to what's on the other side of the field.
WR Jordan Matthews vs CB Darqueze Dennard; Here you've got the SEC's all-time leading receiver matched up against arguably the top cornerback in the 2014 draft class. Darqueze Dennard is one of the more physical cornerbacks you will see, which will be interesting because Jordan Matthews isn't the most athletic receiver and sometimes struggles to create separation.
DT Will Sutton vs OG Cyril Richardson. In Cyril Richardson you're looking at the draft's top interior lineman who is a nasty run blocker. Will Sutton on the other hand is a highly athletic defensive tackle but is lacking in the strength department. At 350 pounds Richardson presents a bad matchup, but to prove Sutton can be a starter at the next level and not just a rotational piece he will need to hold his own.
OT Zach Martin vs DE/OLB Dee Ford. There's a lot of buzz surrounding Notre Dame's Zach Martin as a 1st round pick, but I'm not sold just yet. I want to see him go up against some true speed rushers and Dee Ford is about as quick as they come. If he can neutralize Ford and the South's other edge rushers than I'll be 100% on board.
OLB Trent Murphy vs OT Billy Turner. There are no questions about Trent Murphy's ability, rather I want to see how North Dakota State's Billy Turner will hold up against an elite pass rusher. At 6'6" and 315 with exceptional athleticism Turner dominated at the FCS level, but Trent Murphy is a whole different story. If Turner is in over his head, we'll find out very quickly.
DT Aaron Donald vs C Travis Swanson. Aaron Donald was the most productive defensive lineman in America this year bringing home the Nagurski and Bednarik Awards. Travis Swanson is the top draft eligible Center and was a finalist for the Rimington Award. It will be a matchup of strength against strength as both prospects are highly regarded and versatile so expect the two to be going back and forth all week.
S Deone Bucannon vs South WR's. Deone Bucannon is a strong safety by suit and wasn't asked to play much man-to-man coverage in college. The South doesn't have a ton of talented receivers, but if Bucannon shows the fluid athleticism to cover in space he could solidify himself as a day two pick.
(Atlanta Falcons Coaching Staff)
|Logan Thomas||QB||Virginia Tech|
|Carlos Hyde||RB||Ohio State|
|Charles Sims||RB||West Virginia|
|Michael Campanaro||WR||Wake Forest|
|Jeff Janis||WR||Grand Valley State|
|Zach Martin||OT||Notre Dame|
|Jack Mewhort||OT||Ohio State|
|Tyler Larsen||OG/C||Utah State|
|Weston Richburg||C||Colorado State|
|Kadeem Edwards||OG||Tennessee Tech|
|Kareem Martin||DE||North Carolina|
|James Gayle||DE||Virginia Tech|
|Will Clarke||DE/DT||West Virginia|
|Da'Quan Jones||DT||Penn State|
|Darqueze Dennard||CB||Michigan State|
|Nevin Lawson||CB||Utah State|
|Dontae Johnson||CB||NC State|
|Isaiah Lewis||S||Michigan State|
|Deone Bucannon||S||Washington State|
|Jimmie Ward||S||Northern Illinois|
|Kirby Van Der Kamp||P||Iowa State|
(Jacksonville Jaguars Coaching Staff)
|David Fales||QB||San Jose State|
|Jimmy Garoppolo||QB||Eastern Illinois|
|Derek Carr||QB||Fresno State|
|Antonio Andrews||RB||Western Kentucky|
|Lorenzo Taliaferro||RB||Coastal Carolina|
|Jerick McKinnon||RB||Georgia Southern|
|Marcel Jensen||TE||Fresno State|
|Billy Turner||OT||North Dakota State|
|Bryan Stork||C||Florida State|
|Gabe Jackson||OG||Mississippi State|
|Will Sutton||DT||Arizona State|
|Christian Jones||OLB||Florida State|
|Kyle Van Noy||OLB||B.Y.U|
|Telvin Smith||OLB||Florida State|
|Jeremiah Attaochu||OLB||Georgia Tech|
|Lavelle Westbrooks||CB||Georgia Southern|
|Terrance Brooks||S||Florida State|
|Jemea Thomas||S||Georgia Tech|
|Marcus Heist||LS||Kansas State|