Todd McShay listed his top storylines for the Senior Bowl, set for Saturday in Mobile, Ala. The week kicks off today, with 100 prospects vying for the attention of NFL scouts, general managers and coaches.
Here are a few of the non-AQ storylines I am going to be following:
1. Andy Dalton and Colin Kaepernick. Two of the most underrated quarterbacks in college football get a chance to prove themselves in the senior showcase event. McShay says this of Dalton: "Dalton is one of the more underrated quarterback prospects in the class and this is a good opportunity to show NFL teams that he is capable of scanning the field and making all the necessary throws from within the pocket." And of Kaepernick: "Like Dalton, needs to look fluid dropping from under center and needs to make sound decisions."
Both quarterbacks were the unquestioned leaders of their teams and have the intangibles necessary to play quarterback. Dalton won 44 career games -- and went 25-1 over his last two seasons. Kaepernick guided Nevada to its best season this past year at 12-1 and became a master of the Pistol. Dalton would appear to be the most "NFL ready" of the two. The bigger questions surround Kaepernick, simply because he ran an offense that is completely different than what he will be asked to do in the NFL. McShay is right in that he is going to have to start taking snaps from under center -- remember that was a big question that hounded Tim Tebow at this time last season. But his athleticism, and improved passing, should make him somebody worth looking at on the next level.
2. Receiver competition. Plenty of big-time non-AQ players at receiver in this game. You have Austin Pettis and Titus Young from Boise State, Greg Salas from Hawaii, Vincent Brown from San Diego State and Dwayne Harris from East Carolina. Of that group, Pettis and Young are the most well known nationally. Young has incredible speed but is slightly undersized at 5-11. Harris has tremendous versatility. Pettis is as sure handed a receiver as you will find, though his speed may be called into question. Salas racked up the stats in the pass-happy Hawaii offense but could be labeled a "system guy." I am looking forward to seeing how they all do.
3. All-purpose players. Jeremy Kerley has had a tremendous career at TCU as one of the top all-purpose players in the country. So has Harris. It will be interesting to see how their skills translate into the next level. Kerley is small, at 5-foot-10, but he could make an immediate impact on special teams returning kicks. One player missing from this group who was scheduled to play in the game -- Troy's Jerrel Jernigan, who is out with a high ankle sprain. He hopes to be healthy for the NFL combine next month.
Here are other non-AQ players in the game:
Tulsa RB Charles Clay
TCU C Jake Kirkpatrick
Temple DB Jaiquawn Jarrett
Toledo OL Kevin Kowalski
Marshall TE Lee Smith