Friday, January 28, 2011
Senior Bowl notes: Whose stock is up?
By ESPN.com staff
Senior Bowl practices are winding down: The players were in shorts on Thursday. Here are a few notes.
Colorado OT Nate Solder may have secured the title of "best offensive lineman available."
Colorado OT Nate Solder was the best lineman here this week. He showed a good combination of size, feet and lateral agility, but the thing that stuck out was his toughness. He was playing with a chip on his shoulder and mixing it up.
UCLA kicker Kai Forbath got this review:
He doesn't have a huge leg, but he's been good inside of 40 yards this week. You can tell, however, that kickoffs are not his strength, as he just doesn't have enough leg. He tries to overcompensate, and it affects his hang time and accuracy. Even Thursday, he did three kickoffs with team drills and unintentionally squibbed two kicks; the one he connected cleanly on reached only the 10.
Washington LB Mason Foster was called a "riser" all week:
Two linebackers who helped themselves this week are LSU ILB Kelvin Sheppard and Washington OLB Mason Foster. Foster showed why he was second in the Football Bowl Subdivision with 163 tackles displaying natural instincts. He finds the ball quickly, reacts quickly and gets into position to make the tackle. He's not the best athlete, but he is a reliable tackler and has enough power, strength and explosiveness in his hips when taking on blockers. He has good coverage awareness and is a big contributor on special teams. At the start of the season, he was a late-round prospect, but after a good campaign and a good week here, he's in the mid-fourth-round range now.
Washington QB Jake Locker got mixed reviews, and that link includes many of them.
Stanford CB Richard Sherman had a good day Thursday:
Stanford CB Richard Sherman had a great day. He’s very big but also real fast. Showed great instincts in the red zone drill, understood where the receiver was going and had enough skill to redirect and/or impede without committing a penalty. Made a couple of good adjustments on the fly, has the balance to change direction quickly and charge under control. He is visibly better than Chris Cook, a CB with similar size who went at the top of the 2nd round last year. The coaches still in attendance gushed over him.
Some more thoughts on California DE Cameron Jordan, including a nice review from an opposing offensive tackle.
Cal’s Cameron Jordan (6 feet 4 inches, 287 pounds) is nearly unblockable.
“He really impressed me,’’ said Boston College offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo. “He’s real strong to go with some good moves and speed. A really good player.’’
Several scouts compared Jordan to former Patriot Adalius Thomas because of his versatility and skill set. Thomas didn’t work out long-term in New England, but Bill Belichick obviously likes that type of player. Jordan is a young, moldable player who will stay within the scheme.
That Boston Globe article also noted Arizona DE Brooks Reed.
While the other top 3-4 outside linebackers will be underclassmen, Brooks Reed (Arizona) and K.J. Wright (Mississippi State) are promising.
Reed is very strong at 6-2 1/2, 257, and has good explosion off the ball. Wright is long-limbed at 6-3 and 246, and played in a passive read-and-react system. He needs to be coached up but has a high ceiling if someone can get him to turn it loose.
More on Reed here:
Arizona LB Brooks Reed has looked very good as an edge rusher in drills. He has been playing with his hand on the ground, as well as on the outside in the Bills' 3-4, this week and has been very impressive getting past tackles.
From the same article, some praise for USC WR Ronald Johnson:
USC WR Ronald Johnson looks like he has some legit run-after-the-catch ability. He's had a good week.
From what I can gather, Jordan, Foster, Reed and Johnson were generally considered the top "risers" among Pac-10 players, and if you go Pac-12, Solder also had a strong week.
Locker, Sherman, Oregon LB Casey Matthews and USC center Kristofer O'Dowd seemed to get mixed reviews, though none of them laid an egg or saw his stock drop drastically.