Pac-12: Senior Bowl

The Pac-12 was represented by six players in the Senior Bowl on Saturday, but the group's impact on the game was minimal.

Five of the six were defensive players, with Stanford fullback Ryan Hewitt (3 carries, 11 yards) the lone offensive player from the conference.

Utah cornerback Keith McGill, who drew rave reviews throughout the week, capped his solid trip to Alabama with a good performance that included a game-sealing interception of Miami's Stephen Morris. McGill measured in at 6-3, 214 pounds and has drawn comparisons to former Stanford star Richard Sherman.

Reviews for two-time Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year Will Sutton of Arizona State were mixed, but his production in the game was there. Sutton was tied with Stanford linebacker Trent Murphy for a conference-high four tackles, including one for a 3-yard loss.

Washington State safety Deone Bucannon recorded three tackles, and Cal's Deandre Coleman followed up a well-reviewed week of practice with a pair of tackles.

Oregon receiver Josh Huff and UCLA's duo of linebacker Jordan Zumwalt (groin) and receiver Shaquelle Evans (undisclosed injury) practiced throughout the week, but did not play.
In a Scouts Inc. list of superlatives from the week, only Huff was included Insider. However, Todd McShay mentions McGill in the accompanying video:
Best vertical speed: Josh Huff, Oregon. We were surprised by Huff's quick start and extra gear when tracking the ball down vertically.

Here is the official box score from the game.

Pac-12 stats

  • Ryan Hewitt, Stanford: 3 carries, 11 yards.
  • Will Sutton, Arizona State: 4 tackles, 1 tackle for loss
  • Trent Murphy, Stanford: 4 tackles
  • Deone Bucannon, Washington State: 3 tackles
  • Deandre Coleman, Cal: 2 tackles, 0.5 tackles for loss
  • Keith McGill, Utah: 1 tackle, 1 interception
Did not play
  • Josh Huff, Oregon: "precautionary reasons"
  • Shaquelle Evans, UCLA: undisclosed injury
  • Jordan Zumwalt, UCLA: groin injury
Here is the last look at how the Pac-12 players performed in Alabama before Saturday's Senior Bowl.

[+] EnlargeShaquelle Evans
AP Photo/Nati HarnikUCLA WR Shaquelle Evans has been a Senior Bowl standout in practices, but might miss the game.
First, some news on the injury front.

UCLA receiver Shaquelle Evans, who had been impressive throughout the week, will not play in the game due to a minor undisclosed injury. His teammate with the Bruins, LB Jordan Zumwalt, is doubtful with a groin strain.

And now, to some observations.

According to the official Baltimore Ravens website, Washington State safety Deone Bucannon has stood out.
Buchannon passes the eye test. He’s cut up and looks like he’s in phenomenal shape. He’s got the right mentality too, talking about how he’ll play anywhere and wants to prove himself on special teams. He’s projected as a possible second-round pick.

Zumwalt, Stanford linebacker Trent Murphy and Arizona State defensive tackle Will Sutton were all included on a list of winners and losers. It was good news for Zumwalt, not for Murphy and Sutton.
Zumwalt: Zumwalt showed great instincts and an ability to cover sideline to sideline. He was all over the field and, despite a wiry frame (6-foot-4, 231 pounds) flashed impressive power as a pass rusher.

Murphy: Maybe it was because he was going against Martin most of the time, but Murphy couldn't beat his man off the edge and failed to showed dominant power. There will definitely be some teams that question whether the nation's sack leader can transition over to the NFL.

Sutton: Sutton dropped 10 pounds to 315 for the Senior Bowl and never seemed comfortable. He looked slow and without great explosion.

Best agility at the Senior Bowl? Possibly Oregon receiver Josh Huff.

Huff may be the most fluid athlete at the Senior Bowl. He shakes past, slips around and jumps over defenders, spinning, twisting and dashing with ease. While Mike Davis of Texas, Jordan Matthews of Vanderbilt and several other receivers stood out, I talked to several scouts who thought Huff was the most impressive of the bunch.

Cal defensive tackle Deandre Coleman was mentioned as a player that improved his draft stock by the NFL Network.

The Detroit Lions are keeping a close watch on Utah corner Keith McGill, who is drawing interest because of his size.

Pac-12 players in Senior Bowl

January, 6, 2014
The Reese's Senior Bowl, which is scheduled for Jan. 25th in Mobile, Ala., is the most prestigious postseason college All-Star game, mostly because it picks the players NFL GMs and scouts want to see up close in advance of the NFL draft.

So far 11 Pac-12 players have been offered and accepted invitations.

Here's the list, which you can review here.

Deone Bucannon, S, Washington State

Deandre Coleman, DT, California

Shaquelle Evans, WR, UCLA

Marion Grice, RB, Arizona State

Taylor Hart, DE, Oregon

Ryan Hewitt, FB, Stanford

Josh Huff, WR, Oregon

Keith McGill, DB, Utah

Trent Murphy, OLB, Stanford

Shayne Skov, LB, Stanford

Will Sutton, DT, Arizona State

Pac-12 lunch links: Browns hire Embree

January, 25, 2013
Happy Friday.

Senior Bowl: Pac-12 shines on Day 2

January, 23, 2013
Todd McShay, Kevin Weidl and Steve Muench had plenty of plaudits for Pac-12 players during Day 2 of Senior Bowl practices in Mobile, Ala., most particularly a UCLA duo.

The ESPN draft gurus seemed to be most impressed with UCLA DE Datone Jones in their review of North team practices , calling him "the most consistently disruptive defensive lineman on the field."

For those of us who wrote about Jones as a potential star for the Bruins, this continues a certain degree of vindication.

Another former Bruin stood out: RB Johnathan Franklin, whom McShay, Weidl and Muench called, "the best of the backs, mostly because he was good in pass protection." The also said his quickness stood out.

This take was seconded by an observer from CBS, by the way, which called Franklin "the consensus top back on the North squad."

Not far behind, though, was Oregon's Kenjon Barner, who also had a good day.

Two other Pac-12 players impressed at North practice: Oregon State WR Markus Wheaton and Washington CB Desmond Trufant.

On Wheaton: "You can see his extra gear, though, and he also has caught the ball well the first two days here after struggling late in the year."

On Trufant, "his ability to recover and short-area quickness are good."

Here's another positive take on both Trufant and Wheaton. Wrote CBS' Rob Rang on Trufant:
"...[I]t might seem strange that a few days of practice could vault cornerback Desmond Trufant into the first round but after two impressive days at the Senior Bowl, that is precisely where some believe the athletic pass defender could be headed.
Over at South practice , where the California and Stanford players are, former Bears CB Marc Anthony stood out as the "best defensive back of the day."

As for Stanford RB Stepfan Taylor, the reaction was lukewarm. "Taylor's a one-speed back who does a good job following his blocks and he didn't have any drops, but his ball skills are average and he has no real burst."
Stanford outside linebacker Chase Thomas and Oregon offensive guard Kyle Long are among 18 players who were announced Thursday as participants in the Senior Bowl, the premier postseason All-Star game.

The Senior Bowl will be played at 4 p.m. ET on Jan. 26 at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala.

The Pac-12 now will feature nine players in the game.

Previously announced conference players are UCLA DE Datone Jones, California OL Brian Schwenke, Oregon RB Kenjon Barner, Oregon LB Kiko Alonso, Oregon State WR Markus Wheaton, Oregon State CB Jordan Poyer and Washington CB Desmond Trufant.

Northwest leads Senior Bowl acceptances

December, 17, 2012
While the rosters are not set, five Pac-12 players already have accepted invitations to the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., on Jan. 28.

It's a Northwest-heavy group: Oregon RB Kenjon Barner, Oregon LB Kiko Alonso, Oregon State WR Markus Wheaton, Oregon State CB Jordan Poyer and Washington CB Desmond Trufant.

The Senior Bowl is the most prestigious postseason college all-star game, mostly because its roster is dictated by NFL scouts.

That doesn't mean every top senior plays in the game. Players certain to go in the top half of the first round -- an Andrew Luck, for example -- often opt out of the game as part of a draft strategy dictated by their agents, who only want their players to showcase their skills in a controlled environment, such as an on-campus individual workout.

The Pac-12 is likely to send more players as invitations/acceptances are announced over the coming weeks.

Criner, Schwartz climbing at Senior Bowl

January, 26, 2012
Former Arizona receiver Juron Criner continues to rally at the Senior Bowl, as he has clearly boosted his stock this week.

From ESPN's Todd McShay: "Arizona WR Juron Criner has had a sneaky-strong week, showing smoothness for his size (6-2, 220) and impressive hands. Criner uses his frame effectively when shielding defenders from the ball, and his 10-4 hands were on display today on over-the-shoulder grabs and catches in traffic. He continued to help himself with another solid effort."

And then there's this from Rob Rang of CBS: "Though he certainly doesn't possess the big play speed of Arkansas' Joe Adams or Houston's Patrick Edwards, he's frankly been a more reliable target this week than either of the other two big possession receivers currently rates ahead of him -- North Carolina's Dwight Jones and Texas A&M's Jeff Fuller."

Also, it appears Criner's former quarterback, Nick Foles, was better on Day 3. From McShay: "Day 3 was a bit better for Arizona's Nick Foles, who showed better balance and accuracy. Foles is playing smart and making good decisions, though we would like to see him be a bit more aggressive. He's making a lot of safe throws, but we'd like to see him let it rip a bit more and show off his arm talent. He's doing what's asked of him within the system but little more, but there's not a lot of excitement or creativity in his game this week."

Rang liked other former Pac-12 players, including a couple from California. He's already touted former Bears wide receiver Marvin Jones, but offensive tackle Mitchell Schwartz also caught his eye:
OT Mitchell Schwartz, California: Overshadowed in the Pac-12 due to the presence of two elite prospects in USC's Matt Kalil and Stanford's Jonathan Martin, Schwartz has stood out this week due to his size (6-5, 317), long arms (33 1/8"), strength and surprising agility. He's held up well at right tackle in pass blocking drills and has done a nice job of sealing off defensive linemen in the running game and has been able to get to the second level, as well. Schwartz has been especially impressive in pass blocking drills, where he's repeatedly stoned Penn State's Jack Crawford and Virginia's Cam Johnson, among others.

Foles coming up short at Senior practices

January, 25, 2012
The Senior Bowl offers a prospect a chance to move up NFL draft charts, and many scouts and GMs are looking at the QB pecking order behind Stanford's Andrew Luck and Baylor's Robert Griffin III. That's where Arizona's Nick Foles has a chance to land.

But Foles hasn't made a big first impression at Senior Bowl practices, according to Todd McShay.
"Plenty of NFL talent evaluators I talked to entering the week named Foles as a player to watch, but he has failed to blow scouts and front-office types away. He simply hasn't shown anything over the first two days here that we haven't already seen on tape, and he's fallen short of the performance level in some of his best games from 2011.

"Foles has been a little less consistent with his accuracy, and as we've seen in the past he tends to do a lot of checking down and dumping off. That two-day practice showing alone isn't enough to change Foles' entire evaluation, but after watching things up close I've been surprised how much better [Oklahoma State's Brandon] Weeden's performance has been."

Another former Wildcat has made an impression — in good ways and bad ways — and that's Foles' top target, Juron Criner.
Arizona WR Juron Criner had a hard time creating separation and didn't show much explosiveness out of breaks, but he caught everything thrown his way. Criner was excellent on Day 2 with his ability to extend his arms and snatch balls out of the air.

Some other Pac-12 players made an impression.

From the Philadelphia Eagles Blog, two Pac-12 players moved up:
Marvin Jones/WR/Cal: Jones, 6-2, 198, was a reliable wideout all through his college career and today showed he has the skills to play at the next level. Jones ran crisp, precise routes which enabled him to get separation from defenders. He also displayed the ability to turn it on with a single step and beat defenders in the deep field. Jones caught everything thrown in his direction and has scouts believing he’ll be a solid fit as a third wide out in the NFL.

Senio Kelemete/OL/Washington: Kelemete looked like the most athletic offensive lineman on the field today and did a great job handling the left tackle spot, where he spent the day. He moves his feet well, displays terrific quickness and handled the speed rushers that lined up against him. The big question about Kelemete is whether his 6-3 ? frame will allow him to play left tackle at the next level or whether he’ll be forced to move to guard.

On the downside, there was Utah OT Tony Bergstrom and Washington RB Chris Polk:
Tony Bergstrom/OL/Utah: Bergstrom, 6-5, 315, looked outclassed on a number of snaps today and was consistently beaten by defensive tackles. He showed little in the way of balance, strength or the ability to stay on his feet.

Chris Polk/RB/Washington: Polk has been running hard on the inside yet shows no elusiveness or creativity. He gets high in his stance and on several occasions during Tuesday practice was stopped dead in his tracks by defenders and showed no ability to bounce around piles or elude would-be tacklers.

Also, Huskies DT Alameda Ta'amu didn't impress CBS draft guru Rob Rang:
The duo stood in strong contrast to Washington's Alameda Ta'amu and Boise State's Billy Winn, each of whom have been disappointments, thus far. Ta'amu is a powerful run plugger sure to intrigue 3-4 teams looking for a nose guard. His power and mass (6-2, 341) makes him a classic block-eater but his lack of any type of pass rush ability is painfully apparent during drills. If his opponent has the anchor and core flexibility to handle Ta'amu's bull rush, the big Husky can offer little else. Winn, who was used inside and out while with the Broncos, may be proving himself to be a 'tweener with a lackluster performance, thus far. He hasn't shown the agility to slip blocks nor the power to push the pocket.

But, as it's important to note, NFL beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and impressions will go up and down during the week. Consider this on Ta'amu.
Watching Washington DT Alameda Ta’amu, it’s really impressive the kind of raw power he possesses when asked to simply overwhelm opposing lineman through contact. He also has a sneaky quick set of hands when trying to shed and can keep himself clean. However, he has a tough time keeping his pad level down through contact and far too often is easy to block because of it.

As a person who has covered multiple Senior Bowls, I can tell you that impressions are complicated. You stand at practice and you can only focus on one position group at a time. You watch 10 plays here. You watch 10 plays there. The 10 plays you see with either could end up being far different than the 10 plays that follow when you move on. The same with the NFL guys you chat with. And those guys often don't want to show their cards anyway.

So the analysis you read at the end of the week rather than the beginning tends to be more complete.

Jones headed to Senior Bowl

January, 23, 2012
Former California receiver Marvin Jones has been invited to the Senior Bowl, where he will join former Bears teammate, offensive tackle Mitchell Schwartz.

Cal linebacker Mychal Kendricks had earlier accepted an invitation for this year’s contest but will not be participating.

The 63rd Senior Bowl, the premier college football all-star game, showcases college football’s top seniors. It will be played Saturday in Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala., at 4 p.m. ET. NFL Network will televise the contest live and also beginning Monday, Jan. 23, will provide coverage of all practices leading up to the contest.

“It is a great honor to be in this game, representing not only myself, but the University of California,” Jones said in a statement. “To play amongst the best of the best in this year’s class while being coached by some of the best coaches in the league adds a great deal of excitement.”

Jones played in 43 games during his four seasons in Berkeley, making 38 starts. He finished his career among Cal’s all-time leaders in receiving yards (2,260, 6th), 100-yard receiving games (6, T6th), receptions (156, T7th) and receiving touchdowns (13, T8th). This past season, Jones recorded career highs in receptions (62) and receiving yards (846), both second on the club behind Keenan Allen, while starting and making at least one catch in all 13 games to extend his streak to the final 38 games of his career. Jones earned honorable mention All-Pac-12 honors and also picked up a spot on the Pac-12 Blog’s all-underrated team as a senior.

Chris Polk becomes senior for Senior Bowl

January, 19, 2012
Ten Pac-12 players have been invited to the Senior Bowl, the premier postseason star game, but there's also an interesting sidenote for Washington fans.

Huskies running back Chris Polk is one of the invitees. It turns out that Polk's announcement that he would bypass his senior season and enter the draft was purely academic: Polk is actually a senior.

From the Senior Bowl press release:
Polk was extended a Senior Bowl invite after it was determined that he had exhausted his eligibility at Washington. Despite being listed as a junior, he never applied for a medical redshirt his freshman year (2008) and thus had no more eligibility remaining.

“We made sure that we followed proper protocol before we invited Chris and that entailed getting everything cleared through the NFL and Coach Sarkisian at the University of Washington,” Senior Bowl President and CEO Steve Hale said. “Once it was determined that Chris had exhausted his eligibility at Washington there was no question we wanted him on our roster. He is an excellent player and has a bright future in the National Football League.”

The 10 Pac-12 selections come from five different schools, with Washington leading the way with three.

Arizona: Juron Criner, WR; Nick Foles, QB
Arizona State: Garth Gerhart, OL; Gerell Robinson, WR
California: Mychal Kendricks, LB; Mitchell Schwartz, OL
Utah: Tony Bergstrom, OL;
Washington: Senio Kelemete, OL; Chris Polk, RB; Alameda Ta’amu, DL

The 63rd Senior Bowl is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Jan. 28 in Mobile’s Ladd-Peebles Stadium. The game and all practices will be televised live by NFL Network.

All 10 invitees were named to All-Pac-12 squads, including four first-team selections. It’s a group that includes the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year (Kendricks) and the conference’s leading passer (Foles) and receiver (Robinson).

Here's the rest of the release:
Kelemete (pronounced KEL-uh-MET-tay) started every game at left tackle for the Huskies this season, earning second-team All-Pac-12 honors in the process. He anchored an offensive line that helped pave the way for fellow Senior Bowl invitee Chris Polk to rush for more than 1,000 yards each of the last three seasons. A converted defensive lineman, Kelemete made 37 starts on offense and four on defense over the course of his career.

Polk was a first-team All-Pac-12 selection at running back this season after posting his third straight 1,000-yard rushing season. He totaled 1,488 yards on the ground in 2011, ranking third in the Pac-12 and 16th in the nation. That total was the second-highest single-season output in school history. He also scored 12 touchdowns and averaged 114.5 yards per game. He added two receiving touchdowns for a total of 16 scores on the year, fifth-most in school history for a single-season.

Polk ranks second on UW’s all-time rushing list with 4,049 yards and is only one of seven players in Pac-12 history to break the 4,000-yard mark. His 799 career carries are a school record and he’s tied for eighth in career rushing touchdowns with 26. He also holds the UW mark for most career 100-yard rushing games (21) and is one of only two Huskies to rush for more than 1,000-yards in three different seasons.

Ta’amu (pronounced tah-AH-moo) was an Honorable Mention All-Pac-12 selection for the Huskies from his defensive tackle spot this season. He recorded 30 total tackles, including eight tackles for loss and four sacks. For his career, Ta’amu made 42 starts, totaling 109 tackles, including 19 tackles for loss and nine sacks.

Juron Criner was an Honorable Mention All-Pac-12 selection this season after catching 75 passes for 956 yards and 11 touchdowns in eleven games for the Wildcats. He ranked sixth in the conference with 86.91 receiving yards per game and was eighth in total receiving yards. He had five 100-yard receiving yard games on the year and three games in which he had multiple touchdowns.

Criner is Arizona’s career record holder with 32 receiving touchdowns and is number four all-time in career receptions (209) and receiving yards (2,859). He posted 11 career 100-yard receiving games and five games with ten or more catches.

Garth Gerhart was a second-team All-Pac-12 honoree after starting all 13 games for the Sun Devils in 2011. The center was part of a unit that ranked third in the conference this year in passing offense, averaging 316.7 yards per game. He played in 39 career games at ASU, making 35 starts and is the brother of former Heisman Trophy finalist Toby Gerhart, who currently plays for the Minnesota Vikings.

Gerhart’s teammate, Gerell Robinson was an Honorable Mention All-Pac-12 selection in 2011 after posting the second-highest single-season total for receiving yards in school history. The wide out finished with 1,397 yards—tops in the conference—and totaled six 100-yard receiving games and seven touchdowns. He also set a school record for receiving yards per game (107.5) and his 77 receptions were third-most in ASU history. He closed out his career with a huge game in the Las Vegas Bowl, totaling 13 catches for 241 receiving yards.

A three-year starter for the Sun Devils, Robinson finished his career with 135 receptions for 2,071 yards and 12 touchdowns. He played in 47 career games, making 25 starts.

Cal linebacker Mychal Kendricks was named the Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year in the Pac-12 and was a first-team All-Pac-12 selection after leading the Bears with a career-high 106 tackles and 14.5 tackles for loss. Those totals ranked fifth and third respectively in the Pac-12 this season. He also had two interceptions, three sacks and two pass breakups on the year. A three-year starter for the Bears, Kendricks played in all 51 games possible during his career with 29 starts. He made 258 tackles, including 36.5 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks. He added seven fumble recoveries, four interceptions, five pass breakups and a forced fumble.

Mitchell Schwartz was a first-team All-Pac-12 pick in 2011 after starting all 13 games at left tackle for the Bears. He was a key member of an offensive line that helped pave the way for Isi Sofele to rack up 1,000-yards rushing this year. He started all 51 games possible during his career, including 35 at left tackle and 16 at right tackle.

Utah offensive lineman Tony Bergstrom was a first-team All-Pac-12 selection this season after leading the Utes with an 85% overall grade on his blocking assignments. The right tackle ‘won’ 546 of 639 assignments in 2011, starting all 12 games in which he played. A Salt Lake City native, Bergstrom made 38 career starts for the Utes, appearing in 48 overall.

Final Senior Bowl notes

January, 31, 2011
The Senior Bowl is over. Who moved up and who moved down NFL draft charts?

Scouts Inc.'s Todd McShay provides a thorough review of Senior Bowl week here.

Some Pac-12 highlights.

McShay named Colorado OT Nate Solder the No. 2 player at the Senior Bowl (and No. 11 overall), writing, "Solder still can improve his technique and overall consistency but he proved to be the most dominant offensive lineman in Mobile. He has outstanding natural mobility for a 6-foot-8 left tackle prospect."

He also named California DE Cameron Jordan No. 5 at the Senior Bowl (and No. 22 overall), writing, "Jordan displayed versatility as a college five-technique who is capable of playing left end in a 4-3 scheme. Needs to add more pass-rush moves and will never have the burst of an elite edge rusher, but he has good size, great hands and a non-stop motor."

He rated Washington LB Mason Foster and Arizona DE Brooks Reed as being "on the rise."

On the downside, USC WR Ronald Johnson was No. 2 on a list of players who failed to improve their stock:
Johnson doesn't have a first- or second-round grade, so it's not like he came in here and hurt his draft stock this week. But where Miami's Leonard Hankerson, San Diego State's Vincent Brown, Boise State's Titus Young and TCU's Jeremy Kerley were able to showcase a lot of their positive qualities, Johnson turned in an underwhelming performance this week. No area of his game stands out and whether it's running routes, running after the catch or even the five returns he had in the Senior Bowl, he just lacks big-play ability. In a wide receiver group that continues to get deeper by the day, Johnson is likely to be a Day 3 pick.

Scouts Inc. also redid its top-32 list, and it included seven Pac-12 players: No. 11 Solder, No. 12 Colorado CB Jimmy Smith, No. 13 USC OT Tyron Smith, No. 16 UCLA LB Akeem Ayers, No. 22 Jordan, No. 23 Washington QB Jake Locker and No. 30 UCLA FS Rahim Moore.

You can review the complete game stats here.

Senior Bowl: Locker, Foster, Jordan buzz

January, 27, 2011
Former Washington quarterback Jake Locker was the center of attention at the Senior Bowl this week, for good and bad reasons. Just about every NFL scout loves his talent. And just as many are worried about his consistency.

Todd McShay provides his take after three days of Senior Bowl practices. His conclusion?

At this point, I'd be comfortable drafting Locker in Round 1 only if I had a veteran starting quarterback whom I could rely on for at least one more year, an owner I know would not push for Locker to play until he was ready and a quarterback coach who knows what he's doing.

And this portion provides a general view of the positives and negatives of the week.

I think it also has been helpful for Locker to go through the process. He's showing NFL personnel and coaches that he's committed to get better and has good football character. He understands he's flawed and has areas he needs to improve on.

Locker knows he's thinking about his footwork too much and he's robotic with his mechanics. It's not second nature and he's not comfortable like most quarterbacks who are able to just go out and play the game. The bottom line is if you're inconsistent with footwork, you're going to be inconsistent with your accuracy.

Another Washington player is generating buzz: linebacker Mason Foster, who is noted by Scouts Inc.'s Kevin Weidl's as a Day 3 top performer.

Foster's instincts are the thing that stick out. He does a great job finding the ball and always being around the ball. He's good at recognizing plays and showed that by diagnosing a screen pass twice and getting in position to make the stop. Of all the linebackers, he has the most quick-twitch power and can strike at the point of attack. In one-on-one pass drills, he has a little pop that shocked blockers and knocked them back. He could be a little better using his hands, but he had a very good overall day.

McShay on former California defensive end Cameron Jordan, a big climber this week.

The thing I took from today is the more I see Cal's Cameron Jordan, who was a 3-4 DE in college, the more I think he's a better fit as a 4-3 left defensive end. He's a lot like Wisconsin's J.J. Watt. People look at them physically and see a great five-technique guy, but I think because they both have great hands, are active on the move and can make things happen that they are better fits at left DE. After studying both on film and seeing Watt in the Rose Bowl and Jordan here at the Senior Bowl, there's not a huge difference between them, but it's obvious Jordan is the better all-around prospect. Jordan is fighting to get in the top 20, while Watt is slightly behind him.

USC receiver Ronald Johnson was up and down on Day 3.

USC WR Ronald Johnson dropped one pass early but bounced back. He tracked the ball well during individual drills and opened up and made a nice adjustment on a pass thrown slightly behind him.

There are pluses and minuses with Stanford cornerback Richard Sherman.

There's a lot to like about Stanford CB Richard Sherman's size and how physical he can be. He made a great read on a five-yard out by Ohio State's Dane Sanzenbacher, but he couldn't get to the ball. He just doesn't have the closing speed.

Former Stanford fullback Owen Marecic needs to catch the ball better.

Love Stanford RB Owen Marecic's fight, strength and competitiveness in one-on-one blitz pickups. On the downside, he really fought the ball in pass-catching drills.

More on Locker, Jordan and Foster here.

A big picture story on Locker here. It just takes one team for Locker to still end up an early first-round pick.

Senior Bowl: Jordan rules

January, 26, 2011
As former California defensive tackle Cameron Jordan surges into the first round of the NFL draft with what is being hailed as a "dominant" and "unblockable" performance at Senior Bowl practices, Bears fans might want to ponder why their defense was mediocre-to-bad in 2009, when Jordan was one half of an end tandem with Tyson Alualu, who was the No. 10 overall pick in the 2010 draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Think about that: Two elite DEs on a unit that surrendered 25.5 points and 379 yards per game. And the rest of the depth chart wasn't too bad either.You could make an argument that Cal in 2009 was a far more underachieving year than 2010.

Anyway, back to the Senior Bowl.

Writes ESPN's Todd McShay on Jordan, "No player has helped his stock more this week than Cal DE Cameron Jordan."

And this:
We're hearing that he's been just as impressive in the interview room as he has been on the field. From everything we're gathering, Jordan is on a business trip here and he's proving to the people who matter that he's ready to be a pro. While he hasn't locked himself into the top part of the first round like Miller and Solder, he's in the process of locking down his spot somewhere in the first round.

On the downside among Pac-10 players is Oregon State DT Stephen Paea, who injured his knee Monday and may miss the NFL combine.
Jordan has been the bright spot in an otherwise sluggish start for the defensive linemen. As Chris Mortensen reported, Oregon State's Stephen Paea will miss the rest of the Senior Bowl with a knee injury. He had a solid season but didn't break through like expected. Then he measured in at 6-2, 292 pounds, which limited the number of systems he fits. There were concerns coming in. Add in the official height and weight not being great and now the injury, and there's a lot of negative momentum for a player who already had slipped down to a second-round grade.

The Scouts Inc. team also had an interesting and insightful take on Oregon LB Casey Matthews (I bet a lot of Ducks fans who've watched Matthews will agree). The conclusion:
There are some problems with his game, but he plays hard, can tackle, wraps well and has great instincts. At worst he's a fourth-rounder but has the potential to climb higher.

Another guy who's making a strong impression: Former Arizona DE Brooks Reed.
Arizona's Brooks Reed had another good day. He has heavy, violent hands. You can hear the difference in bag drills between him and other D-linemen. He used his hands really well in one-on-ones and during team periods and disengaged defenders to keep them from shooting inside. He showed a variety of pass-rushing moves from outside pass rush to inside countermoves to a great spin move to beat Georgia's Clint Boling during the team period. Just love the way the guy plays the game. He hustles, chases the ball downfield and is relentless off the edge as a pass-rusher.

More on the Senior Bowl QBs, including Jake Locker having a better day 2.

Stephen Paea hurts knee at Senior Bowl

January, 25, 2011
Oregon State defensive tackle Stephen Paea went to the Senior Bowl to show off for NFL scouts and secure a spot in the first round of the draft.

Sometimes plans don't go your way.

Paea suffered a possible tear to the lateral meniscus in one knee Monday, sources told ESPN's Chris Mortensen. He was undergoing an MRI on Tuesday after hurting the knee during the opening practice for the North squad.

Writes Mortensen: "While the injury figures to jeopardize Paea's full participation at the scouting combine next month, it is believed that a normal recovery would not jeopardize his playing status for the 2011 season, pending the specific details of the MRI."

So Paea still figures to get picked early and make a lot of money for himself and his family. Still, an injury that jeopardizes his "full participation at the scouting combine" does bring into question whether he will be able to break the combine bench press record.