Inside The Bills

Senior Bowl review: What they’re saying

Posted by Dallas Miller on January 25, 2014 – 2:30 pm

FOX Sports, Coy Wire – Reviews on DE Ford, LB Van Noy, RB Andrews, OLB Sam, LB Borland
Dee Ford, DE, Auburn: Ford was one of the most impressive edge rushers I saw in the first couple days of workouts. When you watch him move, you think he’s a linebacker or safety given his agility. At 6-2 and 240 pounds, you wouldn’t think he could move as well as he does. Because of that athleticism, he was head and shoulders above the other edge rushers at practice.

Ford impressed scouts with his great ability to bend at the waist and get his pads underneath offensive linemen who are trying to hit him and knock him off his path. He’s able to fight through that and continue his route to the passer without stumbling or any hitch in his giddy-up. As a defensive end, he’ll be knocked by some for his size, but he’d be perfect for a team running a 3-4 defense. At 240 pounds, Ford would be able to drop back into zone coverage and matchup with both tight ends and running backs out of the backfield.

Bleacher Report, Chris Trapasso – Senior Bowl Observations
Cornerbacks of All Sizes Shine: Nebraska’s Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Florida’s Jaylen Watkins, Auburn’s Chris Davis and Pierre Desir were the most impressive cornerbacks in Mobile over the past three days and all turned in sound performances on Wednesday.

At slightly above 6’2” and 215 pounds with collegiate experience at wide receiver, there was plenty of chatter about Jean-Baptiste due to the fact that he can be, rather easily, likened to Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks.

In press man coverage, Jean-Baptiste dominated the North receivers all practice.

NFL.com, Bucky Brooks – Day 3 observations
Iowa TE C.J. Fiedorowicz: Teams looking for a traditional tight end should pay close attention to Iowa’s C.J. Fiedorowicz. The 6-7, 265-pound standout is a big-bodied pass catcher capable of wreaking havoc between the hashes. In individual and team drills, Fiedorowicz has consistently gotten open against athletic linebacker by effectively utilizing his size and strength to win at the top of routes. Additionally, he has shown exceptional balance and body control for his size by quickly getting in and out of his breaks. Factor in his superb instincts, awareness and technical skills, Fiedorowicz has been nearly impossible to guard in the middle of the field.

As a blocker, Fiedorowicz has shown good strength and power moving defenders off the ball. He has maintained contact throughout the down and flashed a little nastiness finishing the drill.

Given the need for a traditional, three-down tight end to anchor a power-oriented offensive attack, Fiedorowicz has shown NFL officials that he is up to the job.

» Nebraska CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste: The Seahawks’ journey to Super Bowl XLVIII behind the suffocating play of the “Legion of Boom” has helped Nebraska Jean-Baptiste emerge as one of the top cornerback prospects in the 2014 class. The 6-3, 220-pound standout fits the mold of the long, rangy athletes manning the corner forPete Carroll’s squad; other teams view Jean-Baptiste in that light after watching him dominate Big Ten competition with his superior size and athleticism.

Although he has spent only two years at cornerback — Jean-Baptiste was originally recruited as a wide receiver — he has quickly become an exceptional press corner despite his inexperience. At the Senior Bowl, Jean-Baptiste has impressed scouts with his physicality and movement skills. He has routinely knocked receivers around early in routes, displaying sound footwork and technique executing jam and shadow techniques. Additionally, Jean-Baptiste has shown good awareness and ball skills tracking balls on vertical routes.

With most press corner unable to produce interceptions instead of break ups, Jean-Baptiste’s imposing size and solid skills will make him one of the fastest risers up the charts as draft day nears.

NFL.com, Dan Jeremiah – High 5
Daniel Jeremiah regularly delivers a topical list of college football’s best players. This week he takes a look at five players building momentum for the 2014 NFL Draft at the Senior Bowl.

Auburn DE Dee Ford
I really liked Ford when I studied him on tape, and I wasn’t disappointed when I attended the BCS title game. He was unblockable on that night, using a combination of speed and power to harass Jameis Winston throughout the game. Ford has continued to build on that momentum during the early portion of Senior Bowl week. He has been the most explosive edge rusher by a wide margin. He explodes off the line of scrimmage and his dip/rip move is nasty.

Colorado State C Weston Richburg
Richburg was a pleasant surprise when I studied him on tape. He’s been even better during practices this week. He has very quick feet, a strong punch and great balance. He can anchor down versus power, and he’s athletic enough to adjust on the move. Last year, Cal center Brian Schwenke elevated his draft stock with a solid week in Mobile, and Richburg has followed in his footsteps.

Northern Illinois S Jimmie Ward
Ward has been the most athletic safety during the first two days of practice. He’s shown the ability to mirror wide receivers in the one-on-one drills. He has very quick feet, and he’s fluid when he opens up his hips. I wish he were bigger (he checked in at 5-10 3/8, 191 pounds), but his versatility to play off the hash or in the slot will be very attractive to NFL teams.

MMQB, Greg Bedard – 20 Things I think about the Senior Bowl
2. The most impressive player in person was Pittsburgh DT Aaron Donald. He measured in at 6-1 and 288 pounds—short and light typically for NFL interior linemen—but the production is undeniable. He absolutely dominated one-on-one drills, and did it with a blend of power and speed. There are obvious comparisons to Bengals All-Pro DT Geno Atkins, who similarly dominated the Senior Bowl in 2010 at 6-1½ and 293 pounds. He wasn’t drafted until the fourth round, which was an obvious mistake in hindsight. We’ll have more on Donald soon.

3. Every NFL executive raves about the depth of the receiver position in this draft, so expect teams to load up often at the position. There are all different types of receivers to be had, as you could see from the Senior Bowl. From BYU’s Cody Hoffman (6-4, 218) to Wyoming’s Robert Herron (5-9, 193) it’s kind of pick your flavor at the receiver position, which has undeniably been enhanced over the years with the rise in the passing game on the college level.

6. I fell in love with Clemson T/G Brandon Thomas when he handled South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney largely one-on-one this season. That continued this week. His smart, savvy and tough play reminds me a bit of future Hall of Fame guard Brian Waters. Thomas just knows how to play.

Yahoo Sports, Eric Edholm – Winners from the week of practice
West Virginia RB Charles Sims: He appears to have all the skills and looks like the most well-rounded back down here. Sims didn’t flash much in the receiving game and he might need to pick it up as a pass protector, but he showed good vision and explosion as a runner and didn’t disappoint.

Pittsburgh DT Aaron Donald: It was a banner week for Donald, and when we asked him Wednesday if he was just showing off at that point, he couldn’t help but laugh. Donald consistently won one-on-one drills for three days of practice and was easily the most destructive interior lineman in Mobile, putting questions about his size (6-foot, 288) to the side. Watch the tape.

Wisconsin LB Chris Borland: We’re talking about a throwback body type here — he has been compared to Zach Thomas for years — and Borland even admitted he knows he must prove he can play in pass coverage consistently. But his movement looked good, he was quick to diagnose plays and find the ball, and his effort was visible from the first snap. One scout called him the best interview he had all week.

Auburn DE Dee Ford: The Jacksonville Jaguars’ coaching staff used him in their “Leo” rush linebacker role this week, and a few times it looked as if Ford was shot out of a cannon off the snap. His explosiveness and edge-bending ability was obvious, even if his size (6-2, 243 pounds) isn’t ideal for every system.

Notre Dame OT-OG Zach Martin: He might be a guard for some teams and doesn’t possess ideal tackle size, but Martin held up well outside against the best rushers down here and you’d have to think he solidified his spot as a top-40 pick.

Eastern Illinois QB Jimmy Garoppolo: He earned high marks from scouts for his effort, desire and continued improvement throughout the week. Garoppolo came from the East-West Shrine game, where he starred, and he did his best to adjust to the new receivers and terminology, and flashed a quick release that stood out above some of the other quarterbacks here.

BYU LB Kyle Van Noy: The athletic linebacker was expected to work out well here, and he did, and it will provide some momentum heading to the scouting combine, where he should test exceptionally well for his position. Great in coverage, Van Noy also showed some nice pass-rushing skills that could make him more versatile than expected.

Northern Illinois S Jimmie Ward: Although Ward is not big, he will leave Mobile as the best safety from this group with a strong week of play from start to finish. He didn’t make any true flash plays but was around the ball consistently, and his ability to cover the slot adds to his attractiveness.


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