College football season is over and the final two teams are determined that will be playing for the Super Bowl. For many, the Super Bowl is a special day that would easily rank in the Top 5 “holidays”. However, I am neither a Packers fan nor a Steelers fan. In fact, my favorite Pro team hasn’t been to the Super Bowl in so long that I could make an argument that the NFL Draft is my Super Bowl. With all that said, Jeremy Shory and I will be make the short 10 hour drive to Mobile, AL for the Senior Bowl practices and game. This will be the 4th time in the last 5 years that I will be attending and with the exception of Juaquin Iglesias, it is pretty amazing how the guys that shine at the Senior Bowl seem to be the same guys that make impacts in the NFL. Whether you are a draft nut or looking for that next fantasy sleeper (i.e. LaGarrette Blount), you will want to check back to get updates on the events this week.
This years Senior Bowl is loaded with NFL prospects especially on the offensive side. Here’s my early outlook on the North Team:
Starting things off, the North has Jake Locker who many considered a Top 5 pick a year ago but now is fighting to get drafted in the 1st round. No quarterback has more money riding on this week’s practice than Locker who must prove he can be accurate at the pro level. Colin Kaepernick from Nevada is someone I am very curious to see as he has all the intangibles that you want from a QB however looks to have questionable accuracy. If he bombs at QB, I wouldn’t be surprised to see he re-surfaces at a different position as he is the type of player coaches love to have around. The final QB on the North squad is Ricky Stanzi from Iowa who is the nothing like Locker and Kaepernick as he is a pure drop back QB. The NFL has moved away from guys that are stiffs in the pocket so Stanzi will need to show that he can make reads with a quick release…and of course with accuracy in order to over-come the currently present bias against slow-footed NFL QBs.
This group is led by Oklahoma’s DeMarco Murray who is expected to get drafted in the first few rounds. Durability is really the major concern with Murray who could never seem to stay healthy in college. Kendall Hunter from Oklahoma St is a tad bit under-sized so he will need to impress with his quickness and speed. Roy Helu Jr. will impress the scouts with his measurables but needs that to translate on the field if he wants to avoid falling to the end of the draft. Da’Rel Scott has the most to prove of the group as he appears headed to Free Agent Rookie. Scott has enough skills to interest NFL teams but will need to prove he can run between the tackles in order to get drafted.
The receiver group for the North doesn’t have that elite player that will crack into the 1st round but does have some guys that were highly productive in college. Niles Paul from Nebraska should be the top guy drafted from this group because he possesses the most upside. Dwayne Harris from East Carolina was one of my favorite players to watch in college so I’m looking forward to seeing him up close. Harris will make his name in the NFL as a slot receiver so this will limit his ability to get drafted too high. However, a good showing in Mobile this week could help him move into the 2nd day’s rounds. Austin Pettis and Titus Young from Boise are also on the team and both could see their stock drop quickly with poor practices. Young grades out well overall but lacks the size and 40 time to afford to disappoint. Pettis has decent size but doesn’t have one thing that really stands out and I have a sneaking feeling he could be the guy that disappears this week. The final receiver on the roster for the north is Vincent Brown from San Diego St. Brown is similar to Young in the fact he lacks elite speed or size, so he needs to make sure he excels in the other areas like route running and hands.
Lance Kendricks from Wisconsin was one of the more prolific pass catching tight ends in the country and will solidify a 3rd round draft rating with a good week. I don’t see him being able to improve his stock too much so this week is more about showing the scouts what they already know about him. Mike McNeil is a tough football player that will impress the coaches but the scouts likely won’t get too excited. Again, McNeil isn’t the type of player that will shoot up the draft board with the Senior Bowl, but can solidify his 4th-6th round grade with a good week.
We will be giving our daily observations starting on Wednesday so be sure to check back with us at fantasycollegeblitz.com.