Surprises and Setbacks – North Roster of 2014 Senior Bowl

Senior Bowl – Standouts and Disappointments for North Squad

Watching the practices during the Senior Bowl Week, I was able to notice a few things regarding individual performances.  Some played well, while others struggled – obviously this is not to say all who excelled will be regular All-Pros and every one who faltered will fail in the NFL.  Let’s first break down the roster of the North team.

North Notes:  Jared Abberderis (Wisconsin) looked solid in route running and catching the football; I feel he can still be a viable option in the middle rounds as a consistent third wide receiving option.

Ra’Shede Hageman (Minnesota) did a tremendous job in filling in gaps and plugging holes.  He is not extremely athletic, but does a fine job bull rushing.  I have a feeling he may be over-drafted by a needy franchise.

While shifting inside to offensive guard, Michael Schoffield (Michigan) more than held his own during group drills.  The lineman showed his versatility and likely impressed scouts during the process; perhaps he can become a starter when it’s all said and done.

Standing Out:  Wide receivers Josh Huff (Oregon) and Robert Herron (Wyoming) both excelled in one-on-one matchups against solid defenders (like Dontae Johnson – a guy I tabbed to keep an eye on this week).  Neither are top-tier options, but perhaps they can move to the second round and be a complementary option on offense.

Offensive tackles Jack Mewhort (Ohio State) and Zach Martin (Notre Dame) have both been impressive.  Mewhort did a great job on individual matchups, especially when facing Kareem Edwards (North Carolina).  During running plays, both linemen opened lanes on the outside.  Martin has been exceptional all week long and might become a first rounder and an opening day starter at left tackle.  Mewhort could go a round or two later, but his ability to play multiple positions will help his standing with franchises.

Offensive center Weston Richberg (Colorado State) displayed strength while pushing back defenders on a regular basis.  He took on several tremendous guys (including Hageman and Aaron Donald) and never gave up ground.  He could become the top draft option at center, and as a result become a later first round or second round option.

Defensive lineman Aaron Donald (Pittsburgh) got off the ball quickly and employed a couple different moves to get past offensive linemen.  In double-team drills, he made it arduous for two guys attempting to block him.  The only thing that might hurt Donald is his smaller size as a tackle (otherwise he could become an end).  Nonetheless, a team will likely select him in the first round.

Chris Borland, the inside linebacker (Wisconsin), showed his huge heart despite his lack of size. He fiercely competed in all drills and did well in the process.  I’m not certain he can be an every down linebacker, but I would not be upset if the Browns drafted him (in the middle rounds).

Disappointing:  Quarterbacks Tajh Boyd (Clemson), Logan Thomas (Virginia Tech), and Stephen Morris (Miami) left me underwhelmed.  Watching individual drills, it did not matter if it was against air or there was a secondary present, but the trio had issues with accuracy and consistency (despite great velocity on throws).  This worries me when NFL defenders are blitzing and forcing them to make quick decisions.  Obviously, they will get coached up – but as of now I fail to see any being franchise quarterbacks.

Offensive guard Cyril Richardson (Baylor).  He got stood up a few times and refrained from “staying low” and using his lower body while facing defensive linemen.  This can change with good leadership and poor tendencies can be broken in high-pressure situations.  However, losing one-on-one battles could raise red flags and cause the lineman to fall later than his second round projection.

The constant holding of cornerback Nevin Lawson (Utah State), while in coverage, is eye opening. I don’t know if had doubts about his ability to keep up with wide receivers but he was not helping himself in Mobile.  Already a late round probability, that could be degraded by the time May rolls around.

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