While the most important part of the 2015 Seniro Bowl was the practices, the game still provides ample value for NFL teams to still watch live and request game film. Some players thrive on game day, many need to solidify a strong week, while others are at positions where game film is more important than practice reps (running backs/linebackers).
Here are the ten players, by position, that need a strong game to improve, maintain, or recover their draft stock.
- Shane Carden, QB, East Carolina
NFL teams have already had the opinion that Shane Carden is a “game-day” impresser at the position, struggling in practices at East Carolina but making impressive placement throws in-game. After a rough week in Mobile, further aiding to teams’ concerns over his velocity, he’ll need a big game to rebound back into firm draft consideration.
- David Johnson, RB, Northern Iowa
The do-it-all running back prospect had a strong week at the Senior Bowl as a quick-footed runner with ample size, plus-pass protection skills and NFL-ready pass-catching ability. He’s a bit stiff as a runner, but if he can break out a handful of big runs in the game, he could be viewed as a safe running back pick with the upside value of a situational H-Back type weapon.
- Dezmin Lewis, WR, Central Arkansas
The small school receiver generated plenty of buzz at the Senior Bowl, showcasing vertical stretching talent, finishing ability at the catch-point, and the upside to develop into a plus-starter at the NFL level. Capping off the week with a big game could put him inline to generate 2nd round discussion for teams.
- La’el Collins, OT, LSU
One of Optimum Scouting’s highest ranked players in the 2015 class, Collins struggled mightily in one-on-one pass protection drills in Mobile. The mauling run blocker with devastating strength in his upper and lower half will need to show NFL teams that, in-game, he can be effective as a pass blocker if he hopes to keep his value as a top-20 option, and as a tackle prospect.
- Danny Shelton, DT, Washington
Danny Shelton is a mountain of a man, especially with his tree trunks for legs and capable of holding 320 well enough to still maintain balance laterally. He’ll have value for NFL teams a space eater and merit first-round grades, but if he can show some of the pass-rushing flashes he had during his senior season in the game, he could be in the top-10 overall discussion.
- Owamagbe Odighizuwa, DE, UCLA
After a very impressive Senior Bowl that saw his length, lateral disruption, and explosiveness as a pass rusher consistently give offensive tackle prospects trouble, don’t be surprised if Roger Goodell says his name in round one of the NFL Draft (which he’ll likely struggle mightily with). A big game could cement top-40 selection.
- Hayes Pullard, LB, USC
The USC linebacker was a leader for the Trojan defense, and transitioned his college success and versatility into a plus-week at the Senior Bowl. After two of the top linebackers dropped out late in the process, Pullard was expected to be the top 4-3 linebacker
- Quentin Rollins, CB, Miami (OH)
The basketball starter turned top cornerback prospect Quentin Rollins thoroughly impressed NFL teams at the Senior Bowl, showing that despite being raw, his fluidity, ball skills and length are more than enough to be a top-three round option. A strong game could pave the way to battling for a first-round pick later in the process.
- D’Joun Smith, CB, Florida Atlantic
Despite hailing from a lackluster football program, D’Joun Smith made the most of the Senior Bowl opportunity, showing he’s physical enough to handle physical receiver and fluid to transition in the mid-range and vertically. In a strong cornerback class, Smith needs to follow a good week with a few nice plays in the game.
10. Josh Shaw, SAF, USC
After “winning the weigh-in” with an impressive frame, built and meeting the size requirements, Shaw had an explosive week of practice, and looks the part of a versatile safety who can add nickel coverage value. After a tumultuous season off-the-field at USC, Shaw needs to continue to keep quiet and impress on the field.