We're knee-deep into the NFL Draft scouting process and Saturday's Senior Bowl is one of the most crucial events in draft preparations. It's debatable if the actual game is more important than the previous week's practices, but for some players who may have had a rough week, the game is where they can redeem themselves.
Good thing for us, this game is loaded with talent at running back, corner back and offensive line. It would be a safe bet to say one of these players will be in stripes next season. Here's a few players on the North squad to keep your eyes on.
Doug Martin - Boise state - 5'9" 223 lbs
Chris Polk - Washington - 5'10" 224 lbs (Full Scouting Report - )
Isaiah Pead - Cincinnati - 5'10" 193 lbs
"Boom" Herron - Ohio state - 5'10" 198 lbs
All four players are draftable and two of them are considered top players at their positions. Martin and Polk headline this talent group. Martin is the short, squatty, quick type that is built like a bowling ball. Martin stole the show in practices this week.
Polk is your typical bell cow RB with a new aged twist. Polk is actually a very good receiving RB. Polk was said to have a disappointing week of practices bit I fully expect him to look better in the game in full pads. He's my pick for MVP.
Pead and Herron were both surprises for me this week. Pead was quick, agile and showed he can also return punts. Herron ran hard, tough and pressed the hole. Both guys are complimentary backs in the NFL so they'll need to show their worth in the passing game as weapons and pass blockers.
Offensive Line (Interior)
Kevin Zietler - Wisconsin - 6'4" 315 lbs
Kelechi Osemele - Iowa state - 6'5" 334 lbs
Senio Kelemente - Washington - 6'3" 300 lbs
Zietler and Osemele are two different types but again, two of the top players at their positions. Zietler is more of the technician and all around solid player. Osemele, the converted OT, is a huge man. Raw power and unlimited potential. Both will be coveted on draft day and should be 2nd round picks. Senio Kelemente is more of a sleeper that will probably be a mid-round pick (4-6). I'm interested to see how he matches up with the South's pass rushers.
Others to watch: Mitch Schwartz - Cal, Johnnie Troutman - Penn state, Rishaw Johnson - California (PA)
Jamell Fleming - CB - Oklahoma - 5'10" 202 lbs
Leonard Johnson - CB - Iowa State - 5'10" 198 lbs
Josh Norman - CB - Coastal Carolina - 6'0" 200 lbs
Asa Jackson - CB - Cal Poly - 5'10" 193 lbs
The first three CBs are ranked in my top 10 at the position. Fleming and Johnson are similar. Scrappy, tough players who will get in a WRs face. They can press, run and can tackle. They look like 2nd round picks. Norman and Jackson are small school players with all the talent needed to be starters in the NFL. Watching them against the best seniors in the country will show how high they can climb draft boards. Currently Norman looks like a 2nd - 3rd round pick while Jackson is a 3rd or 4th.
George Iloka - S - Boise State - 6'3" 222 lbs
Harrison Smith - S - Notre Dame - 6'1" 212 lbs
Trenton Robinson - S - Michigan State - 5'9" 193 lbs
Iloka and Smith are strong safety types that can cover TEs. Iloka is long and leggy which hurts his change of direction ability, but he's a good tackler and has some balls skills to offer. He's a guy that teams will value in the 3rd round.
Harrison Smith is a guy I like. He's well-built, strong, and aggressive towards the run. He's a smart and instinctive player and I think he'd be a good fit for the Bengals. Possible 2nd - 3rd round pick. These big, new-age safeties need to cover the TE and both of these guys can.