We're knee-deep into the NFL Draft scouting process and Today'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 South squad to keep your eyes on.
Cyrus Gray - Texas A&M - 5'10" 198 lbs
Terrance Ganaway - Baylor - 5'11" 241 lbs
Vick Ballard - Mississippi State - 5'10" 217 lbs
Chris Rainey - RB/WR/PR - Florida - 5'8" 178 lbs
This group isn't as talented as the North squad but they all could be mid-round steals. Ganaway and Ballard are two guys that have the build to be better pros than they were college players.
Ganaway is built like Tampa Bay's LaGarrette Blount but has a little more straight line speed. He was highly productive in Baylor's spread and speed offense. I'm interested to see how he does in a traditional role.
Ballard is a short and thick and can run between the tackles. He has a surprising burst and he's definitely a guy I could see having a solid NFL career. He built to take on the NFL game right now.
Gray is a guy that most people like but I've soured on since his Sr. Bowl weigh-in. On tape, he looks like a Rudi Johnson and shows similar athletic ability. I figured he'd show up at about 215 lbs. Instead, Gray is less than 200 lbs and doesn't look any faster.
Rainey is a gadget player who showed he can play WR during this week's practices. That added dimension only increases his value. He's the fastest player in the draft and speed is always coveted. I could see him in a Dexter McCluster role in the NFL.
Offensive Line (Interior)
Cordy Glenn - T/G - Georgia - 6'5' 346 lbs
Jeff Allen - T/G - Illinois - 6'4" 306 lbs
Ben Jones - C/G - Georgia - 6'2" 304 lbs
Phillip Blake - C/G - Baylor - 6'2" 312 lbs
William Vlachos - G - Alabama - 6'3" 306 lbs
Obviously the big name of this group is Cordy Glenn. He played primarily OT for Georgia but he projects to be a much better NFL guard. When you watch him, he has an Andre Smith body and plays with poor technique. The crazy thing is he gets it done. He has the tools and power to be a road grading guard in the NFL. He will probably be selected between picks 20-40 in April.
Jeff Allen is a Tackle that measured only 6'4"; small by most NFL standards. Some teams may be viewing him as a guard at the next level and we know how the Bengals love converting OT to OG.
The next group of guys can be flexible in the interior. All could play Center or Guard in the NFL. Blake is a guy that caught my eye while watching the Sr. Bowl practices. He anchored surprisingly well and now I want to see him with his hand down trying to block; something he didn't do much at Baylor. Jones and Vlachos are guys from the SEC with that tough-man mentality. They'll fight through the whistle and both have played in pro style offenses.
Janoris Jenkins - North Alabama - 5'9" 191 lbs
Casey Hayward - Vanderbilt - 5'11" 183 lbs
Dwight Bentley - La-Lafayette - 5'9" 176 lbs
Ryan Steed - Furman - 5'10" 190 lbs
The star of this group is Janoris Jenkins. Know for his off the field trials as well as his raw coverage ability. Jenkins had a good week of practice to show that he hasn't lost a thing in one year of FCS football. He's a little shorter than most would've liked and his entire draft stock still depends on the interview process.
Casey Hayward is a guy I like in my top-5 CB. He's long and lean with great ball skills. He reminds me of a Tramon Williams type. He will probably be selected between picks 25-50.
The next two guys are FCS prospects who have shined. Bentley really surprised everybody with his aggressiveness and toughness. He's a feisty sucker who didn't back down from the elite talent he faced in practice. Steed is built for the NFL game. I want to see him match up against some of these quicker and faster WRs on the North squad. That should give us a better idea of Steed's ability. Both guys look like 4-6 round picks.
Markelle Martin - Oklahoma State - 6'0" 203 lbs
Antonio Allen - South Carolina - 6'1" 203 lbs
Both of these guys are versatile players with NFL bodies and good ball skills. Both aren't afraid to tackle or lay a hit. Martin had a better week of practice but Allen is a guy I really liked on tape. Both players could be fits for the Bengals in rounds 2-4.