After a week of practices down in Mobile, Alabama, the players on the North and South teams have all of their attention turned to the reason that they’re there in the first place: The Senior Bowl game. The showcase of the best seniors in college football will be a great one, as both teams seemed prepped for the spotlight for the game today at Ladd-Peebles Stadium, broadcast live on NFL Network at 4pm EST.
Watching this week of practice, I noticed a few players that down the line could be good potential draft picks for the Miami Dolphins this year. I strictly looked at players that would be good fits for Miami, so some players for example like quarterbacks like Fresno State’s Derek Carr, and San Diego State’s David Fales really don’t apply here.
Here’s a look at the best five players that I saw from each side, listed in no particular order:
1. Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh: Obviously Aaron Donald from Pittsburgh was the most dominant player I saw all week. It didn’t matter where they put him. Whether it was a double team or a single block, he was as good as advertised. Hopefully his height and length don’t scare off some teams, as they should really focus on the tremendous production, and not his measurables. He seems like a surefire first round talent to me.
2. Ra’Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota: A surprising player for me was Ra’Shede Hageman from Minnesota. I thought that he displayed a lot of physical play at the point of attack, and also showed athleticism moving up and down the line of scrimmage. Unlike his teammate here in Aaron Donald, Hageman is the opposite kind of guy size wise, standing tall at 6’6 and weighing 311lbs.
3. Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB, Nebraska: Jean-Baptiste is a big corner at 6’3 220lbs, and for him to be successful, teams will have to be from the type of school of thought that like big corners and uses them to their strengths in their style of defense. He moved well for a big defensive back, and possibly you could think to play him at the safety position, because he plays physically enough with his dimensions. He’d probably be better suited at the safety position, rather than at cornerback.
4. Chris Borland, MLB, Wisconsin: Borland is everywhere all the time, and his motor really never stops. He’s obviously undersized for a middle linebacker standing at 5’11 , but it hasn’t prevented him from being a dominant player in college football. I believe that with the way he plays, that trend will continue in the NFL.
5. Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame: Martin showed toughness, good footwork, and displayed powerful hands once he was able to control a defensive end or lineman. I think he’s flexible enough to go down to the guard position, and he’s just a good football player that played at the highest competition in college. His skill set should transfer to the next level right away.
Honorable mentions: James White (RB, Wisconsin) , Justin Ellis (DT, Louisiana Tech), Cyril Richardson (OG, Baylor), Dontae Johnson (CB, North Carolina State), Pierre Desir (CB, Lindenwood)
1. Deandre Coleman, DT, California: Standing at 6’5 315lbs, Coleman was sometimes unblockable on the inside as a 3 technique because of his unique blend of power and speed. He was consistent throughout the three days of practice that I watched, and that’s something that scouts will key on as these players make the transition to the NFL.
2. Chris Smith, DE, Arkansas - Smith, along with Auburn’s Dee Ford, were unstoppable for the most of the week because of their quick first step off the edge. Smith played with a mean streak, and played with a purpose. You could tell that he never took off any reps, which something you want out of any player.
3. Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia - If anybody was able to get in front of Smith or Ford, it was the big offensive tackle from Virginia. Moses is athletic at 6’6 320lbs, and he’s equally efficient at run and pass blocking.
4. Kenny Ladler, S, Vanderbilt: Ladler had good quickness, and good instincts playing in the secondary for the majority of the week. He wasn’t afraid to mix it up against the run, and looks like he has a good feel for where he is when he’s out on the field, and positional awareness is always key in the secondary.
5. Kyle Van Noy, OLB, Brigham Young University: - Van Noy is just a pure athlete with great instincts and any team that gets him at the next level will get a quality football player.
Honorable Mentions: Lavell Westbrooks (CB, Georgia Southern), Brent Urban (DL, Virginia), Jay Prosch (FB, Auburn), Keith McGill (CB, Utah), and Daniel McCullers (DT, Tennessee)
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