Senior Bowl: This week's standouts
January, 23, 2014
By Todd McShay, Steve Muench and Kevin Weidl | ESPN.com
MOBILE, Ala. -- The Senior Bowl game isn’t until Saturday, but the individual drills, group drills and team sessions in practices Monday through Thursday have already given us a very good idea of what the prospects here this week bring to the table.
Here is our take on the prospects whose skills separated them from the others in areas specific to their respective positions. Which QB has the strongest arm? Who is the fastest receiver? Consider these the prospect superlatives for the 2014 Senior Bowl.
Best footwork: Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois
Garoppolo has shown the most precise footwork of any QB here this week. We've been impressed with his ability to marry his eyes to his feet while going through his progressions.
Strongest arm: Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech
This one's not even close. Thomas has elite arm strength to push the ball vertically. The windy conditions on Tuesday gave him an opportunity to show off that arm.
Quickest release: Derek Carr, Fresno State
Carr's above-average arm strength isn't the only reason he can get the ball from Point A to Point B. Once Carr makes up his mind where he's going with the football, he gets it out of his hands more quickly than any QB here. Garoppolo was a close second.
Most versatile: Charles Sims, West Virginia
Even though he has smaller hands, Sims catches the ball well and he's an above-average route-runner in addition to his lateral quickness as a ball-carrier.
Vision/Instincts: Antonio Andrews, Western Kentucky
AP Photo/G.M. AndrewsAlabama's Kevin Norwood has a knack for being able to go up and get the ball.
Andrews is a strong between-the-tackles runner who has shown good patience and vision while making the most of his blocks.
Best vertical speed: Josh Huff, Oregon
We were surprised by Huff's quick start and extra gear when tracking the ball down vertically.
Best separation skills: Robert Herron, Wyoming
While Herron has had a hard time fielding the ball this week, he's been the most explosive transitioning in and out of breaks.
Best ball skills: Ryan Grant, Tulane and Kevin Norwood, Alabama
Grant and Norwood were the most consistent pass-catchers here this week as they both showed natural hands and good body control when adjusting to throws.
Best run-blocker: OT/OG Zack Martin, Notre Dame
Martin makes up for his lack of overwhelming power with quick feet, sound hand placement and tenacity.
Best pass protector: OT Morgan Moses, Virginia
Moses can work on his consistency, but he uses his length to cut off the edge, shows the ability to redirect and is strong enough to anchor.
Best technique: OT Jack Mewhort, Ohio State
Mewhort's initial footwork, hand placement and pad level were consistently sound this week.
Toughest: OC Bryan Stork, Florida State
Stork lacks prototypical measurables, but his effort and fight throughout the week were among the best we've seen of any lineman in this class.
AP Photo/Johnny VyAuburn's Dee Ford has the ability to get to the quarterback quickly.
Best interior rusher: Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh
Donald showed the ability to beat offensive linemen with quickness, power and active hands, and his ability to do it so many different ways make it that much harder to keep him off the quarterback.
Best edge-rusher: Dee Ford, Auburn
Ford was by far the most explosive edge-rusher here. On top of that, we were highly impressed with his flexibility to bend the edge.
Strongest interior run-stuffer: DaQuan Jones, Penn State
At 6-3½ and 323 pounds, Jones is as tough to move off the ball as you would expect with a player his size. He's flashed heavy hands all week.
Best edge-setter: Brent Urban, Virginia
He's got a great-looking frame. He did a great job playing with quality pad level and using his length to stack and shed blockers to consistently maintain edge responsibility.
Best Instincts: ILB Chris Borland, Wisconsin
Borland read his keys and located the ball quicker than any other linebackers here. His instincts increase his already above-average range.
Best range: OLB Jonathan Brown, Illinois
Brown covered a lot of ground chasing the run and in coverage, which is important for a linebacker who doesn't have great size.
Best pass-rusher: OLB Jeremiah Attaouchu, Georgia Tech
One of Attaouchu's greatest strengths on film is his ability to get to the quarterback, and it showed up here as well. He has good initial quickness, active hands and good balance.
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