Senior Bowl  

 

Senior Bowl: Eye-catching performances of the week

  • By Pat Kirwan NFL.com
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David Stluka/Getty Images
He played tight end at Michigan State, but which side of the ball will Kellen Davis line up on in the NFL?


MOBILE, Ala. -- Every year when I'm down at the Under Armour Senior Bowl there are always a few players that are better than advertised, or really interesting to talk with. And this year was no different. I have covered the quarterbacks, linebackers and offensive linemen in three other scouting reports. Here are the other players who intrigued me this week:

1. KELLEN DAVIS, TE/DE, Michigan State

Davis is a physical specimen who has a chance to make it in the NFL as a tight end or a situational pass rusher. He was much more impressive when I talked with him than people led me to believe he would be. He's 6-foot-6 and 259 pounds but could easily bulk up to 275 if he needed to. Lane Kiffin, as part of the Raiders staff coaching the North squad, said Davis is doing a nice job of taking to the coaching. When coaches asked him to change a technique, he was able to do it rather quickly. He demonstrated a willingness to block, the ability to go down for a bad pass, and some skill at running after the catch. Davis, who caught 28 passes for 475 yards and five touchdowns as a senior tight end, said he'd like a chance to show off his pass-rush skills at the pro level. The coaches I spoke with are all for having him do it. As Herm Edwards said, we see guys like Mike Vrabel catching touchdown passes, so why not a tight end rushing the QB.

2. LAVELLE HAWKINS, WR, Calfornia

Hawkins looks quicker than everyone on the Senior bowl practice field at times. Twice I watched him catch a shallow crossing route and weave in and out of the secondary on his way to a score. He plays as fast as his 4.3 speed says he should. I could see him used in a style similar to the way the Patriots use Wes Welker.

3. RED BRYANT, DT, Texas A&M

For teams looking for a 3-4 nose tackle or defensive end to two-gap this might be the guy. He is not going to get driven off the ball and he has better first-step quickness than I was led to believe he had coming into the week of practice here. When he wants to turn on the speed he moves well for a guy who will play pro football at close to 340 pounds. The Cleveland Browns would love to get a guy like this over center.

4. LEODIS McKELVIN, CB, Troy State

Troy State sure puts out NFL defensive players. McKelvin has the hips, fluid movement and burst to mirror a receiver. He has excellent return skills when he catches the ball. His value is going up because of his corner skills; he could make the first round before the April draft. He kind of reminded me of a young Al Harris.

5. JUSTIN FORSETT, RB, California

The "little big man" became a favorite of the people in the stands watching practice all week with some long runs and quick change of direction. He reminded me of Warrick Dunn. He's not a bad receiver out of the backfield and could have a Darren Sproles effect in the right situation.

6. TREVOR LAWS, DT, Notre Dame

Laws kind of grew on me as the week went on. On Monday, he almost looked out of place -- not big enough for consideration for a 3-4 scheme and not fast enough to be a one-gap penetrator. But by Wednesday, I stopped wasting my time watching him in individual drills and kept an eye on him in the team period. He competes, he knows how to recover when he over-plays, and he can get his body turned and twisted to make a play in traffic. He would be a good interior player to add to a rotation in a 4-3 defense.

7. EDDIE ROYAL, WR, Virginia Tech

Royal showed playing speed at every practice I attended. He can burst to a ball in an instant and gets behind a secondary. I always like hand catchers, and Royal is natural ball-snatcher. He grabs the ball with two hands and rarely waits to block it against his chest. He could be an excellent third receiver in the slot.

8. TOM ZBIKOWSKI, S, Notre Dame

Zbikowski has deceptive quickness, mostly because he keys and diagnoses plays so quickly. He likes contact and has some pop. I wonder how he will do in space when NFL offenses isolate him one-on-one with athletic tight ends. He does show up at the ball most of the time, and he has a knack for making a play. He plays faster than his estimated 4.58 speed, and he gets off a blocker with ease.

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