Senior Bowl  

 

Miller time: Texas A&M 'backer cementing lofty draft status

Alix Drawec / NFL
Von Miller could make a 3-4 base defensive team very happy at draft time.


Here are some of my observations from the second day of workouts at the Senior Bowl:

Senior Bowl on NFL Network:
On Saturday, Jan. 29, top senior college football players compete in front of NFL talent evaluators at the 2011 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. Coverage begins on NFL Network at 3:30 p.m. ET.

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» Von Miller of Texas A&M has cemented his status as the top outside linebacker prospect with his play this week. He has freakish athleticism and explosiveness, and is nearly impossible to block off the edge. His first-step quickness is remarkable, but it is his closing burst that separates him from the pack. He closes in a hurry from the backside, and the most mobile quarterbacks in the league will have a tough time running away from him. With at least 12 teams running 3-4 schemes, Miller will be a highly coveted prospect on draft day.

» Florida State guard Rodney Hudson is as solid as they come. He is stout at the point of attack, and shows good balance while anchoring against power. Against interior rushers with good initial quickness, Hudson showed impressive body control while mirroring their initial movement and sliding to recover against their counters. He doesn't overwhelm defenders at the line in the running game, but he creates movement off the ball and does a good job of finishing. Throw in his versatility as a potential center or guard, and it is hard not to like Hudson as a top-40 pick.

» DeMarcus Love of Arkansas didn't look out of place playing left tackle for the South. He has decent feet and lateral quickness for the position, and has enough body control to anchor against power. He was impressive holding his own in one-on-one and team drills, and his value will continue to rise if he can show scouts that he has the ability to play on the blindside as a pro.

» Clemson defensive tackle Jarvis Jenkins is an intriguing prospect due to his combination of size, strength and power. At 6-foot-3 and 309 pounds, he is one of the taller interior players on either roster, and his exceptional length allows him to quickly extend and separate from blockers. He effectively mixed in his hand skills with aggressive power moves to get into the backfield on running plays. Although Jenkins isn't a polished or explosive pass rusher, his ability to collapse the pocket with power gives him a chance to be an every-down player on the next level. If his performance in one-on-one drills is any indication of his potential, he will be a solid pick for a team looking for a workman-like interior defender on Day 2 of the draft.

» Southern California receiver Ronald Johnson is an ideal slot receiver on the next level. He is a crafty route runner with exceptional quickness getting out of his breaks. He shows tremendous patience and discipline in his routes, and he repeatedly gained separation from defenders by cleverly using a change of tempo to set up his breaks. With few receivers possessing the awareness, timing and quickness needed to thrive in the slot, Johnson will be an intriguing prospect for teams looking for a productive No. 3 receiver.

» Texas cornerback Curtis Brown has good speed, quickness and movement skills, but struggles in coverage against double moves. He aggressively reacts to the first movement, and is often out of position to maintain leverage against the second move. In individual and team periods, he surrendered big plays off double moves and his penchant for allowing receivers to get behind him will be a huge concern for scouts going forward.

» California defensive end Cameron Jordan is a dominant pass rusher from any position. He has exceptional quickness and power, and his underrated athleticism allows him to keep blockers on their heels. He single-handedly dominated team drills as a rusher, and his uncanny ability to slip through cracks created quite a buzz. Given the difficulty in finding a "5-technique" with legitimate rush skills, Jordan will vault up draft boards across the league after this week.

» Michigan State linebacker Greg Jones stood out against the run game in practice. He quickly attacks the line of scrimmage after reading the run and is an aggressive thumper in the hole. He repeatedly stopped runners in their tracks during an 11-on-11 period, and his willingness to throw his body around was impressive. Although his cover skills are still in question, Jones is a legit "Mike" linebacker with the skills to be an instant starter in a 4-3 system.

» Vincent Brown of San Diego State is the kind of receiver that every team needs. He is a smooth route runner with good quickness, and he catches everything in his direction. Brown has been the most consistent pass-catcher on the North squad, and his combination of skills will allow him to thrive in any system.

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