Senior Bowl  

 

Standout LB Miller shows college stats translate to pro potential

Dave Martin / Associated Press
LB Von Miller put up monster numbers at Texas A&M and has only solidified his draft worth at the Senior Bowl.


MOBILE, Ala. -- The bulk of the work has been completed at the Senior Bowl with the conclusion of the fourth day of practices.

Although the game has yet to be played, the majority of scouts have put away their notebooks, packed their bags and headed to their respective cities to digest what they saw.

The extensive review of the week's practices will help scouts determine the pecking order for prospects, and help solidify the draft boards heading into the NFL Scouting Combine next month.

Given the substantial impact that the Senior Bowl plays in the evaluation process, let's take a look at some players that have helped themselves this week:

» Texas A&M LB Von Miller is a freakishly talented edge player with the potential to have an instant impact as a rookie. He shows exceptional quickness off the ball and flashes unbelievable balance, body control and burst rounding the corner on rush attempts. His ability to dip under tall offensive tackles while retaining his speed is uncommon for rushers. He will be a handful for even the most talented blockers. Even though expectations were high after he racked up ridiculous sack numbers as an Aggie (33 sacks), his ability to consistently excel against the top blockers in the class has been impressive and makes him a coveted rush linebacker for teams employing a 3-4 scheme.

» California DE Cameron Jordan has wowed scouts with his extraordinary rush skills as a five-technique. He is an impressive athlete with outstanding body control. He also has a knack for slipping through cracks at the line of scrimmage and possesses enough strength to overwhelm blockers on power rushes. Throw in a non-stop motor that leads to sacks or pressures on sheer effort, and there is a lot to like about Jordan's game.

» Purdue DE Ryan Kerrigan has the potential to be a pass-rushing maven on the next level. He is a high-energy, power rusher with extraordinary strength and first-step quickness. He also has the ability to turn speed into power within his first three steps. Kerrigan repeatedly demonstrated that skill during one-on-one rush drills and continued to wreak havoc off the edge in team periods. Admittedly, he will need to diversify his game as a pro, but his strength, power and effort will produce big results for a team in need of a pass rusher.

The boys from Boise
Pat Kirwan has been impressed with Boise State receivers Titus Young and Austin Pettis, saying that Young has explosive speed and is dangerous a deep threat. More ...

» Mayock has more praise for Young

» Boise State WR Titus Young has been the most impressive receiver in practices. His speed and quickness have caught the eye of scouts seeking a DeSean Jackson-like playmaker. While scouts have expressed reservations about his demeanor and personality, Young's skill set is hard to ignore. He is one of the few receivers on the field capable of separating from defenders with the ball in the air and his explosiveness in space makes him a threat to produce game-changing plays from anywhere on the field. In a league where scoring is always at a premium, Young will see his value skyrocket after a sensational week.

» Boston College's Anthony Castonzo, Colorado's Nate Solder and Wisconsin's Gabe Carimi have all been solid and are certain to come off the board as the top three offensive tackles. They differ in styles, but each brings blue-chip skills.

Castonzo strikes me as the most ready to play because he is a sound technician with good feet, balance and body control. He looks like a natural left tackle and his ability to utilize his exceptional length (6-foot-7, 305 pounds) will serve him well against quick rushers.

Solder is the most athletic of the trio, but is a bit unrefined in his technique. He loses patience against speed rushers and his aggressiveness could lead to holding calls when he overreacts to movement. Although his flaws are correctable, they stood out over the course of the week and will be monitored leading up to the draft.

Carimi is ideally suited to play on the right side based on his skills (excellent run blocker with strength and power), but he flashed some ability working on the blind side. He is capable of anchoring against power rushers and swallows up smaller foes with his superior size (6-7, 315 pounds). His struggles with speed rushers will lead to concerns about him playing on the left side, yet he didn't look like out of place there. That will be enough to make a team roll the dice on him as a potential franchise tackle.

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.

» Complete Senior Bowl coverage
» NFL Network broadcast schedule

» Nevada QB Colin Kaepernick has thrust himself into the conversation as one of the top options at the position with his effort this week. He has the strongest arm of any quarterback here and his exceptional velocity allows him to make all of the throws at the next level. His accuracy and ball placement are above average, and his decision-making has been solid. Kaepernick also earns high marks for his athleticism and elusiveness in and out of the pocket. In a draft without a surefire franchise quarterback, he could be an ideal fallback plan on Day 2 of the draft.

» Florida State QB Christian Ponder appears to be the most pro-ready passer on either roster. He has all of the physical tools for the position (size, arm strength, accuracy and touch) and shows good management skills under center. He quickly distributed the ball to open receivers and looked very comfortable running the offense in team periods. He also appeared at ease working from under center or operating from the shotgun, which is a huge part of the transition at the next level. If you're looking for an underrated prospect that could rise at the position, Ponder should be the one to watch.

» Clemson's Jarvis Jenkins and Iowa's Christian Ballard will see their value rise after standing out on the defensive line. Both have exceptional size (Jenkins at 6-3, 309 pounds; Ballard at 6-4, 288 pounds) and possess the skill set to play in a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme. Scouts and coaches covet big defensive tackles because they present problems for guards, but this year's class features a number of interior defenders that measure in under 6-2. Given the scarcity of interior players with size and skills, Jenkins and Ballard are suddenly viewed as hot commodities.

Follow Bucky Brooks on Twitter @BuckyBrooks.

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