Senior Bowl  

 

Boise State's Martin, Ohio State's Herron stand out in backfield

The third day of practice at the Senior Bowl typically provides scouts with an opportunity to finally see prospects at their best. Players from both squads are finally comfortable in their new surroundings, and their gradual mastery of the playbook allows them to play at game-like speed in drills.

With an opportunity to finally see prospects perform free of the nerves and anxiety that hinders some of their games, here are some observations from the third day of workouts in Mobile:

2012 Senior Bowl
The Senior Bowl -- one of the premier pre-draft events -- features the best senior college stars and top NFL draft prospects. NFL Network has coverage of the event, including the game on Jan. 28.

» Complete Senior Bowl coverage
» NFL Network broadcast schedule

» Boise State RB Doug Martin has created quite a buzz in scouting circles with his performance this week. He has impressed evaluators with his versatility and toughness as a playmaker in the backfield. An AFC college scouting director compared him to Maurice Jones-Drew and Ray Rice, and envisions him blossoming into a productive feature back in a zone-based scheme. In watching Martin during team drills, his balance, body control and burst stand out. He has a knack for slithering through cracks and flashes surprising power at the end of runs.

» Boise State DE Shea McClellin is drawing comparisons to Senior Bowl alum Brooks Reed from scouts in attendance. An AFC South personnel man spoke at length about the similarities between their respective games and how McClellin could make an immediate impact as a situational pass rusher. He went on to suggest that he is one of the toughest players on either squad, and his superb intangibles will help him enjoy a long career as a starter. When I look at his game, I see a high-motor pass rusher with sneaky explosiveness and burst. He surprises blockers with his "get off" and his relentlessness makes him difficult to contain.

» Ohio State RB Noah "Boom" Herron is another player generating some momentum. He has impressed several RB coaches with his combination of speed, quickness and agility, and one NFC North offensive assistant cited him as the top runner in the game. I love his gritty running style, but he has been most impressive as a receiver out of the backfield. He catches the ball well with his hands, and shows surprising polish as a route runner in space. Herron will be an ideal fit in an offense that features running backs prominently in the passing game.

» Virginia DE Cam Johnson has flown under the radar for most of the season, but he has certainly opened some eyes in Mobile. He is one of the most physically gifted players in attendance, and his impressive skill set should make him a productive NFL pass rusher. In breaking down his game, I was impressed with his first-step quickness and closing burst. He has the ability to turn speed into power, and flashes a series of rush moves that allow him to counter blockers' tactics on short sets. Johnson also plays with an energy and relentlessness that will produce garbage sacks on sheer effort. Although there are some whispers about Johnson's character, his on-field performance makes him a solid Day 2 prospect.

» California WR Marvin Jones is the most polished receiver on the North squad according to one of the offensive assistants working with the team. He flashes quickness getting in and out of cuts, and does a good job of separating from defenders out of his break. He also shows strong hands and concentration snagging balls in traffic. His combination of ball skills and route running makes him an ideal candidate to move into the slot in multiple receiver sets.

Photo galleries: Mike Mayock's top draft prospects

» Georgia guard Cordy Glenn looks like a "can't-miss prospect" as an interior blocker. His size, strength and power allows him to hold his own against powerful defensive tackles, but he also displays the agility to shadow finesse rushers in tight quarters. Glenn's athleticism will certainly prompt some teams to entertain the idea of playing him at offensive tackle, but the move outside would lead to isolated matchups against speed rushers. While Glenn appears capable of doing an adequate job at the position, the best chance for him to maximize his potential appears to be at offensive guard.

» Texas A&M DT Tony Jerod-Eddie displays outstanding strength and power as a run defender. He creates a new line of scrimmage as a low-leverage player, and his ability to create penetration snuffs out running plays in the backfield. In closely studying his play during 9-on-7 drills, I loved his hand usage and quickness disengaging from blockers. His natural instincts as a run defender is certainly impressive, and teams coveting aggressive run defenders should spend time studying Jerod-Eddie's performance at practices this week.

Follow Bucky Brooks on Twitter @BuckyBrooks.

Headlines

The previous element was an advertisement.

NFL Shop

NFL News
CONTENT
15