MOBILE, Ala. -- The buzz around Eastern Illinois QB Jimmy Garoppolo isn't dying down.
It started during the season, when he threw for 5,050 yards and 53 touchdowns. It is continuing to build this week, as he earned a spot in the Senior Bowl with his East-West Shrine Game performance, which was very impressive.
One thing that has stood out to me about Garoppolo is he's better put-together than you might think. He's very strong and has a good frame. People were worried about his hand size, but it turns out that was an unfounded concern. His hand size is fine, and the ball jumps off of his hands really well. He has an easy motion, and it's compact. He looked very accurate at the East-West Shrine Game and has more than enough mobility from what I've seen.
Garoppolo is pumped up to the max for this week, and for good reason. It's a big deal for him.
Draft's No. 1 tackle could be from ND
Notre Dame's Zack Martin might be the best tackle in this year's class. Texas A&M's Jake Matthews has kind of been given that spot, but Martin is showing this week that he has a strong case for that title.
A couple of other offensive lineman that have caught my eye this week -- Clemson's Brandon Thomas and Michigan's Michael Schofield. Thomas is a tremendous athlete, and his future might be at guard. I like what I've seen from him. Schofield is playing guard, but to me he looks like more of a right tackle. He never received that much attention at Michigan with so many eyes being focused on OT Taylor Lewan, but I think Schofield is doing a nice job this week and could help his stock.
Top D-linemen living up to hype
Pitt DT Aaron Donald is turning heads. A lot of people are saying he can be the next Geno Atkins. He's had a very nice first couple of days, and Minnesota DT Ra'Shede Hageman is living up to his billing, too. He dominated in pass-rush drills Tuesday.
Missouri's Michael Sam is playing outside linebacker here, but I think defensive end is the best spot for him. He's been a terror when he's had his hand on the ground in pass-rushing drills.
Safety on the rise
Northern Illinois safety Jimmie Ward's ability to cover has given him an early jump on the other safeties here this week. Coverage skills are what distinguish defensive backs these days in a passing league, and Ward is showing promise. He looks a lot like Tyrann Mathieu and Ronde Barber -- he has versatility and can match up with receivers in the slot.
WRs to watch
Wisconsin WR Jared Abbrederis is a terrific technician and route runner, but he's also a better athlete than people think. He's an underrated player that is performing well this week. Another wide receiver to keep an eye on is Wake Forest's Michael Campanaro. He's coming back from a broken collarbone and was cleared by doctors just a week and a half ago. He has a great sense of space, but his route running needs refinement.