MOBILE, Ala. -- Reese's Senior Bowl practices began on Tuesday and some of the top 2015 NFL Draft hopefuls put on a show in front of NFL general managers, coaches and scouts. We saw uneven performances by a number of players getting acclimated to a new way of doing things, but there were some future stars who ended up making plays on the practice field to show that they have what it takes to impress NFL evaluators.
With that in mind, here are nine players who caught NFL Media analysts' eyes during Tuesday's practices for the North and South teams.
The mammoth interior lineman has been one of the hottest names in NFL draft circles the past few days and he lived up to the early billing. He impressed with his movement during drills and play when the defense went full speed against the offense. "He's probably a top-10 pick as we start this process," NFL Media analyst Charles Davis said of Shelton. "If you want to find out if a guy can play, you put him in there with Shelton and see if he can block him. Laken Tomlinson from Duke went in there and competed well with Shelton. Jamil Douglas (Arizona State) is a guy who I like more as a guard, he got in a nice shot with Shelton."
Scouts had their eyes on Hardy, the FBS career receptions leader, to see how he would do against top-flight competition and the former Pirates star flashed enough to land on this list. He checked in a little shorter than expected at 5-foot-10 1/2, 190 pounds during Tuesday's weigh-in, but played bigger than his size during one-on-one drills and the team periods to turn a few heads. More than anything, he was clean out of his breaks and was able to haul in just about everything in his radius, despite average quarterback play. Just about every NFL Media analyst brought up Hardy as a player that had a good day.
The North squad features a diverse array of wideouts and all of them had trouble trying to catch a ball when White was on their hip pocket. A smooth, fluid athlete, he was able to compete on every ball that came his way and did more than enough to draw some comparisons to former Horned Frogs teammate Jason Verrett, a first-round pick in 2014. "He did a nice job today," said NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah. "Good movement skills, good ball skills and awareness."
A former college basketball player, Rollins has been shooting up draft boards the past few weeks and cornerback-needy teams are certainly going to keep a close eye on him during Senior Bowl practices. NFL Media analyst Curtis Conway noted he's still very raw in terms of technique at the position but the underlying physical traits that have made him intriguing were on full display Tuesday as he appeared very quick with good change of direction. He was beaten a few times by wideouts, but there's no question Rollins has a lot of upside.
CB Nick Marshall, Auburn
There was plenty of interest from local fans and media in the former Auburn quarterback going into the week and he surprised a number of them by flipping back to playing cornerback on Tuesday, a position he was training for despite originally committing to the game as a quarterback. While he wasn't perfect, he did make a number of plays that showed he has a future in the NFL as a defensive back. "For his first day playing corner, he did an admirable job," Jeremiah said. "He did get beat over the top by Tyler Lockett, but overall he didn't look out of place."
Players didn't run a 40-yard dash like they will at the NFL Scouting Combine next month, but many around Mobile are thinking that Dorsett has a good chance to win a race among the top guys at the event. Though he has speed to burn, Tuesday was a chance for him to show he's a complete player and he did that with a number of impressive plays on intermediate and deep routes. "He was best in show at receiver," Jeremiah said. "Explosive guy who was able to turn DBs around. As a route runner, he was able to blow by guys."
Dorsett wasn't the only speed merchant that caught Mayock's eye.
Crowder saw time at both wide receiver and punt returner on Tuesday and was perhaps the most elusive of the North players when he had the ball. Though he's not the biggest player out there (he came in smaller than expected during weigh-ins at 5-foot-8 1/8), he still ran crisp routes and was able to spin some defensive backs around if he wasn't blowing by them. "Give him space and he's going to be a tough cover for anybody out here," Jeremiah said. Mayock specifically called the Duke star out for having a good practice as well.
The former Panthers right tackle was talked about quite a bit by scouts and analysts who think he can flip over and play left tackle in the NFL. He did lose a few one-on-one reps as he adjusted to the speed of the defense, but he closed strong and flashed the physical skills clubs are looking for in a guy protecting the quarterback's blind side. "He was a little up and down but you could see the ability there," Jeremiah said.
Smith looked the part stepping off the bus and moved well enough that you could see him playing multiple spots along the line after stonewalling a number of bull-rushers during drills. In terms of overall consistency, the former Nittany Lion might have turned in the most even, high-level performance of anybody on the North squad.