The 2014 Senior Bowl kicks off on Saturday in Mobile, Alabama. The annual game is the first chance for many NFL fans to see draft prospects up close, but the week of practice leading up to the game is just as crucial, if not more. The practice week is the first time draft prospects work with NFL coaches. How they respond to coaching and produce in drills can be sometimes more important than the actual game.
The complete rosters for the North and South squads can be found here.. Here are some of the biggest names to be watching on Saturday.
QB Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech--6'5, 250 pounds
One of the most polarizing prospects in the draft, Thomas has a lot to prove over the next few months. Standing tall at 6'5 and 250 pounds, his athleticism and arm strength are impressive, but he was wildly inconsistent in college. It's doubtful that a good performance on Saturday is enough to offset two years' worth of poor game tape, but someone will fall in love with his arm. The ultimate project quarterback.
QB Tajh Boyd, Clemson--6'1, 222 pounds
Boyd ran hot and cold throughout the practice week and there are lingering concerns about his size and accuracy. This game will say a lot about where he goes in the draft. Some believe that he could be drafted as high as the second round, while one NFL scout said he is "not draftable."
OG Cyril Richardson, Baylor--6'5, 335 pounds
It was a week to forget for Richardson, who was manhandled by Aaron Donald in one-on-one drills. The mammoth guard fared better in run blocking thanks to his mauling skills, but he struggled with his technique and balance. He'll have to show more if he wants to remain a first-round prospect.
DT Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh--6'0, 285 pounds
Donald was the talk of Mobile after dominating Cyril Richardson in drills. His size, or lack thereof, is a legitimate concern, but scouts have been so impressed with his game tape it may not matter on draft day. He's been too productive to dismiss outright.
CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Nebraska--6'3, 220 pounds
A tall, athletic cornerback with good ball skills who was converted from wide receiver? Where have we heard this before? Jean-Baptiste was listed as one of Todd McShay's standouts of the week, although there are doubts that he plays physical enough to deliver on those Sherman comparisons.
OLB/DE Trent Murphy, Stanford--6'6, 261
Murphy was a standout at Stanford, but his practice week has left something to be desired. He has issues moving in space and doesn't have great burst off the line, but his versatility will make him an asset in 3-4 schemes.
OT Seantrel Henderson, Miami--6'8, 340 pounds
One of the biggest lineman in attendance, Henderson's Miami career was plagued by suspensions and below average play. He did acquit himself well in practice, holding his own against Trent Murphy. The upcoming game will be crucial to his draft stock.
QB Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois--6'3, 222 pounds
The FCS start put his name on the map with an outstanding performance in the Shrine Game. With good footwork, an incredibly quick release and sound pocket presence, Garoppolo looks to continue shooting up draft boards with another good game.
QB David Fales, San Jose State--6'2, 220 pounds
Fales had an up-and-down week and didn't do much to move the needle on his draft stock. He continues to look rattled in the pocket and his arm was less impressive than the other quarterbacks in Mobile, although he admitted he played with an illness this week.
QB Derek Carr, Fresno State--6'3, 218 pounds
Carr might have had the best week out of all the quarterbacks. He impressed with his accuracy and leadership, although pocket presence remains a bit of an issue. Carr still has a shot of going in the first round if he performs well on Saturday.
OLB/DE Dee Ford, Auburn--6'2, 246 pounds
Ford had one of the best weeks on the roster, showing incredible burst off the snap. Size is an obvious concern, but Ford has been nearly unblockable coming out of the three-point stance. He's another player quickly rising up draft boards.
WR Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt--6'3, 205 pounds
One of the top receivers in this year's class, Matthews can cement his first-round status with a big game. He showed very little flaws in practice, looking polished and running clean routes, although he still struggles with press coverage. Arguably the most pro-ready receiver of the draft.
DT Will Sutton, Arizona State--6'1, 302 pounds
Sutton has been falling down draft boards after a down year with the Sun Devils. He added an extra 30 pounds but it resulted in him playing slower. Despite the criticisms, he still produced good numbers and won Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight year. NFL scouts will be monitoring him closely over the next few months.