USA TODAY Sports
Saturday's Senior Bowl had several highlights featuring some of the better prospects for the 2013 NFL Draft. We look back on the game and its players.
Many of the top college senior prospects gathered in Mobile, Alabama on Saturday for the Senior Bowl. The South team was victorious by a score of 21-16, with Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel responsible for two of the South touchdowns in the first half. Kevin took a lot of notes during the game, and I added a little analysis of my own as well.
- Robert Alford of Southeastern Louisiana made a name for himself on the first play of the game, taking the opening kickoff 88 yards to the 6-yard line. That set up Manuel's first score, a 2-yard run.
- Ezekiel Ansah of BYU looked great throughout the game, but he's in a tough spot. As of right now, he's probably best suited as a 4-3 defensive end, because he's too big to play 3-4 OLB but too small to play on a 3-4 line.
- One interesting sequence involved USC safety T.J. McDonald. He made a nice play on Manuel to prevent him from running for a first down, but then was beaten by Manuel the very next play on a simply gorgeous throw to Alabama tight end Michael Williams. Williams is an intriguing prospect, as he's a great blocker but showed some signs of good receiving ability.
- The running backs on both sides looked good for much of the game. Mike Gillislee of Florida is super-fast, but Johnathan Franklin of UCLA looked like a more complete back. Stepfan Taylor of Stanford led all players in rushing yardage, with 9 runs for 53 yards.
- Outside of Manuel, the big-name quarterbacks struggled heavily. Ryan Nassib was 4-10 with an ugly interception; Tyler Wilson badly underthrew a pass to a teammate of his from Arkansas; Landry Jones couldn't seem to complete a pass, going 3-9; finally, Mike Glennon was the only one who showed much, as he had a lot of zip on his passes despite not having a stellar day statistically. I'll just say that I'm glad my team doesn't need to look for a starting QB in this year's draft.
- A few players on the defensive line that had good days included Jordan Hill of Penn State, Kawann Short of Purdue, and Josh Boyd of Mississippi State. All three could be candidates to switch to 3-4 defensive end, though Boyd may be a better fit at nose tackle. They each spent some substantial time in the backfield, though.
- A name to watch on day two or three of the draft may be defensive tackle Brandon Williams. He's from Division II Missouri Southern, but he's got the size to be a 3-4 nose tackle and he had an impressive day.
- At receiver, several players looked good. Markus Wheaton of Oregon State has great speed and is similarly-sized to Greg Jennings; he showed good route-running skills to go along with his good speed. He also could be used in Randall Cobb's place as a kick returner. Marquise Goodwin from Texas is blindingly fast, but small; he showed some decent footwork as well, though, and caught five balls for 44 yards. Quinton Patton of Louisiana Tech has been getting attention as well, and he showed good blocking skills downfield on running plays to match with his great hands.
- Overall, the defensive lines were far more impressive than the offensive lineman in the game. Oklahoma's Lane Johnson was one of the few bright spots, while Eric Fisher validated the analysts who are projecting him in the top 15. Don't expect Fisher to be available when Green Bay picks at 26. Justin Pugh from Syracuse was consistently getting beaten, and Wisconsin's Ricky Wagner had a pretty disappointing day as well.
The NFL Scouting Combine starts up in late February, and APC will be on top of it. In the meantime, check out all of SBNation's coverage of the Senior Bowl here.