Senior Bowl Winners and Losers

The 2009 Senior Bowl lacked the star power of previous games but several players were out to prove that they had the inside track to more money come draft day. With a lot to be desired for some positions, especially at defensive tackle, prospects performed their way to the top of draft boards during the four days of practice leading up to the Senior Bowl game on Saturday.

Winners

DT B.J. Raji (Boston College)
B.J. Raji was utterly explosive all week during practices. Already considered to be one of the top two defensive tackles, Raji may have locked up a top 15 selection when he dominated Oregon State OG Andy Levitre. Raji simply outworked his counterparts and put on a display of size and speed that Mobile has not seen since Brodrick Bunkley came through in 2006.

DT Evander “Ziggy” Hood (Missouri)
Hood set the tone early for his domination by out-maneuvering Cal center Alex Mack on Monday. While he didn’t really stand out the rest of the week, Hood’s strength should show on Saturday during the game. His knowledge of the game was impressive and therefore he should be a lock for at least the second round.

WR Derrick Williams (Penn State)
Derrick Williams put on a clinic all week long in practice. He showed the other wide receivers (and d-back’s) how to come out of a break and get separation by way of speed and proper route running. Williams also practiced as a punt returner where his skill set appears to be satisfying.

DE Larry English (Northern Illinois)
English is a possible outside linebacker in a 3-4. Still, he said he would love to get drafted by the Chicago Bears. He may not be around for them in the second round though, especially after his performance during the practices in Mobile. English showed his good motor, lateral quickness, and great moves.

TE Shawn Nelson (Southern Miss)
Shawn Nelson is one of the five best tight ends according to us. He is having one of the best week’s a tight end has ever had at the Senior Bowl. He catches everything plus his blocking is very good. He uses his hands, not his body, to reel in the reception.

CB Coye Francies (San Jose State)
One of the more unheralded defensive backs had a good week of practice in Mobile. He stays low and grounded, shows excellent balance, and is physical with the wide receiver from the snap. In 11-on-11 drills, he showed excellent coverage skills.

RB Andre Brown (North Carolina State)
Brown is from the Brandon Jacobs-variety. He has showed a powerful inside running ability all week long. Likely, he could get drafted within the first four rounds. Still, will he be another Jacobs or an Eric Shelton?

OT Jason Watkins (Florida)
Watkins was surprisingly consistent all week long. He has good, quick feet and is very fundamentally sound. He was hardly beaten off of the tackle all week long and showed enough for us to like him in the rush offense.

Losers

OT Phil Loadholt (Oklahoma)
Like we have said, Loadholt is a very big boy but has very slow feet. He was beaten more this week than he has all season (which makes us question how good Oklahoma’s offensive line really was). Loadholt was almost likable for the second round of the draft but we have to now say that he is nothing more than a mid-rounder at best.

CB Darius Butler (Connecticut)
The wide receivers that he faced this week wiped the floor with him. Butler may have been too aggressive and bit extremely hard on any pump fake or side-step, but he was simply terrible in man coverage and will not be a first round selection.

OG Andy Levitre (Oregon State)
After getting beat a lot this week, Levitre almost got into a fight on Wednesday with USF’s Tyrone McKenzie. Levitre has some work to do as he doesn’t combat any swim-like move real well. His injury history raises some red flags as well.

OLB Clint Sintim (Virginia)
Sintim, one of our favorite prospects, struggled getting any pressure from the edge and looked slow compared to the other defenders. While we can’t ignore what he did on Saturday’s, something wasn’t clicking this week in Mobile for him.

CB Domonique Johnson (Jackson State)
Hoping to be this year’s small school high-riser, Johnson has failed to impress. He struggled in zone and man coverage all week. He doesn’t get off of blocks well either.

S Derek Pegues (Mississippi State)
Needs a ton of work on his tackling, as we seen with the practices where coaches were focused on improving that area of the game. Speed was inconsistent and Pegues seemed to play out of his element a lot this past week.

Of course, more guys looked good and more struggled than we mentioned but we just wanted to point out our winners & losers. The winners should see their stock improve while the opposite should happen with the losers.

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