32 Draft Prospects to Watch in the 2015 Senior Bowl

LSU OT La'El Collins might be the best prospect in the Senior Bowl.

LSU OT La’El Collins might be the best prospect in the Senior Bowl.

NEPD Editor: Mike Loyko

The 2015 Senior Bowl kicks off Tuesday in Mobile, Alabama signaling the official start to NFL Draft Season and I’ll be down there providing as much coverage as possible. As is the case every year, this game and week of practice is loaded with future NFL starters. All 32 NFL teams will migrate to Southern Alabama in hopes of finding the next Russell Wilson, Jamie Collins, or Kyle Long.

This game only invites the cream of the crop to participate in the festivities, meaning that every player that shows up has a legitimate shot to make a name for themselves in the NFL. Here are 32 prospects in particular I’ll be keeping a close eye on next week in Mobile.

La’el Collins, OL, Louisiana State
Perhaps the best prospect remaining on the Senior Bowl rosters. Collins will get the opportunity in practice this week to show that he’s one of the elite Offensive Line prospects in the 2015 Draft. His ability to play Left Tackle, as well as slide inside to Guard is highly attractive, and NFL Scouts will be given the opportunity to see him compete at both positions in 1-on-1s. Collins is a powerful kid that displays technical proficiency as both a run and pass blocker. Looks to finish his blocks by putting defenders on their backside. While he might not be a Left Tackle in the NFL he can slide over to Right Tackle or be an elite Offensive Guard prospect. We’ve seen mid-1st Round Offensive Linemen go to the Senior Bowl and leave a top 10 pick (Eric Fisher), Collins could be the big winner this week.

T.J. Clemmings, OL, Pittsburgh
Like Collins, Clemmings is a 1st Round talent that has elected to remain in the game (so far) and it’s a smart move. The former defensive end possesses all the attributes an NFL team covets in an Offensive Tackle including length, power, and foot speed. The knock on Clemmings is his inexperience both in terms of game reps and technique. He has a tendency to lose his blocks early because of raw technique and composure. NFL Scouts will be looking for consistency in his pass sets this week and his ability to adapt any technique points coaches give to him. With a strong week Clemmings can cement his status as a first round player.

Danny Shelton, DT, Washington
Shelton is a top flight Nose Tackle prospect because he boasts pass rush potential that is rarely seen from huge interior linemen. After contemplating whether to enter the 2014 NFL Draft, Shelton wisely chose to remain at Washington and put together a remarkable season. Shelton understands how to use his upper-body to control space and blockers to make plays vs. the run. Against the pass he uses his power and agility to create push up the middle (9.0 sacks this season). Shelton will the one Defensive Tackle that all the Interior OL try to avoid in 1-on-1s this week. His tools will be easy to spot this week and showing up in Mobile should only improve an already strong draft portfolio.

Ty Sambrailo, OT, Colorado State
Last year an under the radar Offensive Tackle from Nevada showed up at the Senior Bowl, dominated practices, and ended up as a top 40 selection. That was Joel Bitonio who went on to become a Pro Bowler as a rookie and Ty Sambrailo is my pick for this year’s “Joel Bitonio”. I got to see Sambrailo up close against Boston College and was extremely impressed by his athleticism and movement skills. He’s light on his feet, able to slide laterally to pick up free rushers, release quickly to lead screens, and can get to the second level fluidly. Right now he’s a much better pass blocker than run blocker, so if he can show improved power and leverage in the run game he’ll dramatically improve his stock.

Denzel Perryman, ILB, Miami(FL)
During every Senior Bowl week there appears to be one Linebacker who separates from the pack. In 2012 it was Bobby Wagner, last year it was Chris Borland, and this year it’s likely to be Perryman. I like to watch the Linebackers at Senior Bowl practices because you get a good indication of how quickly they diagnose, how they can take on blocks, and most importantly how fluid are they in pass coverage (vs. RB especially). In Perryman’s case he’s an undersized, yet attacking linebacker. He makes reads quickly and hit gaps with power. Even though he’s short he can stack and shed blocks, navigate traffic, and find the football at the line of scrimmage. Two things will be key for Perryman this week. First the weigh-in, just how short is he? And secondly, is he fluid enough to hold up in coverage?

Owamgabe Odighizuwa, DL, UCLA
I’ve been a fan of Odighizuwa (pronounced O-diggy-zoo-wa) since he was a Freshman All-American candidate in 2010. Since then Odighizuwa has had his ups and downs battling various injuries along the way. He missed the entire 2013 campaign after hip surgery, but bounced back in 2014 with a great season. “OO’s” value comes in the form of his versatility, especially against the run. He can play almost anywhere on the defensive line and fits either 4-3/3-4 schemes. He’s a physical run defender that understands hand usage and leverage to take on bigger Offensive Linemen and how to win/control gaps. While he’s not a natural pass rusher he uses his quickness inside to penetrate and get into the pocket. This week NFL Scouts will be evaluating Odighizuwa’s upside as a pass rusher or if he’s just a rotational DL that can move around the line and impact the run game.

Trey Flowers, DE, Arkansas
Flowers isn’t a sexy prospect because he’ll never be a high-end pass rusher. He’s a technical defensive end that holds up very well against the run. He knows how to take on blocks, set the edge, and shed run blocks. The problem is he’s going to have trouble getting to the Quarterback in the NFL and probably needs to bulk up to play 5-Technique in a 3-4 Defense. This week is important for Flowers in that he’ll be given the opportunity to show improved first step explosion and the development of new rush moves. Scouts know he’s a smart player, who gives max-effort, and can stop the run, but to make the real money he’ll need to show he can at least provide some pressure off the edge.

Nate Orchard, DE/OLB, Utah
Orchard exploded onto the national scene this season posting an outrageous 18.5 sacks after tallying only 6.5 combined during his first three years in college. In terms of raw ability, Orchard is probably the most talented pass rusher making his way down to Mobile. He has the first step explosion, the speed off the edge, and flexibility to dip under/through blocks. This week is massive for Orchard because he must prove to scouts that his huge season wasn’t a fluke and he can translate some of that production to the NFL. Orchard’s problem is he’s very raw in terms of power and counter moves. Right now he’s a huge liability against the run and if Offensive Tackles engage with their hands they often can shut him down. Scouts will be looking for improved power at the point of attack and more refined counter-attack after he’s out of his stance.

D’Joun Smith, CB, Florida Atlantic
Smith is an under-the-radar Cornerback prospect that can answer a lot of questions this week. Smith has quick feet and fluid hips. He shows an aggressiveness when attacking the football and seems to have good instincts in coverage. He has no trouble playing at the line of scrimmage, opening his hips, and challenging receivers. The two things I like most about Smith is his control in coverage, he seems composed, coordinated and cerebral with is movements. Secondly, his ball skills, as he seems to have good awareness as to where the ball is in the air. For Smith he needs to prove he has vertical speed and do a better job recognizing routes. Both of those weaknesses are easily exposed in 7-on-7 and 1-on-1s, so it’s a big week for Smith.

Quinten Rollins, CB, Miami(OH)
This kids stock could explode with a big week in Mobile. Spent four years playing Point Guard on the Miami(OH) basketball team and decided to use his remaining year of eligibility to go out for the football team. Not only did he end up winning a starting Cornerback job, he went on to become the MAC Defensive Player of the Year. His stat line is almost unfathomable for a first year football player (72 tackles, 7 INTs). Rollins has all the physical skills required to play cornerback in the NFL: height, length, quickness, fluidity, physicality, and acceleration. Rollins displays physicality and a willingness to deliver a hit. I’m amazed by his ability to anticipate throws, break on routes, close space when the ball is in the air, and accelerate from zero to full speed. Rollins uses his leaping ability to attack the ball in the air. He seemingly contests every pass and smothers the receiver at catch point. There are obvious flaws in his game, especially as it relates to his technique and experience. NFL Scouts/Coaches can’t wait to get their hands on this guy.

Rashad Greene, WR, Florida State
Greene put together a distinguished four year career at Florida State. He’s a smart, savvy, and experienced route runner. He knows how to create leverage and separation in a variety of different ways. He developed into Jameis Winston’s safety blanket, as he could always be counted on to get open and make a catch in a key situation. Greene has been compared to a number of big time NFL WR, but he reminds me of Troy Brown for how he’s able to accelerate out of in-breaking routes. He’s extremely frail and needs to get stronger, but his smooth speed should be good enough to beat coverage in the NFL. During Senior Bowl practices I’ll be watching to see how Greene fares vs. physical corners and compare his separation from the slot vs. on the outside.

Zach Hodges, OLB, Harvard
Any prospect invited to the Senior Bowl has a huge opportunity presented to them and that opportunity is only magnified when the prospect is coming from lower levels of college football. Hodges proved he can rush the passer and make an impact in the Ivy League and now he must show that he can play against the best Offensive Linemen in the nation. Scouts will be watching Hodges to see how he uses his hands, how his strength plays at the point of attack, and if his burst off the edge gives any of the Offensive Tackles trouble.

Sammie Coates, WR, Auburn
Coates will probably be one of the “Weigh-In Warriors” on Tuesday Morning, as physically Coates is one of the most physically gifted WR in the entire draft. Coates has never put all the pieces together on the field and has struggled with drops throughout his college career. Coates deep speed will be on display on the practice field and I have no doubt he will make his share of splash plays this week. What I’d like to see is improved focus, strong hands, and a more refined route tree. This week Coates needs to tie the physical aspects of the game together with the mental and technical aspects of the game.

Justin Hardy, WR, East Carolina
Another personal favorite of mine. Hardy has been one of the most productive receivers in college football the last four years. Hardy is a quick, intuitive receiver that uses sharp cuts and a fluid midsection to lose defenders in coverage. Hardy has the ability to play both in the slot or on the perimeter. He possesses a strong pair of hands and works back to the football. By playing in a spread passing offense Hardy’s production is obviously increased, while the routes he’s asked to run are limited. Over the next week scouts will want to see Hardy run a variety of new routes, be able to beat more physical coverage, and show his speed can play at the next level.

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24 Responses to “32 Draft Prospects to Watch in the 2015 Senior Bowl”

  1. Joe Blake says:

    Forget the skill positions; load up on dirt dogs, road grader O Lineman and run stuffing DL. use first 3 picks: then go for an OLB in the 4 the round. Get aTE in free agency. Then roll the dice on skill positions: WR, DB in later rounds.

    • Jim R says:

      Great plan, You have 5 picks in the first 100. Should get 2 O/L 1 DT 1 DE/OLB hybrid 1 ILB. After that you can draft all the friggen Skill positions you want

  2. steve earle says:

    Colts have very avg. front seven and starting LB out so we dominate. Short memory fans already forgot about how the Raves shut down our running game. Was is 12 or 14 rushing yards? I remember Green Bay had their way with our line as did the Bills, Miami and the Jets to lesser extents. Only thing or one who made the differance was Brady and so now all the short memory guys are once again on the WR band wagon. Reminder, WR’s can not open holes for RB’s nor can they pass block for Brady. Thinking a 4th round backup or some mid round o-line draft pick can or will is a risk not worth taking imo.

    • acm says:

      AMEN. I don’t know what people are smoking but it’s not even funny how WR is far off the top of Pats’ list of priorities.
      Pats just missed out on yet another pair of WRs in the 2013 draft (Dobson should be given more time but eventually would be decent at best, imo). And that is to be added to a long list of misses (not near ones mind you). Where is the logic to expect the Pats are gonna, all things considered, go out there and spend a 1st round pick on a WR? Especially when getting a WR from cheap free agency proved to be the right way to go?

      Drfatniks should do themselves a favor and stop mocking anything outside of OL, DL, LB or DB to the Pats in the the early rounds. Things aren’t really all that complicated, no need to over-think it.

    • Jeff says:

      Still think a WR would be a good position to target early for depth and to finally take a guy high enough to hit. A guy who can draw double teams or get easy catches against single coverage can help an entire offense, including the line. But my question is, if the Pats will be really relying on the draft to fill 1-2 starting roles on the O-line, they’ll still want to enter the draft with alternatives in case the draft board breaks badly for them or they get a rookie that fails to live up to expectations. In that case, who will be in the market in free agency that could potentially give a starting option without breaking the bank (since you’ll hope to start your round 1 or 2 pick anyways, you’re hoping the FA will end up as a backup or even a roster cut if your young guys step up).

      • steve earle says:

        Come on Jeff, we already have one of the top three passing offenses in the NFL. Adding a WR early (or late) will have minimal impact. On the other hand against teams with powerful def 7’s we struggle because both guard positions are patch ups. Connelly has a high cap number and will be a 32 yo FA. Will BB restructor his contract or let him go? I don’t know and only BB knows. Waddell is a great backup talent, can play G or C but can there be and debate that we need an upgrade there, ( and likely replacement for Connelly if not next year then soon)? Stork did well in his rookie year but missed games twice and Solder had less then a steller year. If your really opposed to fixing the 0-line than how about fixing the Def line? Wilfolk isn’t the player he was just a few years ago. Maybe another off season will let him recover some of his former prowes but we can’t be sure. Siliga is a fine run stuffer but not much as a pass rusher, C. Jones and Branch are good backups but again not much on pushing the pocket. You can count the QB’s we pressured consistently on the fingers of one hand this year. Ninkovich is IMO our best DE but getting older while Jones has a problem setting the edge. The back ups are just that. So please, if you can make a case that a WR would have a bigger impact then addressing our lines I’m listening.

        • Pete H. says:

          I think both need to be addressed, and guard, like running back, is a position where you can more easily find starting caliber talent in rounds 2 and 3. Rounds 2 and late 3/early 4, along with Wendell and a free agent would give good guard depth for next season. I just think there is a bigger drop-off at in talent and probability of hitting at outside WR than there is at guard, so if you want both, the 1-year snapshot of need cant overly affect the draft strategy. Furthermore, there is no reliable depth at outside receiver for next season, and a free agent at that position could run a higher cost than a guard. I would not rely on a late round WR to provide depth in their rookie season. DT is not an urgent need with plenty of guys already on the roster – I’d expect an early pick at that position next year. DE is a position i wouldn’t mind seeing in the top 3 picks. I think you do need at least 1 starting caliber guard in the draft, which is why 2 of the to 4 picks should be on guards. A high end wide receiver can either draw extra attention, easing pressure on Brady, coverage on other receivers, or men in the box to stop the run. That means easier running, quicker releases, and lower risk of INTs. I respect the short-term upgrade strategy, just think its not the only one. If you think I’m wrong, its cool, but I have reasons for my views. And I’d still be interested to hear if you think the Pats should go into the draft absolutely needing to hit on 2 guards or who you think they should sign to protect themselves in case there is poor value at the guard position in the top couple of rounds. I’m legit interested if folks have free agent contingency plans at guard. Bill hates having “must-have” positions entering the draft. Any ideas?

        • steve earle says:

          With all due respect Pete H your assertion that another WR is going to cause less pressure on Brady is foundless. Most of the best, most effective, defenses against us used 4 man rushs. D-linemen are not in the least effected or even aware of WR’s as the ball is snapped. Moreover your perception that a rookie WR coming in to a complex NE passing attack is very overly optamistic imo. As for depth at the position, after LaFell, Dobson will return in good health, Tyms has the size and speed to go deep and showed flashs giving promise after a years experance and Greg Orton will be back from IR. On top of that, We have the best TE in the NFL, the best slot Receiver in the NFL, one of the best RB’s out of the backfield, Amendola WR, Wright TE (who with a solid o-line can be used as Hernandize was), two, possably three power backs (if Ridley is resigned) and another 3rd down possability in White RB. We should give these non starters a chance to develope before we bring in more prospects for positions already deep in the roster.

  3. Russell says:

    Watching a well done Patriot win, I can’t help but see how valueable Edelman is, and how Amendola is not as good as Edelman . My early Mocks had the Patriots drafting a play-maker which is VERY unBelichick like. BUT, I think the Patriots get this WR position updated for the future, BEFORE Tom retires. So here’s my updated Mock;

    1st- WR Ty Montgomery, He has great size at 6’2″ 215Lbs, runs a 4.45 40yd has large hands, runs good routes, returns punts and Kicks, runs well after the catch including plays like the “jet sweep”. Montgomery is an intelligent player,hard worker off the field, solid personality.

    2nd-OT Jake Fisher, He has good size, 6’5″ 295, and may “fit” better at OG in the NFL.

    3d – DE Henry Anderson , Again great size at 6’5″+ 295lbs, moves well 4.94-5.02 40yd and is a 5th year senior. Highly intelligent player who maintains is gap resposiblity. Great Prospect to “fit” the Patriot system!

    3d (comp)- OC/G B.J. Finney a strong looking prospect, who showed well at the East/West Shrine game. 6’4″ 315lbs nice size to replace Dan Connolly IF he retires after suffering several Concussions.

    4th (Tampa)- DT Xavier Williams This is a prospect like Montgomery I had in my early Mocks I moved away from. Well he showed me I had the right Idea, playing VERY well in the East/West Shrine game. 6’3″ 315lbs, runs a 5.12 40yd. IMO there maybe two spots for draft picks on the Dline roster next year.

    4th – OLB Davis Tull , this is another guy I like who mostly played DE in College. He will need some work similar to Dane Flether with the Patriots. Tull is a Spiecal teams starter day one, and IMO is a great Prospect. A 3.52 GPA, smart hard worker, who was a walk-on in College.

    6th (Tampa)- LB Jeff Luc, Luc does not get much love from Scouts, 6’1″ 256lbs, runs a 4.81 40yd. However Luc has a well built muscular body, and is a solid hitter/tackler. IMO he reminds me of Mayo, on tape, and looks like a solid prospect.

    7th-BB always looks for value here, and I’m unsure if he will be on the draft board, but I like QB Connor Halliday 6’3″ 195 lbs. BB is thinking ahead when he signed QB Garrett Gilbert to the P Squad, so Halliday maybe a value pick, missing his senior year with a knee injury.

    • steve earle says:

      Have to disagree Russell. See my reply to Jeff just above.

      • Russell says:

        I agree Steve that the Oline is the TOP spot to fill in the draft, I think there could be 3 roster spots. IF Cameron Erving is on the board at #32 (patriots pick) then YES grab him, BUT I don’t think so. IMO I think great qualitiy Olinemam are available in the 2,3,4 rounds, they need not be 1st round guys. Erving is WORTH a 1st round for sure, however there are other Olineman I like very much later in the draft.
        I also feel strongly that When Tom retires, the Patriots MUST have a solid WR group in place to help the New QB. IF the Patriots draft now, these WR’s can work with the future QB, Garappolo, or ???? Tom’s replacement is NOT going to see the field much UNTIL Tom retires,, He will need WR’s that are solid and inplace, NOT guys new to the team. The Patriots can not afford to get free agent WR’s, drafted guys are cheap for 3-4years. BB has NEVER drafted a play-maker WR in the 1st round,(To my knowledge) the Question is would he if he had a guy? IMO I think the Patriots draft a WR early (Montgomery, Strong) OR two guys mid-to late in the draft.
        The draft board say’s it all, IMO If Dante Fowler is on the board BB drafts him. If Erving is on the board BB drafts him. If Benardrick McKinney is on the board, than BB drafts him.IF those three are gone, BB may go WR Strong, Montgomery with the 1st, OR trade back early second and draft Jeff Fisher, Corey Robinson, Hroniss Grasu, Laken Tomlinson, Arie Kouandijo or B.J. Finney. Then look to the mid-draft for WR’s.
        Those are my thoughts, IMO.

        • steve earle says:

          I watched the WR passing drill today in prep for the senior bowl, Montgomery in particular looked pretty bad. Comentators said the knock on him is he has trouble with the difficult catchs and that’s what he showed.
          About your reply, I agree in a few years a new QB needs additional WR help but we do not need to draft them this year. Sense we need o-linemen why not draft the best on the board this year. Any new QB in the future will benifit just as much from a really strong run game and great pass protection as he might from a bunch of WR’s. Half our games this season Brady was not able to step up into a pocket. If that isn’t fixed we won’t have long to wait for our next QB.

  4. jim r says:

    I think they will be able to restock at OL especially at guard, Two prospects that i find interesting are Hau’oli Kikaha, DE/OLB, Washington and Vince Mayle WR washington State. Two converted QB’s as projects Devin Gardner and Blake Bell could be worth late round looks

  5. td says:

    I’m a big fan of picks that will help our WR corp’s and OLine and DLine depth and/or pass rush

  6. Dan Sullivan says:

    Great win Patriots! Offensive line, Coaching, Fans and Edelman were awesome!
    Blount vs Lynch two great powerbacks should make a exciting Super Bowl.

    Patriots Mock Draft
    1 Jaelon Strong WR Arizona St.
    2 Bronson Kaufusi DE BYU
    3 David Cobb RB Minnesota
    4 Rob Havenstein OT Wisconsin
    4 Chucky Hunter DT TCU
    6 Kodi Whitfield S Stanford
    7 Pharoah Brown TE Oregon
    7 Everett Golson QB/RB Notre Dame

    • steve earle says:

      Well Dan can you tell me why you mock a WR #1 and only mock one O-line down at 4th rd when our most critical need is clearly o-line?

      • Dan Sullivan says:

        OK I will tell you why. I think current Patriot Cameron Fleming is a future star somewhere
        on the OL. Enjoy the Superbowl as I can’t wait!

        • steve earle says:

          Really, what has Flemming done to give you that impression? I honestly haven’t seen whatever it is. He comes in sometimes as an extra blocker in running situations but otherwise what? If he should make that 2nd year jump, which I doubt, that still leaves the line at least one short of a dominate blocker. If he doesn’t that means the comp gets better and we don’t. Brady can only make up for so much before we become the Colts with Great QB and little else.

  7. hdpaulie says:

    Really good piece Mike, loaded with good info. In the future I’d like to see you include the players measurables including 40 times. Keep up the good work. looking forward to your next report.

  8. Michael says:

    If Orchard has a good Senior Bowl week, he will end up as a 1st rd pick. He’s very high on my board for NE on the edge rush

    • ClarenceWhorley says:

      You know he is high on the Pats board how?

      • Bully C says:

        I think he was implying that Orchard was on the board he created for the Patriots (not the real Bill B. board in Patriots headquarters).

  9. Manxman2601 says:

    Desperate to see Marcus Hardison play. I’m really high on him but he’s been neglected by the draft community so I’m hoping he has a really good week coming up. He’s a very athletic DE/DT candidate.

    I’m also a big fan of Odighizuwa, Clemmings, La’el Collins and the Georgia Tech OG Shaq Mason so I’m looking forward to watching them too.

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