2014 Senior Bowl: The pads are on and the evaluations are underway

Stacy Revere

Ups for Aaron Donald, downs for A.J. McCarron, how did Ra'Shede Hageman do?

The second day of practice for the Senior Bowl week is when the pads were put on. This is competition day with many 1-on-1 drill for every position.  Every year player evalate or secure their draft stock which ends up making them money come May. There are also the select few who do poorly and lose money. Here are a few players that stood out on Day 2.

Making Money

Jimmy Garoppolo, QB Eastern Illinois (South)

Tore up the East West Shrine game and was invited to the Senior Bowl. Quick footwork, good eye work and an incredibly compact compact and quick release. He is a smart player and reads the defense nicely. Stands in the pocket well. Good accuracy and ball location. Garoppolo is impressive and I can't say enough about that quick release. Unlike  McCarron who decided not to attend the Senior Bowl, Garappolo (who is only at the Senior Bowl because of McCarron declining)  is taking the opportunity and may even move into a late first round pick.  No player has made more money over the last two weeks than  the Eastern Illinois QB.

Aaron Donald, DT Pittsburgh (North)

Just dominated every single linemen he went up against in the 1-on-1 pass rushing drill. Unblockable was the only way to describe his performance.  Looked just as impressive in team drills shooting gaps and putting pressure on the QBs. The offense had to use a double team on him on a lot of their plays. The quickest first move I have ever seen from a defensive tackle.  He is your ideal under tackle for a 4-3 defense. He needs to do a better job at taking on the blocks instead of trying to run around them. Richardson was able to push him around more than once. He only measured in at 6-foot-1 288 pounds but if he can put on ten pounds and not lose that exceptional speed, Donald is going to make some GM look incredibly smart. At worst he is a rotational pass rushing three tech for a team with an already stack  defensive line. The Geno Atkins comparisons are definitely valid in this case and will only help his draft stock but Donald isn't quite the overall athlete Atkins was in college.

Justin Ellis DT Louisiana State (North)

Weighing 353 pounds just a week ago when he played in the East  West Shrine game he weighed 342 pounds at the Senior Bowl weigh-in. He is a physically strong player who handles double teams extremely well. Ellis went against Cyril Richardson, the best guard in Mobile, and won many of the battles in team drill. Great hand work. Has strong, quick hand technique and deceptive quickness for a man his size. Ellis is quickly elevating his draft status. If he can drop down to about 330 pounds he looks like a good NT prospect.   Look for a write up soon on Ellis as he was already a favorite of mine even before two weeks ago.

Christian Jones, LB Florida State (South)

Jones has played the Will LB, Mike LB and LE in a 4-3 defense for Florida State's defense. He is an explosive athlete on the football field. Measuring in at 6-3 and 234 pounds with almost 33 inch arm length Jones likely won't play on the Defensive line in the NFL. However with his size and athleticism Jones can play any linebacker position on either a 3-4 or a 4-3 team.   I think he would be best used a lot like  Von Miller as a 4-3 OLB that rushes the passer. He put on an impressive spin move on Georgia TE Lynch in the 1-on-1 drills that left Lynch helplessly grasping air. It was nasty.

Lorenzo Talaiferro, RB Costal Carolina (South)

Talaiferro wasn't beat a single time in the Backs-on-Backers drill. He showed great balance with a wide base, shot his hands in to the chest of the rusher,  and kept his head up. The most impressive blocker on the day, With a 230 pound frame if Talaiferro can  show he can be a short yardage back as well as block like he has, he will have played himself in to a late round draft pick.

Losing Money

A.J. McCarron, QB Alabama (DNP)

Not even considered a first round prospect McCarron chose not to attend the Senior Bowl despite being healthy. Garoppolo took his place and has only built upon an impressive Shrine game performance so far. Given a chance to prove he was the best senior QB in the class McCarron chose not to compete and I can't help but wonder why? He has lost a lot of money from this decision and a poor bowl performance already.

Darqueze Dennard, CB Michigan State (DNP)

Dennard has the reputation as a press corner who uses the three step shuffle to cover up his athletic limitations. In a game that doesn't allow press coverage and asks the corners to play a lot of zone and off-man, Dennard chose not to remove these doubts. In doing so it may have unconsciously confirmed what some may have already suspected that Dennard is a athletically limited CB who can excel in only certain coverage but will struggle in others.

Will Sutton, DT Arizona State University (South)

in 2012 Sutton played a lot like Aaron Donald. He had an incredible burst off the line but was playing at around 270 pounds. In 2013 he chose to gain weight but lost all of what made him special. He weighed in at 6-foot and 315 pounds. He looks slow, he looks heavy and the decision to put on that much weight have made Sutton look like a sub par player. I am hoping Sutton drops his weight to around 295 to 300 pounds for the combine and puts on a show. Until then I can't help but question what my fellow Sun Devil was thinking.

David Fales, QB San Jose State (South)

Fales appears to have what it takes to play QB between the ears. He make nice reads and stands tall in the pocket. His biggest question mark was his arm strength and unfortunately for him that question has been answered. In a windy day of practice Fales didn't have to ability to push the ball. His throws floated and were off timing because of it. Fales won't have the arm strength to make it in the NFL and teams that still wanted that answered have seen this over the last two days of practice.

Adrian Hubbard, OLB Alabama (South)

Weighed in looking soft and lacking muscle tone. Slow off the line of scrimmage and poor technique Hubbard has seen his stock take a huge hit and it isn't getting any better. Poor pass rushing technique in both leverage and hands and lacks the ability to play against the run. On the ground more than a few times in Tuesday's practice.  At this point Hubbard only gets drafted because of his exceptionally long arms and frame overall and potential a coach see from that..

In  Neutral

Ra'Shede Hageman, DT Minnesota (North)

Hageman flashed his amazing burst off of the line of scrimmage and impressive build. He won many of the initial battles in his 1-on-1 drills. However poor hand placement and no extension  found Hageman stalemating with many of the linemen  who have far less talent and physical tools in the 1-on-1 run blocking drills.  He did look dominant at times. By far his best drill was the 1-on-1 pass rushing drill. He was just too fast and too strong coming off the line of scrimmage. Once again though lack of extension had him slowed on a few reps. He went up against Richardson and Richburg, two of the best interior linemen in the draft, in team drills and was neutralized. He was double teamed a few times in the team drills but failed to play with the wide base and balance to fight through it.  Many scouts knew Hageman could provide value as a pass rusher with his speed and I am sure many scouts want to see him play a lot better against the run. Right now his stock is staying fairly even.

Jordan Matthews, WR Vanderbilt (South)

Some impressive adjustments to the football (as seen in the picture above) along with great measured size for Matthews had a positive impact on his stock. However Matthews looks off on his route running and struggled to consistently get separation out of his breaks. As the highest rated WR in Mobile, Matthews needs to perform a lot better to push his stock from a fringe first rounder.

Cyril Richardson, OG Baylor (North)

A very large man Richardson excels as a powerful  straight ahead run blocker. He is also heavy footed and will have trouble with quicker pass rushers as seen on his tape. With two days in Mobile in the books Richardson hasn't changed anything on his scouting report. Richardson is going to need to look a lot better laterally.

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SB Nation's latest 2014 NFL Mock Draft companion video

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