The Senior Bowl doesn’t tell the full story of how the 2014 NFL draft will go down, but it does offer important insight on what to expect.
Aaron Donald and Dee Ford add more rushers to the equation
If a team is in the market for a somebody who can get after the quarterback, the 2014 class may be the one for them. The practices and game action showed that much just among the senior class. Not just with edge rusher either, but interior ones too. During the practice session, Pitt defensive tackle Aaron Donald dominated one-on-one drills with his superior quickness and explosion. The same can be said for outside linebacker Dee Ford. After dominating the national title game, he took his hot streak down to Mobile where tackles could not get a handle on him. It all culminated in being awarded the game’s MVP for notching two sacks. In a class already rich at the top with pass rush potential, such a solid collection showing off in a limited setting is a very good sign.
Jimmy Garoppolo can’t hide how inconsistent 2014 quarterbacks are
Most of the buzz around the Senior Bowl during the previous week was centered on the rapid rise of Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and his potential at the pro level given a quick release, accuracy and athleticism. However, his shining star, as well as a nice recovery by FresnoState standout Derek Carr, could not completely mask how rather mediocre or sometimes terrible the quarterback play was in practice and the game. It was especially bad on the north side where Stephen Morris (Miami), Tajh Boyd (Clemson) and Logan Thomas (Virginia Tech) all took turns struggling with bad decision-making, inaccuracy and inconsistency. It only adds more uncertainty for scouts and coaches about the true strength of a quarterback class that seemed so promising months ago.
Cyril Richardson is going to have problems with quick defenders
There is no denying that Baylor guard Cyril Richardson is mountainous powerhouse. Not only is he big, but he has the strength that allows him to dominate opponents when run blocking as he frequently did. In addition his nimble feet allow him to never be off balance. However, despite the obvious traits of a potential Pro Bowler, Richardson repeatedly showed warning signs of having a real problem blocking quick defensive tackles. It first appeared in drills when Aaron Donald beat him on several occasions in pass rush situations. Then it showed up again during the game when Princeton defensive tackle Caraun Reid, another smaller, quicker type beat him for a sack. This might be just a small aberration, but given his size it’s not hard to fathom. With the demand for faster interior rushers going up, Richardson could be in for a series of headaches.