The Senior Bowl is one of the biggest events in preparation for the NFL Draft. It is a great way for seniors to raise their stock by practicing and playing well against other top seniors. But these seniors also get a great opportunity to showcase their talents in front of scouts and coaches. This year, the North won 34-13, but it's not the score of the game that matters, what's important is how individual players performed. Here are some players that impressed Saturday.
1. The Running Backs
After a great performance in which he rushed for 73 yards and also had 40 receiving yards for a game-high 113 total yards, Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah was named the Senior Bowl MVP. He was explosive every time he touched the ball and his ability to be a threat out of the backfield in the pass game was impressive.
While Abdullah stole the show, Minnesota's David Cobb quietly rushed for 78 yards (7.0 yards per carry) and one touchdown. His combination of size, vision, and power are why I think he is underrated and will be a steal when he drops to the third or fourth round.
The most impressive run of the day came from Northern Iowa's David Johnson when he scored on a 19-yard touchdown. Throughout the game, Johnson showed great cutting ability and soft hands out of the backfield. He and Cobb are just two examples of second round talents that could fall to the fourth round because of the depth at running back this year.
2. Kevin White, CB, TCU
After a great week of practice in which he spent covering some of the most talented receivers in the nation, White carried the momentum over to the Senior Bowl and had a great game.
"You want to see a guy check every box throughout the week, and he did that," NFL Draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah said. "Could he carry it over to the game? He's been outstanding, got his hands on a ball. Kevin White is definitely playing well."
White finished the game with two tackles and an interception.
3. Nate Orchard, DE, Utah
While Orchard finished his senior season with 18.5 sacks, he entered Senior Bowl week with lots of questions about his size and whether he should play outside linebacker or defensive end in the NFL. After a week of great practices and an impressive performance in the Senior Bowl, Orchard may have improved his stock more than any other player. He was named the North's defensive MVP and while his production may not have shown up in the box score, Orchard was all over the field Saturday.
4. Carl Davis, DT, Iowa
Davis is another player whose stock improved Saturday. After being named the Senior Bowl's Most Outstanding Practice Player, Davis' talent showed Saturday night. Like Orchard, his play didn't show up in the box score. But watching the game, Davis was constantly disrupting the pocket and stuffing the run. Before the week, he was projected a second round pick. But after a great week of practice in front of coaches and scouts, Davis' stock is guaranteed to improve.
"By his play this week, including the game, he is one of up to seven or eight players that could be considered first-round picks," NFL Draft analyst Mike Mayock said.
5. Tyler Lockett, WR, Kansas State
There were plenty of talented receivers at the Senior Bowl, but Lockett stood out from the rest. He finished the game with three catches for 48 yards, two rushes for seven yards, and a 22 yard kickoff return. But his play was even more impressive than his stats.
Lockett had a great block that allowed David Johnson to score a 19-yard touchdown. He also used his speed and acceleration to get behind the coverage and draw a pass interference call that set up the offense with a first-and-goal. Locket projects to play primarily in the slot at the NFL as he is only 5-foot-9.