Dezmen Southward, S, Wisconsin, Sr. (6’2’’, 210 lbs.)
Southward is a two-year starter for the Badgers who has terrific size for a safety. He positions himself well to make plays on the ball in coverage and is a good help defender. Wisconsin sometimes plays him in man over slot receivers, and he shows decent man coverage skills, although that is not his strength. His size suggests he can match up with NFL tight ends, and his experience in man will help with that.
Southward is willing to step into the box on running plays and knife in to make plays. Average instincts and poor tackling angles, however, limit his production in this area.
Southward is a late-round prospect whose size and versatility should be intriguing for NFL teams.
Kelcy Quarles, DT, South Carolina, Jr. (6’4’’, 298 lbs)
Quarles has had a very productive junior season, including 13.5 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks, largely due to the attention Clowney has drawn from offensive lines that has freed Quarles up to make plays.
To his credit, Quarles has taken advantage and has been able to make plays behind the line of scrimmage. However, he is a very raw player with much to prove.
Quarles is inconsistent in his ability to disengage from blockers and is driven out of his gap too frequently. This comes from poor pad level and a tendency to stand straight up out of his stance, which allows blockers to easily get into his chest and control him. He does not have great functional strength and easily handled by double teams against the run.
When Quarles plays with proper leverage and technique, he is able to do damage. Quarles has some upside as a interior pass-rusher and has a flashed a good bull-rush.
Quarles planned to enter the 2014 NFL Draft in November, according to his father, but he has since wavered on that decision. He would benefit from another year in school to improve upon his strength and technique, but he is a likely late-round selection if he declares.
James White, RB, Wisconsin, Sr. (5’10’’, 195 lbs.)
White has been part of incredible backfields in his career with the Badgers, playing along with Montee Ball and Melvin Gordon. Despite sharing carries with both players during his career, White is only 92 yards away from rushing for 4,000 in his career. He has made the most of his attempts, averaging 6.2 yards per carry and scoring 45 career rushing touchdowns.
White has shown the most big-play potential of any senior running back. He has good open-field speed and the ability to break free on outside run plays. He reads his blocks well and has good upfield burst.
White has a tendency to bounce runs outside while ignoring play designs, which won’t work as well in the NFL as it has in college.
With 37 catches as a senior, he has displayed his ability to contribute as a receiver out of the backfield.
White is not a physical runner who looks to pick up yards after contact. He is, however, a big-play threat who has the ability to run away from players.
Ryan Groy, G, Wisconsin, Sr. (6’5’’, 320 lbs)
A starter since his sophomore year, Groy earned first-team all-Big Ten honors in his senior season. While he has his strengths, Groy has a lot to prove in this game and during the draft season.
Groy is best as a run blocker who can drive block, down block and combo block to linebackers successfully. He has the functional strength to continuing doing those things at the next level.
Groy is a waist bender, which gets him in all kinds of trouble. Because he does so, he has a poor tendency to drop his head down, which leads to lunging at his opponents and ultimately whiffing on some blocks. His overall foot speed is slow, which limits him when pulling and pass blocking. He allows too much penetration as a pass blocker, which creates too deep of a pocket for the quarterback to operate in.
In a power scheme, Groy looks like a late-round prospect. It will be vital for him to show increased foot speed and better posture during the East-West Shrine Game and in pre-draft workouts to show he can play at the next level.
Jimmy Legree, CB, South Carolina, Sr. (6’, 187 lbs)
Legree has been a three-year starter for the Gamecocks and has started at both safety and cornerback. Legree has shown good ball skills with six interceptions over the past two seasons. He has good straight-line speed and has flashed some ability as a tackler in run support. He does not have the great hip fluidity, which might ultimately result in him moving back to safety at the next level, but he is a late-round prospect.
Connor Shaw, QB, South Carolina, Sr. (6’1’’, 209 lbs)
Shaw’s arm and measurables are not that of a solid NFL quarterback, but he has battled through injuries and adversity throughout his entire career and has had plenty of late-game heroics.
He has an impressive ratio of 52 touchdowns to 16 interceptions for his career, and has rushed for more than 400 yards in each of the past three seasons. If Shaw does not make it in the NFL, he could be a top-flight Canadian Football League or Arena Football League quarterback. He is a dual-threat quarterback who makes plays.
Chaz Sutton, DE, South Carolina, Sr. (6’5’’, 263 lbs)
Coming off a five-sack season as a reserve player and playing opposite Jadeveon Clowney, Sutton was a breakout candidate for 2013, but the results have been underwhelming as Sutton has just two sacks as a senior.
Sutton shows some burst and a decent variety of pass-rush moves, but he does not have the strength or technique to consistently win matchups. He does not hold up well against the run and is very movable. Sutton has enough ability to be a late-round selection, but he is very unproven.
Battle of Late Round Hopefuls: Ronald Patrick, RG, South Carolina, Sr. (6’2’’, 315 lbs) vs. Beau Allen, DT, Wisconsin, Sr. (6’3’’, 325 lbs)
Patrick and Allen are both late-round prospects who will be looking to show they are worthy of a draft pick in the Capital One Bowl.
Patrick is a two-year starter who has displayed good athleticism and quick feet. He has a tendency to bend at the waist but shows good physical demeanor despite inconsistent technique.
Allen is a big-bodied space eater who projects as a 3-4 nose tackle. He has flashed good movement skills but doesn’t hold his ground as well as you would expect for a 325-pound lineman.
Both players have something to prove in their final collegiate contest.
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Tags: 2014 NFL Draft, Beau Allen, Bowl Games, Bowl Previews, Capital One Bowl, Chaz Sutton, Chris Borland, Connor Shaw, Dezmen Southward, Game Previews, Jacob Pedersen, Jadeveon Clowney, James White, Jared Abbrederis, Jimmy Legree, Kelcy Quarles, Prospect Previews, Ronald Patrick, Ryan Groy, South Carolina, Victor Hampton, Wisconsin