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2014 Senior Bowl: Saturday Standouts and Disappointments

Saturday, January 25th, 2014

While Logan Thomas and the other quarterbacks struggled in Saturday’s Senior Bowl, Auburn pass-rusher Dee Ford teed off on the North squad. (Photo: Derick E. Hingle — USA Today Sports)

BBD Editor: Dan Hope

Though the 2014 NFL Draft is still more than three months away, Saturday’s Senior Bowl was the last opportunity to watch any top prospects take the field in a fully-padded, 60-minute football game.

The game itself was only one part of the evaluation process that took place this week in Mobile, Ala., and the Senior Bowl itself is just a small part of each participating player’s evaluation. Still, the game gave each prospect playing in it a chance to stand out.

A strong performance Saturday meant little to any prospect who didn’t show the same ability in actual college football games and in Senior Bowl practices earlier this week. A few players, however, further proved their ability from strong collegiate careers and standout practices by making big plays on gameday.

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2014 Senior Bowl Ask the Players: Why Should an NFL Team Draft You?

Saturday, January 25th, 2014

Virginia Tech’s Logan Thomas confidently believes he is one of the 2014 NFL draft’s best quarterbacks. (Photo: John David Mercer — USA Today Sports)

BBD Editor: Dan Hope

Though some might be projected to be selected much higher than others, every player who has participated in this week’s Senior Bowl has a legitimate chance to be selected in the 2014 NFL Draft.

For a prospect to convince an NFL team that he is worth drafting, the process starts with on-field performance, including this week’s practice sessions and Saturday’s game for the top seniors in Mobile, Ala. this week. That process extends to the interview room, however, where players have an opportunity to persuade teams that they have not only the on-field skills, but also the character and intelligence, professional football teams expect.

While I had the opportunity to watch all of the Senior Bowl participants during practices at Ladd-Peebles Stadium and Fairhope Municipal Stadium this week, I also interviewed more than 20 prospects to get a closer look at each of them beyond their tape and the skills they displayed in practices.

“If I were representing an NFL team, what would you say to convince me ‘This is why you should draft (player name)?’”

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2014 Senior Bowl: Day 3 Notes and Quotes

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

Auburn cornerback Chris Davis is quickly becoming known for more than just his missed field goal return touchdown. (Photo: Jim Brown — USA Today Sports)

BBD Editor: Dan Hope

Though there is still one remaining day of practice and a game to be played Saturday, most NFL scouts, coaches and executives who attended the 2014 Senior Bowl left Mobile, Ala. after Wednesday, the final day of fully-padded practices of both the North and South teams.

After three days in Mobile, Wednesday night was also time for me to return home, but not without a notebook full of chicken-scratch and observations that left me feeling confident in evaluations of some players and with more questions than ever on others.

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2014 Orange Bowl Prospect Preview: Ohio State vs. Clemson

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

With Ohio State cornerback Bradley Roby expected to be out of Friday’s Orange Bowl, Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins could be in for a big day. (Photo: Joshua S. Kelly — USA Today Sports)

BBD Editor: Dan Hope

The second full week of college football’s bowl season will come to an end Friday with the fourth of five BCS games, the Orange Bowl (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN), featuring two teams with numerous early-round NFL prospects in Ohio State (12-1) and Clemson (10-2).

Two of the nation’s most athletic teams, both the Buckeyes and Tigers have players on both sides of the ball who are projected to be first- or second-round picks. The players to watch in this game include quarterback Braxton Miller and Tajh Boyd, offensive playmakers Carlos Hyde and Sammy Watkins and defensive impact players Ryan Shazier and Vic Beasley.

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Joe Marino’s Senior Quarterback Rankings for the 2014 NFL Draft

Friday, November 1st, 2013

Derek Carr ranks as the best quarterback in the 2013 senior class. (Photo: Christopher Hanewinckel — USA Today Sports)

BBD Staff Writer: Joe Marino

The quarterback crop for the 2014 NFL draft will be greatly influenced by the potential early declarations of Teddy Bridgewater (Louisville), Marcus Mariota (Oregon), Brett Hundley (UCLA) and Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M). Among the senior quarterbacks, however, there are two who stand out from the pack: Fresno State’s Derek Carr and San Jose State’s David Fales.

I grade both Carr and Fales as first-round draft selections. The rest of the group combines a mixture of solid physical ability, good makeup and intangibles, but none of them put it all together. (Then again, Drew Brees, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers weren’t the total package when they were drafted either)

Overall, this year’s quarterback class is much deeper than that of the 2013 NFL draft, which had just three quarterbacks selected in the first three rounds and 11 total quarterbacks selected.

From now until the week before the Senior Bowl, I will be releasing a set of rankings for one position group each week, breaking down the top 2014 NFL draft prospects at each position. These rankings will include seniors only.

This week, we start with the draft class’ top-10 senior quarterbacks.

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