This new section highlights which players have improved or worsened their 2015 NFL Draft stock as the draft approaches.
By Charlie Campbell.
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2015 NFL Draft Stock Up
Danny Shelton, DT, Washington
The player who is likely to be drafted first from the Senior Bowl is Shelton. He entered the week with that status, and his performance in practice only served as confirmation. The 6-foot-1, 343-pound Shelton is a load at the point of attack. The North interior offensive linemen struggled to block him all week. He is very powerful to bullrush his way into the pocket and has a burst to close. Sources said that Shelton also interviewed extremely well with teams. Shelton’s Senior Bowl could be good enough to move him into being a top-10 pick.
Carl Davis, DT, Iowa
Davis was tremendous during Senior Bowl practice. He used speed and quickness to fire by offensive linemen, yet had the power to shed blocks or bull rush them into the marker. Davis (6-4, 321) has ideal size with the ability play a variety of techniques while fitting a 4-3 or 3-4 defense. In all three practices and during the Senior Bowl game, Davis was phenomenal.
However, Davis is a complex evaluation. Teams told WalterFootball.com that Davis interviewed terribly. He came across lazy and arrogant while giving excuses of protecting himself against underclassmen offensive linemen for why he didn’t practice hard at Iowa. In his games for the Hawkeyes, Davis was inconsistent as he would flash his great ability but disappear for stretches. He also took himself off the field for a lot of plays and told NFL teams that he needs to spend about half the plays on the sideline. If it weren’t for his skill set and the way he played in practice, Davis would have killed his draft stock in the interviews. However with his Senior Bowl performance, someone will take him on Day 2 at the latest.
Donovan Smith, OT, Penn State
Smith was a surprise early entry into the 2015 NFL Draft, so not a lot attention was paid to him during the 2014 season. Everyone expected him to return to Penn State for his redshirt senior year, but at the Senior Bowl, Smith illustrated that he didn’t make a bad decision. Smith was a gritty blocker all week. His run blocking really stood out with the strength to move defensive linemen at the point of attack. Smith (6-5, 341) also handled himself in the pass-protection one-on-ones. He looks like a starting right tackle for the NFL and would fit well in a power-man blocking scheme as a second-day pick.
Arie Kouandjio, G, Alabama
The top guard at the Senior Bowl was Kouandjio. He showed it all for NFL teams. Kouandjio displayed the power to move defensive lineman at the point of attack with the quickness and athleticism to fire to blocks on the second level. He also did well in the pass-rushing one-on-ones. In those scrimmage sessions, Kouandjio illustrated the ability to handle speed rushers and power bull-rushers. Kouandjio also plays with a mean streak.
Teams have graded Kouandjio (6-4, 318) as a second-round pick and one of the top guards for the 2015 NFL Draft. He looks ready to step in and compete for a starting job on his first day in the league.
Laken Tomlinson, G, Duke
Tomlinson had a rough start to his senior year, which had scouts down on him. However, he bounced back in the second half of the season and carried that over into the Senior Bowl. Tomlinson (6-3, 323) had a quality week of practice. He is a tough run-blocker and could serve as a powerful right guard. Tomlinson needs to improve his pass protection and handling speed rushers in the NFL, but at the Senior Bowl, he held his own and represented himself well as having the potential to be a complete blocker. This performance should help solidify Tomlinson as a second-day pick.
Phillip Dorsett, WR, Miami
The best wide receiver at the Senior Bowl was Hurricanes speedster Dorsett. Other wideouts received more hype in the lead-up, but Dorsett was the most dangerous receiver in Mobile. He burned defensive backs all week. Dorsett can flat-out fly down the field, but he also is a good route runner whot can get separation with quickness in and out of his breaks. Dorsett is very sudden to go with his deep speed.
Dorsett (5-9, 183) isn’t big, but he showed an ability to get open and make some contested catches on underneath routes. After his great week in Mobile, some are saying that Dorsett could late first-round consideration, but at the very least, he shouldn’t get out of the second round.
Clive Walford, TE, Miami
In a weak class of tight ends, Walford made himself a lot of money at the Senior Bowl. The 6-foot-4, 254-pounder showed more quickness and athleticism than previously thought. Walford did really well in the one-on-ones. He was juking defensive backs at the line of scrimmage and made some fabulous catches down the seam. Walford has soft hands and runs good routes while having quality size for the position. After his big Senior Bowl performance, some teams could consider Walford in the second round.
Kevin White, CB, TCU
There were a lot of defensive backs who helped their draft statuses in Mobile, but none more so than White. He ran with receivers all week and showed a real ability to prevent separation. White also competes for the football and doesn’t panic when the ball is thrown his direction. He has quickness, athleticism and some ball skills. At 5-foot-9, 180-pounds White could use more weight for the NFL, but he could start out as a slot corner and potentially develop into a starter who can play outside as well.
Nate Orchard, DE/OLB, Utah
There were questions about Orchard’s fit for the NFL, but he answered them at the Senior Bowl. Orchard showed that he isn’t a tweener, but rather has the ability to be a 4-3 defensive end or 3-4 outside linebacker. Orchard (6-3, 251) could use more size if he remains as a 4-3 end, which is his preference, but that could happen as he spends time in an NFL strength and conditioning program. Orchard did well in defending runs while also showing his excellent pass-rush ability. After his Senior Bowl performance, Orchard could get late first-round consideration.
2015 NFL Draft Stock Down
T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh
There was a lot of hype about T.J. Clemmings being a top-20 pick, but he didn’t play like it in Mobile. Clemmings had issues in pass protection throughout the week. He didn’t show improvement throughout over his time at the Senior Bowl, and that carried over into the actual game.
Clemmings gave up a strip-sack to Mississippi State’s Preston Smith in the second quarter of the Senior Bowl. The sack was more on Sean Mannion, who held onto the ball too long, but Smith did bull Clemmings back into the pocket before breaking way for the strip sack. Clemmings has a lot of physical ability, but he needs a ton of development.
Clemmings has a lot of physical talent with a skill set to develop, but his technique needs a lot of work. He looks more appropriate as a late first-round or a second-round pick rather than a high first-rounder.
Rob Havenstein, OT, Wisconsin
If a team is forced to start Havenstein at right tackle in the 2015 NFL season, that team’s quarterback will be in serious danger. Havenstein was abused by pass-rushers at the Senior Bowl and really struggled in the pass-protection one-on-ones. Speed rushers gave him a lot of problems as they fired by him consistently to turn the corner and get to the quarterback. Havenstein’s run blocking is much better than his pass protection, but he needs a lot of development for the next level. Havenstein looks like a project pick for the third day of the 2015 NFL Draft, but with his limited quickness and athleticism, one has to be concerned that he may never develop into a starter.
Austin Shephard, OT, Alabama
Shephard is a quality run-blocker, but he needs a lot of improvement in pass protection. Shephard struggled in the pass-protection one-on-ones all week as speed rushers blazed by him consistently. They also were able to work back to the inside. Shephard looks like a potential Day-3 pick as a backup right tackle in the NFL. Often those players are on the practice squad because teams want their backup tackles to be a swing tackle to play left or right. Shephard didn’t help himself at the Senior Bowl.
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