2015 NFL Draft Stock – Senior Bowl II

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

Steven Nelson, CB, Oregon State
There were a few defensive backs who had a really strong Senior Bowl week against a talented group of receivers, and Nelson was one of them. He showed the quickness and athleticism to run with wideouts and prevent separation. Nelson also showed that he doesn’t panic when the ball is in the air and has ball skills to play the ball. The 5-foot-10, 199-pound Nelson has enough size to get consideration on the outside while also being able to function as a slot corner. After his Senior Bowl week, Nelson looks solid as a second-day selection assuming his interviews and character checks went well.

Stephone Anthony, ILB, Clemson
The 6-foot-2, 245-pound Anthony did a lot to help himself in Mobile. He showed speed, length, and athleticism to function in pass coverage. That allows NFL teams to project him to being a three-down starter at middle linebacker. Anthony also did well in run defense as he has the size to function in the middle of the tackle box. With his functional size, Anthony could fit on the inside of a 4-3 or 3-4 defense.

Ali Marpet, OL, Hobart
Every year the Senior Bowl gives some opportunities to small-school stars who have the potential to compete at a higher level. Coming from Hobart, a Division III school, Marpet really performed well as he battled and scrapped with defensive linemen all week. Marpet (6-3, 307) lacks height and has short arms (32 7/8), so he probably will have to move to the inside. Sources say that Marpet impressed them, especially the New York Giants.

Imoan Claiborne, CB, Northwestern State
Another cornerback who showed the ability to compete was Claiborne. He did a nice job of running with receivers and staying close to them in-and-out of their breaks. The 5-foot-9, 189-pounder looks like a slot cornerback candidate for the NFL. Claiborne used the Senior Bowl to rise from the undrafted ranks into a pick on Day 3 of the 2015 NFL Draft.

Justin Hardy, WR, East Carolina
Hardy had a consistent performance all week as he showed that he is a gritty, polished receiver. The 5-foot-10, 190-pounder was a little bit smaller than listed, but he was steady in his ability to get open running his routes and has soft hands. Hardy doesn’t have elite size or speed, but he is a competitor and a natural football player. Sources feel that Hardy is the kind of sleeper who overcomes his limitations to be a productive NFL contributor as a role player. That was on display at the Senior Bowl.

Lynden Trail, OLB, Norfolk State
Trail had off-the-field issues that pushed him to Norfolk State instead of staying a Florida Gator. Thus, his interviews were extremely important. Trail helped himself with a good week at the Senior Bowl. He showed the ability to drop into coverage and rush the passer. Trail (6-6, 262) had speed to fire off the edge and the natural athleticism to function in space. He’s a great fit as a 3-4 outside linebacker. If it weren’t for the off-the-field concerns, he’d probably be a second-day pick.

Grady Jarrett, DT, Clemson
Jarrett really helped himself in Mobile, and his strong week in the pass-rushing one-on-ones caused some to say he could be a poor man’s Aaron Donald. Jarrett (6-0, 288) is undersized, but he has some quickness and natural pad level to get penetration into the pocket. Jarrett only totaled 3.5 sacks over the past two seasons, but he denibstrated more potential to attack the quarterback than his total indicates. Jarrett’s impressive week could get him consideration as high as the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft.

Gabe Wright, DT, Auburn
Wright had a similar week to Jarrett in that he he used his quickness to get some wins in the one-on-ones. There were a number of offensive linemen who struggled to block Wright as he would fire by them. There were plays where Wright flashed strength with the bull rush and ability get off of blocks. He would fit well as a three-technique in a 4-3 defense. With his strong Senior Bowl, Wright could end up being a second-day pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Honorable Mentions: Northern Iowa running back David Johnson, Minnesota running back David Cobb, Mississippi State defensive end Preston Smith, Samford safety Jacquiski Tartt.

2015 NFL Draft Stock Down

Sean Mannion, QB, Oregon State
Heading into the Senior Bowl, Mannion had a shot at being a second-day pick if he had a strong week. That didn’t happen though as Mannion turned in a mediocre week. He showed his big arm and pocket presence, but his accuracy and decision-making were off. Mannion is a statue in the pocket, and he showed that if he is forced to move off his spot, he can lose effectiveness. Mannion’s Senior Bowl week illustrated that he belongs on Day 3.

Shane Carden, QB, East Carolina
The weakness of the 2015 quarterback class means Carden was another quarterback who had the opportunity to rise at the Senior Bowl. However it didn’t happen for Carden either. He looked more like a late-rounder or undrafted free agent. Sources from teams said they were disappointed in what they saw and were hoping that Carden could start generating some momentum to be considered in the mid-rounds. It looks like Carden will enter a team’s camp having to fight hard to earn a roster spot.

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