By Darrell Puckett
The Senior Bowl is a game that has many implications, but foremost it compliments unspoken players. It contains unspoken referrals to players that are not consistently in the spotlight and posses necessary tools for NFL status. This Senior Bowl was by far one of the most one-sided games in history, and provided insight to the South’s dominance. There are three players that set their selves apart and jumped higher in the NFL Draft.
Dee Ford from Auburn University showed that he is an elite pass-rusher and will move up the draft board. Ford racked up two sacks, one pass deflection, and five hurries. While Caraun Reid from Princeton had two sacks as well, Ford presented an outside presence that couldn’t be ignored. There’s no question why Ford was awarded Senior Bowl MVP, because no one could stop him.
The North had a very difficult time doing anything on offense, but there was one consistent player-maker, James White. I’ve always loved the way this guy could run between tackles and explode through the secondary. Consistency of exploding into the secondary was necessary for White’s ability to extend plays. White finished with 11 carries for 61 yards and a touchdown; five receptions for 15 yards.
There seemed to only be three quarterbacks playing in this game, and they all played for the South. Deciding between Carr, Fales, and Garoppolo is difficult. Fales finished 6-of-7 for 104 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Carr finished 7-of-16 for 31 yards, and one interception, while Garoppolo was 6-of-12 for 32 yards. Fales statistics look more impressive, but Garoppolo appeared more NFL skilled ready. Carr’s feet looked heavy as bricks, but his strong arm made up the difference. The only quarterback that harnessed and showed NFL readiness was Garoppolo. You don’t break all of Tony Romo’s records at Eastern Illinois without being highly talented.
The honorable mentions are receivers Kevin Norwood and Crockett Gillmore. Norwood hauled in four receptions for 53 yards and a touchdown. Gillmore caught five passes for 61 yards and a touchdown. Both of these guys helped their draft status tremendously with huge-consistent performances. Look for Norwood to become a very impressive slot-receiver and jump into the fourth round draft discussion.
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