Von Miller vs Ryan Kerrigan
There aren’t many elite 3-4 pass rushers in this year’s draft class, which is typically one of the most sought-after positions early in the draft. Both Miller and Kerrigan are capable of playing outside in the 3-4 scheme and a number of teams could be in the market for them in the 1st round. Both players grade out very close and this could be an opportunity for one to get the upper hand.
Jake Locker vs Ricky Stanzi
Talent-wise, there’s no comparing Locker and Stanzi (Locker wins easily). Production-wise there’s also no comparing them (Stanzi wins easily). If Locker plays up to his full potential, this should be his opportunity to reclaim his consensus 1st-round grade. However, if he is out-played by Stanzi – who plays with a similar style and has a comparable skill set – Locker is almost certain to fall out of the 1st round.
Gabe Carimi vs Anthony Castonzo vs DeMarcus Love
Do we have a left tackle in this group? All three are fringe 1st-round prospects and what holds them back is the question about their position. None of the three have the elite athleticism you look for in a left tackle, but all three had productive careers on the left side in college. Seeing all three on the same field will help clear up the picture as to who has a legitimate case to be a 1st-round pick.
Mike Pouncey vs Ben Ijalana vs Rodney Hudson
Who is the top interior lineman in Mobile? Entering this week I give a slight edge to Ijalana, but we have yet to see him face elite competition. With a solid week Ijalana could become a potential 1st-round prospect, much like Mike Iupati used the Senior Bowl as a spring board last year. However, Pouncey and Hudson will have that same opportunity. All three have different body builds and are very different players, making this an interesting competition to watch. [updated: Mike Pouncey has elected not to participate].
Janoris Jenkins – CB – Florida
Jenkins had one of his more difficult tasks this weekend when lined up against LSU’s Terrence Toliver. With a four to five inch height advantage, Toliver beat Jenkins easily on a number of plays. But perhaps the most telling moment of the game came on LSU’s final play when Florida had Jeremy Brown – not Jenkins – was lined up against Toliver, who scored the winning touchdown. I currently have Jenkins in the 1st round of my mock draft, but I’m starting to think he lacks the ability to match up against more physical receivers, making him a better 2nd or 3rd round pick.
Leonard Hankerson – WR – Miami FL
Hankerson has the size and speed to be an elite receiver, but he is far too inconsistent. He routinely drops very catchable balls, and did so a number of times against Florida State on Saturday. He reminds me of Braylon Edwards – he’ll make one spectacular play, and follow it up with a ball that bounces off his hands. At this level drops are caused by nothing more than a lack of focus, and if a player can’t focus in college I don’t trust his ability to focus when he’s earning million of dollars in the NFL.
DeMarcus Love – OT – Arkansas
I continue to waver on who I think is the top tackle in this year’s class, which is probably evidence that this is a very weak class. The more I watch Love, the more he reminds me of Alex Barron. He has elite athleticism and can block anyone when he’s focused. However, he’s caught out of position far too often and gets called for too many penalties. Over the past three games, Love has been called for four penalties (three false starts and one holding). The false start penalties are actually most concerning because they speak to his lack of football intelligence and his focus on the field.
It's safe to call Green a 1st-round lock
A.J. Green – WR – Florida
Green entered the season as my No. 1 wide receiver, but I thought it was a close call between him and Julio Jones. After watching Green’s performance this season, there is no longer any doubt. He is a truly elite prospect, on par with recent top picks such as Dez Bryant and Calvin Johnson.
Da’Quan Bowers – DE – Clemson
Bowers came to Clemson as a highly touted recruit but failed to live up to expectations in his first two years. Now, as a junior, Bowers is starting to show why he was viewed as an elite talent in high school. He has already recorded six sacks, two more than his career total entering this season. He has established himself as a likely 1st-round pick if he chooses to leave school early.
DeMarcus Love – OT – Arkansas
Love is emerging as one of the top offensive lineman in this year’s draft class and he’ll have his toughest test of the season on Saturday. He’ll likely be lined up against Marcel Dareus for most of the day. I’m very interested to see how often he’s able to handle Dareus in a one-on-one matchup – or if Arkansas immediately double teams Dareus.
Marcell Dareus – DE/DT – Alabama
This is also a huge game for Dareus, who gets a chance to prove himself against one of the nation’s top tackles. He likely will face double teams throughout most of the game. How he handles those matchups will determine if teams take him seriously as a 3-4 defensive end prospect.
Ryan Mallett – QB – Arkansas
Sticking with the same game, Mallett also has a lot to prove. There’s no denying Mallett’s skills – he has all the physical attributes of an NFL quarterback. But does he have the accuracy and the composure in the pocket necessary to play the NFL game? This will be his best chance in college to prove himself against an elite defense.
Rahim Moore – S- UCLA
The Bruins face Texas, which has struggled on offense this year, and Moore could be a difference maker in this game. If he can force Garrett Gilbert into some mistakes – perhaps pick off a pass himself – the Bruins could hang in this ball game.
Stephen Paea – DT – Oregon State
Paea doesn’t have a particularly difficult assignment, but he does have the eyes of the nation on him as his Beavers take on Boise State. If he’s able to get into the backfield and disrupt Boise’s high-powered offense, scouts will take notice. I believe he has the talent to be a top-10 pick and this is a chance for him to prove he’s worthy of that ranking.