Reese’s Senior Bowl: Loaded With ACC Talent

The Senior Bowl is the most prestigious all-star game in college football, and the last chance before the NFL Combine for prospects to get noticed by NFL scouts. As well as the ACC represented itself at the Shrine Game, even more money can be made with a great showing throughout the week in Mobile, Alabama. Here’s the list of ACC guys taking part.

Playing for the North Squad:

Jamison Crowder-WR, Duke.

Entering the week of the Senior Bowl, Jamison Crowder finds himself in the middle of the draft. This week will be crucial for Crowder, as a good performance could solidify him as a solid 3rd round pick, but should Crowder falter, he could see his stock fall to the later rounds. As of right now, CBS Sports/ NFLDraftScout has Crowder listed as the 101st prospect overall, the #16 wide receiver, and projects him to be taken between the 3rd-4th rounds. At 5’8″, the undersized Duke prospect needs to see the field as much as possible and in every way possible, including doing whatever it takes to get on the field to return kicks and punts, highlighting his versatility and value for an NFL team.

Laken Tomlinson- OG, Duke.

Tomlinson is one of the better ACC players in Mobile this week. CBS Sports has him rated as the 97th overall prospect, the #6 guard, and projects Tomlinson to be taken in the 3rd round. There is a lot to like about Laken Tomlinson’s game. He has good size at 6’3″ 323lbs, and he plays with a great pad level, consistently staying lower than defenders. He has tremendous drive in the run game, and shows the ability to be an adequate pass protector. The buzz word being thrown around this week in regards to Tomlinson is “safe”. Safe is a valuable word for an offensive lineman in a setting such as the Senior Bowl. Safe means Tomlinson will be chosen sooner rather than later on draft day.

T.J. Clemmings- OT, Pitt.

T.J. Clemmings is raw and fairly inexperienced offensive tackle at this stage, having only played o-line at Pitt for 2 years, but he has the chance this week to prove he is worthy of a 1st round selection. The Fox Sports mock draft has him going 25th to Carolina, while says Clemmings is talented enough to go 11th to the Minnesota Vikings. For consistency’s sake CBS Sports says Clemmings is the 12th overall prospect and the #3 offensive tackle. The problem with playing in the Senior Bowl when you are rated this highly is that there is far more room to fall, compared to not much room to climb. Early week whispers were that Clemmings was losing money daily, getting beat by more experienced and technically sound defensive ends. I believe that for someone with such little experience, the coaching he’s receiving this week is worth the risk of slipping down the boards. As long as he soaks up the teaching and applies it to tomorrow’s game, Clemmings will maintain his 1st round status.

Playing for the South Squad:

Stephone Anthony-LB, Clemson.

It doesn’t feel like its time for Stephone Anthony to be gearing up for the NFL Draft. Not that long ago, I was following the Anthony recruiting race as intently as anyone, hoping my school would come out on top. They did not, Anthony went off to Clemson, and had a solid career. Honestly, I’ve been disappointed in Anthony’s production thus far, and I think Anthony has the potential to be a James Harrison type late-bloomer. As of right now, Anthony is the lowest rated prospect on our list. Rated by CBS Sports as 193rd overall, Anthony is listed as the #8 ILB and projects to be drafted between the 5-6 rounds. The light needs to come on for Anthony this week in order to gain some positive momentum. He has to get the scouts buzzing and show more flashes of the player that I was desperate to get out of high school. If he does that, there’s no reason why he couldn’t work his way into the 4th round, but sitting this low on draft boards, and facing elite competition, he could easily fall to the 7th-undrafted category with a bad week.

Grady Jarrett-DT, Clemson.

At 6’1″ 288lbs, Grady Jarrett is a little light for NFL defensive tackle standards and a bit undersized, but Jarrett does a phenomenal job turning perceived weaknesses into the strengths of his game. Jarrett’s smaller frame allows him to get lower than his opponents. He understands leverage and possesses more power than his size would suggest. Jarrett also has tremendously quick feet, which helps him rush the passer or shed blocks to take down running backs. Jarrett is in a good position draft-wise, rated 105th overall by CBS Sports. He’s the #9 DT and should be drafted between the 3-4 rounds.

Tre Jackson-OG, FSU.

Tre Jackson is a terrific prospect. The NFL team that chooses Jackson is getting a 10 year starter. CBS Sports has Jackson as the 58th overall player, the #2 guard, and a potential 2nd round pick. Im a lot higher on Jackson than most of the draft boards out there. If Jackson is still on the board at pick #58, I’ll be surprised. Jackson doesn’t have a lot of weaknesses. He will be an effective run blocker in the NFL, and he will be an asset in pass protection as well. Standing 6’4″ 323lbs, Jackson possesses the strength, the quickness, the size, and the length to handle just about any situation he’ll face in the NFL.

Shaq Mason-OG, GT.

The Senior Bowl is more important to Shaq Mason than any other prospect in Mobile this week. Mason has adequate size to be in the NFL, and he possesses a lot of the characteristics and traits that translate to success in the NFL, but Mason plays in the most unique scheme in college football, Paul Johnson’s option offense. What Mason is being asked to do this week and what he will be asked to do in the NFL is different than what he did in college. Mason will need to show NFL scouts that he is able to handle traditional offensive line responsibilities. Coming into this week Mason was listed as the #9 guard and projects between the 4-5 rounds, but expect Mason’s projection to be extremely fluid over the next few months.

Lorenzo Mauldin-OLB, Louisville.

While half the Louisville roster took the field last week in the East-West Shrine Game, Mauldin is taking his talents to Mobile. NFL teams will have to decide how and where to best utilize said talents, and the Senior Bowl should help them get a feel for what Mauldin can do. Playing at outside line backer this week, I could see Mauldin taking that pass rusher OLB role in a 3-4 scheme. He showed promise as a pass rusher at Louisville, and there’s reason to believe Mauldin will have success at the next level. Mauldin is the 103rd overall prospect, #9 OLB, and should be selected between the 3rd and 4th rounds.

Phillip Dorsett-WR, Miami.

Dorsett is an explosive athlete that faces similar struggles and challenges as Jamison Crowder. His game-plan this week should be the same as Crowder’s, though I would expect Dorsett to have a slightly better combine showing. As of now Dorsett is rated behind Crowder, as CBS Sports has Dorsett listed #134 overall, the #19 wide receiver, and projected solidly in the 4th round.

Ladarius Gunter-CB, Miami.

Gunter is a long rangy corner that could cause a team to reach on draft day, due to success of similar guys in the league. Gunter is a press coverage type of guy who shows solid physicality and the ability to knock receivers off their routes and disrupt timing. Think Seattle Seahawks corners. In fact, Gunter is the exact type of player they go after, and if Seattle were to pick Gunter in the draft, it would be the perfect landing spot. CBS Sports has Gunter as the 131st prospect overall, the #17 corner, and as of now projects as a 4th round pick.

Denzel Perryman-ILB, Miami.

Denzel Perryman is another prospect that I believe in a little more than most of the draft experts. CBS Sports has Perryman as the 77th overall prospect and the #3 ILB. The notion that there are 76 players in this draft that are better than Perryman is asinine. I’m much more inclined to believe the guys at Fox Sports for their report on Perryman, where they rank him 37th overall. I think even that number is a little low, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see him slip into the bottom of the 1st round, where smart successful teams draft. (Like we’ve never heard of undersized athletic middle linebackers having success in the NFL. #ZachThomas or currently #BobbyWagner). Perryman is an explosive athlete who isn’t afraid to deliver devastating hits to ball carriers. With the amount of field LB’s have to cover in today’s league, players like Perryman are under-appreciated. If Denzel Perryman was 6’3″ instead of 5’11”, he would be a 1st round lock.

Clive Walford-TE, Miami.

Last, but not least, is Clive Walford. Walford is an athletically gifted tight end, with great speed, solid hands, and Prototypical size at 6’4″ 254lbs. Walford is nowhere near close to reaching his potential. In time, Walford could become a Pro Bowl TE, but he has a lot of polishing left to do to his game. Scouts love potential though, and CBS Sports has Walford as the 71st overall prospect and the #2 TE. Heading into tomorrow’s game he is in the 2nd-3rd round range, but as always, that projection is subject to change, especially if the good version of Walford shows up.

With deflategate running across the TV all week, the Senior Bowl hasn’t had anywhere near the attention it’s had in the past. Tune in anyway, because there is a lot of talent playing tomorrow. 4PM-NFL Network.

Tweet me your thoughts and questions during the game @dejsportsscribe and don’t forget to follow @InsideTheACC.

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