Posted by Walter
First, I'd like to give kudos to the NFL Network for their superb broadcasting of the Senior Bowl practices all week. Just and oustanding job by their entire crew, especially analyst Mike Mayock who is the most prepared and insightful draft analyst on the planet. OK, so the big question is which players helped themselves the most during practice, and which players hurt themselves the most? Keeping in mind that this list does not take into account the game itself, which will be played lated today, here is the official 323 five up five down from Senior Bowl practice week.
Five Up - Five players who made themselves a lot of money.
1) Dawyne Bowe - WR, LSU
No shock here for anyone who has read analysis or watched practice this week. Bowe was consistently the best player on the field, and was virtually uncoverable. At 6'2'' and 222 lbs., Bowe is a big, physical WR who is not afraid to go over the middle and really uses his body well. The most impressive thing about Bowe, though, was the quickness and agility he displayed coming into and going out of his breaks. A man that size just shouldn't be able to stop and cut as quickly as he did this week. It was a sight to behold, watching smaller corners try to lock Bowe down in press coverage. Folks, it just ain't gonna happen. I don't think I've ever seen a wideout break press coverage as consistently and effortlessly as Bowe did all week. The only knock on Bowe is that his hands are inconsistent and he will drop catchable balls. However, that is a flaw that can be corrected by an NFL team. Bowe entered the week as a fringe 1st Round WR, and left mobile with a solid mid 20's grade.
2) Amobi Okoye - DT, Louisville
Okoye started the week with a bang, showing up in Mobile a svelt 20 pounds under his playing weight. But Amobi quickly put any fears to rest by consistently dominating the one on one drills against some pretty good offensive lineman. Okoye displayed a superb blend of power and quickness, often dominating with a bull rush one play and a swim/spin move the next. At only 20 years old many scouts were concerned with his age, but Okoye also allayed those fears by giving thoughtful, mature, and articulate interviews all week. Physically Okoye still has some growing to do, but his skill set is so unique among players in this draft and in Mobile he showed that he is a solid 3 technique prospect. Okoye entered the week as a 2nd round pick, and he may have shown enough to sneak into the back end of round 1.
3) Eric Weddle - DB, Utah
The number one priority for Weddle this week was to find a position. Weddle worked out as both a corner and safety, and while he performed well at both he showed unparalleled instincts and ball hawking ability at safety, his NFL position. Weddle doesn't necessarily pass the eyeball test, but between the lines he is just always around the ball. Weddle showed that he is an excellent athlete with fluid hips and great awareness in coverage. His lack of ideal straight line speed will probably preclude him from ever being a full time NFL corner, but his versatility is such that he can easily slide outside in a pinch. Weddle proved that he is the type of player you win with, one that creates turnovers and will help in all facets of the game. Weddle was considered a high second day pick before this week, but his performance as a safety definitely got him into the 1st day, and perhaps even the back end of the first round where a team like the NE Patriots may covet his high character and versatility.
4) Ryan Kalil - C, USC
Simply put, Kalil was the best offensive lineman in camp. He is a solid 290 lbs. but what really stood out about Kalil was his absolutely perfect technique and use of leverage. Kalil consistently got hands on the defensive lineman, and was always underneat his opponent's pad level. Prior to the week of practice I considered Kalil a Dan Koppen type player who could come to an NFL camp and start from day one. Today I still think that comparison is apt, although Kalil may have worked himself into the bottom of the first round. Mike Mayock described Kalil as a guy who you can plug in from day one at center, and then 10 years later he's still there. Kalil will probably be a high second round pick, but has proven this week that he is capable of being a longtime NFL starter.
5) Adam Carriker - DE, Nebraska
Carriker started the week on a great note, showing up at the weigh in looking like a body builder at a ripped 290 lbs. The week got better from there. Originally thought of as strictly a 3-4 end or 4-3 tackle, Carriker exhibited explosion and quickness all week that most scouts didn't think he possessed. Specifically coming off the edge in the pass rush, Carriker was unblockable. He uses his hands very well, and is so strong that once he locks on the offensive tackle is in big trouble. Carriker looks the part perhaps more than any other player in Mobile, and proved this week that he can play defensive end in any NFL scheme. Especially with so many team adopting the Patriots philosophy of switching between the 3-4 and the 4-3, Carriker appears almost a lock for the first round. I wouldn't be shocked if a team like the Jets fell in love with him, despite greater needs elsewhere.
Five Down - Five players who cost themselves a lot of money.
1) Marcus McCauley - CB, Fresno State
McCauley has all the tools to be an awesome corner, but for several reasons he really needed a good week of practice. First of all, he had a down senior season and needed to show scouts that the real Marcus McCauley was the guy dominating the WAC as a sophomore and junior. Secondly, playing at Fresno St. McCauley did not face NFL caliber wideouts on a consistent basis. He needed to prove himself somewhat, against top talent at the senior bowl. Well, McCauley looked awful all week and probably has more questions surrounding him now than any other player. McCauley was repeatedly torched by the top players like Dwayne Bowe and now he looks hard up to be a second rounder.
2) Dan Mozes - C, West Virginia
This one hurts. I was touting Mozes prior to the Senior Bowl as a tough and athletic center who could potentially be a long time starter in the NFL. Well I am one who is able to admit his own mistakes. Mozes was terrible all week. He was the antithesis of Ryan Kalil, an undersized center who just doesn't have the technique or leverage to compete at the next level. Mozes' biggest problem is that he just isn't strong enough. He was consistently overpowered by even the most pedestrian defensive lineman, and Mozes looked flat out overmatched all week. I considered Mozes a solid 4th round pick going into the week and now I wonder whether he will be drafted at all.
3) Tyler Palko - QB, Pittsburgh
Palko is another player whose camp I was in prior to this week of practice. I honestly believed that Palko had the smarts and toughness to make up for his lack of athletic ability and become a Damon Huard like NFL backup (that is a huge compliment by the way). But after this week, I have all but given up on the Pitt product. Palko displayed a below average arm. and terrible mechanic all week. He consistently underthrew open WR, even against no defense, and looked like nothing more than a CFL backup. Further, Palko's delivery is long and he holds the ball low. His height is below what one would expect already and his mechanics cause him to play even shorter. Palko looks like nothing more than a late round throw away pick.
4) AJ Davis - CB, NC State
I have said it all week, AJ Davis was consistently the worst player in Mobile. I just don't know waht else to say. If I were a GM I wouldn't draft him. But some team will probably be stupid enough to waste a pick on him.
5) Ken Darby - RB, Alabama
Darby didn't do anything to really kill his stock as far as mistakes go, it's just that he has been mostly invisible all week. Darby is a skill type of player who should have thrived in the senior bowl practice setting. He is a guy who didn't have great production but should have been all over the field on offense catching passes and sliding through holes against linebackers who are more interested in not getting hit than making tackles. Yet I cannot recall a single play where I noticed Darby all week. His production was poor in college and was even worse at the Senior Bowl. He will need a huge game on Sat. to undo that damage to his draft stock.