Ok, well it's definitely that time of year again when those of us who aren't currently Green Bay or Pittsburgh fans are concentrating on the NFL draft. This weekend is the annual Senior Bowl game. Now, I realize that most of these games are generally filled with less than adequate talent, however, not so this year. Several prime key players are expected to make their mark down in Mobile. A number of players at several key positions of need for our boys in Black and Gold will be on display. Want to feel like you're Mickey's go to scout?...sit down and watch the game this weekend and see if you can keep an eye on some of these players that could potentially be a Saint next year. Below the Jump is a run down on several players from both squads.
I concentrated on some of our obvious positions of need. Draft position is obviously subject to change.
THE SOUTH TEAM-------------------------------------------------
Sam Acho - Defensive End from Texas - 6'3" 257 lbs. Tremendous intangibles and former Arthur Ashe award winner who plays with a constant motor. Expected draft position - Third Round.
Arthur Allen - Running Back from Georgia Tech. 6'0" 230 lbs. A hard tough runner with excellent ball security and a mean streak to boot. Runs with power and good balance, but tends to run a little high. Draft position - Fifth round.
Allen Bailey - Defensive End from Miami. 6'3" 278 lbs. Bailey has good all around productivity against the run and the pass and is a total package defender. One sticking point, Bailey has shown a lack of consistency, but shows a sound motor. Draft position - First Round.
Jeremy Kerley - Wide Receiver from TCU. 5'9" 188 lbs. A true return specialist. Top 10 in the country at both punt and kickoff returns as well as a capable route runner. Rumors abound that Kerley is CP's secret crush. Expected draft position - 4th-5th round.
Brooks Reed - Defensive End from Arizona. 6'2" 260 lbs. Good motor, great instincts with several different pass rush moves. Health is a concern for Reed, but when healthy has been a big time contributor. Best as a pass rush specialist. Expected draft position - Third round.
Kelvin Sheppard - Linebacker from LSU. 6'2" 250lbs. Key the SEC chants from Stu. Average ball recognition and instincts, but shows good tackling ability and range versus the run. Bonus points for showing potential as a true special teams coverage demon. Expected draft postion - Third round.
Phil Taylor - Defensive Tackle from Baylor. 6'3" 340 lbs. A true man beast at the point of attack with good anchoring ability and hands. Most likely a true nose tackle in a 3-4 front. Expected draft position- Second Round.
Kenneth Wright - Outside Linebacker from Mississippi State. 6'3" 246 lbs. Great production and intangibles. Kid is a violent wrap-up tackler who plays well in space. Can play a little out of control at times and needs to develop better instincts and angles getting to the ball carrier. Expected Draft position - 4th round.
Pernell McPhee - Defensive End from Mississippi State. 6'3" 274 lbs. Good build and an excellent run defender. Plays with good consistency but lacks elite speed and pass rushing moves. At this point, a pure bull rusher. Expected draft position - Second round.
THE NORTH TEAM -------------------------------------------------
Jeremy Beal - Outside Linebacker/Defensive End from Oklahoma. 6'3" 267 lbs. Tremendous physical specimen and a true pass rusher with adequate skill vs the run. Shows tremendous football IQ and awareness. Expected draft position - Second Round.
Gabe Carimi - Offensive Tackle from Wisconsin. 6'7" 327 lbs. Good toughness and all around mauler, but not a great athlete. All around solid player for the badgers. Expected draft position - First Round.
Anthony Castonzo - Offensive Tackle from Boston College. 6'7" 308 lbs. Needs to add more bulk/strength to his frame. A superior pass blocker with long arms and very good athleticism. A true left tackle. Expected draft position - First Round.
Mason Foster - Linebacker from Washington. 6'2" 242 lbs. A tremendous tackling machine with good athleticism and adequate quickness. Can be overly aggressive and needs to improve at the point of attack and shedding blockers. Expected draft position - Third - Fourth Round.
Sione Fua - Defensive Tackle from Stanford. 6'2" 306 lbs. Superb run-stuffing tackle who can hold the point of attack with a good lower base. Highly underrated member of a good defensive unit. Expected draft position - 4th round.
Mark Herzlich - Linebacker from Boston College. 6'4" 244 lbs. Tremendous intangibles with good height and weight and speed. Was one of the top linebackers in the country before being diagnosed with cancer. Came back cancer free, however, has not quite recaptured his previous form. Expected draft position - Third Round.
Greg Jones - Linebacker from Michigan State. 6'1" 240 lbs. Plays inside but has the pass rush skill and ability to stick with RB and TEs to play outside. Good range vs the run and shows real leadership. Expected draft position - Third round.
Ryan Kerrigan - Defensive End from Purdue. 6'4" 263 lbs. Versatile, high motor player who won't stop in pursuit. Excels vs both the pass and the run. Needs to develop a second move. Expected draft position - First Round.
Demarco Murray - Running Back from Oklahoma. 6'1" 210 lbs. Tremendous skills in the passing game catching the ball out of the back field. An unquestioned third down back who needs to show better power and capability of running behind his pads. Comes with some injury concerns (Perfect for the Saints then!) - Expected draft position - Third round.
Stephen Paea - Defensive Tackle from Oregon State. 6'1" 311 lbs. Explosive hitter who holds the point of attack well against double teams. Quick feet and good hands when playing in the booth. Non-stop motor. Expected draft position - First Round.
So as you can see, plenty of talent in this game for people to keep their eyes on. If you can watch the game this weekend, I encourage everyone to do so. See if you can spot some of these guys and how they play, or anyone else on the squads that might suddenly jump out at you. It's a fun way to speculate and gives you some first hand knowledge on guys that maybe you haven't had the opportunity to see play in college. Enjoy.