There were a lot of guys who performed very well at the Senior Bowl, but for the sake of not boring everyone, I’m just going to pick the main three guys that stood out to me who really boosted/solidified their stock.
Eric Fisher, LT, Central Michigan:
It was already assumed that Fisher would be the second tackle taken off the board after Luke Joeckel once Taylor Lewan announced that he was returning to school, but at the Senior Bowl, Fisher showed off that he deserved it. Going up against a lot of good pass rushers in one-on-one drills he performed admirably. He’s 6’7″ 305 and can move extremely quickly off the snap. He did a good job protecting on both the inside and the outside. He never gave up any space to either side and only once did he give up a sack. He showed that he has a good anchor and is extremely tough to bull rush. Only one defensive end was able to get him back peddling and lose his anchor, and even then, the player didn’t get around him. He’s strong and controlled almost every single player that came at him with ease; forcing them to go wherever he felt like. Fisher does need to improve in his run blocking, but I see no reason that Fisher hasn’t solidified himself as worthy of a Top 10 pick.
Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU:
Ziggy Ansah only recently started playing Football and he is an absolute physical freak. He showed that he still has a bit of learning to do when it comes to the defensive end position, but he killed it in one-on-one drills and was named defensive MVP in the Senior Bowl. He has a motor that doesn’t quit, and showed that he has very good pursuit angles of the ball carrier. He was the one that tackled Denard Robinson for a three-yard loss, and despite the play not being blocked very well, to be able to tackle Denard in space as a defensive end is something that most of the country can’t say. He was a bit of a question for how much of a project he was going to be and whether or not the competition he played against was going to be much of a question mark or the reason for his dominating game film. After the Senior Bowl, it’s safe to say that is no longer a question, whatsoever. He was very dominate all week and I would say he has solidified himself as a Top 20 pick.
EJ Manuel, QB, Florida State:
Most of the quarterback hype going into the week was for Mike Glennon, Ryan Nassib and Tyler Wilson. Glennon and Nassib showed that they have extremely strong arms, but Nassib has some questions about his accuracy and Glennon is a very mental quarterback. If he starts to get pressured, then he starts to crumble and his passing ability plummets. He needs confidence in order to perform well, and who is to say that at the next level he could implode. Especially if he goes to a team with a bad offensive line and he is expected to play well who knows what could happen, he was a wild card.
EJ Manuel on the other hand, showed that he deserves to be getting way more respect. He’s extremely athletic and can get away from trouble, reminded me a lot of Vince Young, but not as fast and a better passer (same goes for Michigan QB Devin Gardner). In practice, Manuel did a good job of making quick decisions and throwing an accurate ball for his receivers to catch. He did a good job of putting touch on the ball and not just throwing fastballs every pass.
In the Senior Bowl game, he showed a good command of the offense and went 7 of 10 for 76 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT and he was named offensive MVP. The interception isn’t a concern though, because Jordan Poyer of Oregon State made an unreal play to reach around the receiver and tipped the ball and it was picked off. That’s going to happen against good players, and the receiver should have done a better job of not letting Poyer get around him. He’s probably only going to go in the 3rd round, but it’s going to be a great pick for the team that takes him. I’m not saying he’s going to end up like Russell Wilson and be a pro bowler, but he has that potential to start in the NFL and be a very good quarterback.
With the Combine coming up on February 21st, it will be interesting to see if their stock rises more than it already has.