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-- At 6-foot and 189 pounds, Wisconsin wide receiver Jared Abbrederis lacks the physical presence to generate first-round interest, especially because a strong group of underclassman receivers declared.
Nevertheless, the Wisconsin senior is reportedly have a strong week. Having watched a lot of Wisconsin football, Abbrederis’ route running really stood out as his biggest asset. He’s very fluid in and out of his breaks.
Scouts likely see him as a slot receiver in the mold of Denver’s Wes Welker, but those comparisons are overblown. Abbrederis is about three inches taller than Welker is. He can also play on the outside, though his best position is the slot.
Another overlooked factor in Abbrederis' skill set is his ability to adjust to the ball in the air. To put it mildly, Wisconsin quarterback Joel Stave was not very good in 2013. Because of his inaccuracy, Abbrederis would often have to make bizarre adjustments to secure the catch.
Entering the week, he was an off the radar third-round pick with the possibility to sneak into round two if the right situation presents itself. A strong showing at the Senior Bowl only reinforces his draft status.
-- From a size standpoint (6-1 & 288 pounds), you wouldn’t expect Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald to be a menacing force along the defensive line. Yet, that’s exactly what he was last season when he record 59 tackles (28.5 for a loss) and 11 sacks.
Donald possesses a quick first move and does a great job of rushing up field. He’ll likely settle in as a three technique in a 4-3 defense.
As you might expect, the reigning Outland Trophy winner is thriving in the Senior Bowl environment, particularly in one-on-one drills, where he’s holding his own against highly touted offensive guards Cyril Richardson and Zack Martin.
-- In a week one game versus San Diego State, Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo completed 31-of-46 passes for 361 yards and two touchdowns. It was a masterful performance as Garoppolo led his team to a 40-19 victory over the Aztecs. This was the beginning of what turned into a dominating senior season, as he was named FCS Player of the Year.
NFL scouts got a strong look at him during last week’s East-West Shrine Game and he did not disappoint. He completed 9-of-14 passes for 100 yards and a touchdown. He was named the game‘s MVP. Because of his performance, he received an invite to the Senior Bowl where he continues to elevate his play.
Garoppolo’s quick decision-making stands out the most. He knows where the ball is going to go before the snap and his delivery is precise. He also has terrific footwork and is mobile enough to maneuver within the pocket.
Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr is a potential first-round pick and is having a fine week of practices. By some accounts, Garoppolo is holding his own with the well-regarded signal caller.
-- I have been late to the party in regards to Minnesota defensive lineman Ra'Shede Hageman. He has excellent size (6-6 & 318 pounds) and is versatile enough to play 3-4 defensive end or 4-3 defensive tackle. Still, his inconsistencies suggest that he’s not yet ready to make an immediate impact in the NFL.
He’ll flash the ability to play at a high-level, but he’s yet to sustain that type of play over a long period. His size, potential, and versatility warrant him first-round consideration.
However, by comparison, his game tape isn‘t as good as Donald‘s is. Hageman, however, is more physically gifted and versatile than the Outland Trophy winner. He’s also having a strong week, so all criticisms (including mine) must be re-examined.
-- I just like the way Florida State linebacker Christian Jones plays the game. He has played inside and outside linebacker. He’s also very good at handling running backs in the flats. His most impressive asset is his ability to blitz, though. Because of his versatility, I can see a creative defensive coordinator coming up with different looks that’ll feature Jones getting after the quarterback. He’s going to be hard to keep off the field in passing situations.