The 2015 Senior Bowl is Saturday at 4 p.m. ET on NFL Network in Mobile, Alabama. With practices starting today, I figured it'd be best to get to know some of the players.
So let's take a look at a few players from each side to keep an eye on this week.
T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh
At 6'5" 305 lbs, he's a little bit of a smaller framed tackle prospect, but he uses that to his advantage. He's got great flexibility, athleticism, and quickness for a tackle. He excels in run blocking, but could use improvement in pass protection. Would be more of an insurance pick for the Browns, but given what we saw with Alex Mack's injury this year, could be worth it if he lasts until their second first rounder at #19.
Garrett Grayson, QB, Colorado State
This is a kid that has just gotten better and better each year. Grayson had a nice coming out party this year for the Rams, completing over 64% of his passes, over 4,000 yards, and 32 touchdowns to only 7 interceptions. He's 6'2" and 220 pounds, more of a pocket-passer than Johnny Manziel, and appears to be a good decision maker with the ball in his hand. He'll likely be available on day 2 or 3, and could be an option for the Browns if they want to bring in a rookie to compete with Manziel.
Denzel Perryman, ILB, Miami (FL)
As a noted UK homer, I know a thing or two about watching undersized linebackers excel both at the collegiate level, and the NFL. UK has a history of taking talented, albeit smaller-framed linebackers, and getting them to the next level. Wesley Woodyard, Danny Trevathan, and Avery Williamson are all examples of guys that aren't big prototypical NFL linebackers, but have made up for their lack of size with tenacity and their ability to attack the ball. Denzel Perryman reminds me a lot of those guys. He's listed at only 5'11", but he gets to the ball fast, and often. Dan Kadar of Mocking the Draft called him this year's "Chris Borland," another sub-six-foot linebacker that was drafted in the third round last year, and went on to have 100+ tackles for the 49ers as a rookie. Perryman could follow right in those footsteps.
Quinten Rollins, CB, Miami (OH)
Rollins played four years of college basketball for the Redhawks, and had one year of eligibility left before deciding to give football another go after not playing since high school. It turned out pretty alright for him, named his team's MVP as well as MAC Defensive Player of the Year. He's an incredible athlete, the ability to play college basketball and football gives that away a little, but he's very smooth and fluid. Rollins is a bit of a mystery given his relative inexperience, but Dane Brugler of CBS Sports went as far as to have him mocked at #27 overall in his most recent Mock Draft. So this is a kid that is shooting up the draft boards.
Danny Shelton, DT, Washington
There's a few big-name defensive linemen in the Senior Bowl, but one name in particular should stick out for Browns fans, Danny Shelton. If you've looked at any 2015 NFL Mock Drafts recently, Shelton is name that should be familiar to you. Mel Kiper Jr. had Shelton going to the Browns with their 12th pick in his first mock draft, and Todd McShay mocked the same pick. Shelton is a load, listed at 6'1" and 332 pounds. He most likely projects as a nose tackle, but he'd fit along most defensive lines regardless of position. He's a big guy in the middle, but is also quick enough and has shown an ability to chase down opposing players well. Mike Mayock of NFL Network, recently compared him to Haloti Ngata of the Baltimore Ravens. That is a pretty lofty comparison, but, when all is said and done, may be accurate. Right now most rating services have Shelton anywhere from a top-10 pick, to a late first rounder.
Za'Darius Smith, DE, Kentucky
You didn't think we'd make it through this review without me dropping a fellow UK alum's name, did you? With all kidding aside, Big Z is coming off a MVP performance last week at the East-West Shrine Game. His teammate and fellow defensive end, Bud Dupree, may go in the first round and likely ahead of Smith, but Smith is nevertheless an interesting prospect. He came to UK by way of JUCO, and hit the ground running in the SEC. He's listed at 6'6" 263 pounds, so he most likely doesn't have the size to be a DE in Pettine's scheme, and he also lacks an exceptional initial burst, however, he's relatively new to the game still and with proper coaching could be a steal in the mid-rounds.
2015 Senior Bowl preview: Every storyline
•SBNation.comSenior Bowl practices start this week. Instead of running off a list of players, here's what you need to know.
Sammie Coates, WR, Auburn
He graduated in December, and is a fourth-year junior, but was invited to play still. A prototypical ‘freak athlete.' For Browns fans, he'll get the comparison to Josh Gordon in terms of his athletic ability. Stands 6'2" and 201 pounds, and has been clocked in the 4.3s for his 40-yard dash. There will be little, if any, questions of his physical tools, it'll be whether he can increase his consistency to be a star at the next level.
Markus Golden, DE, Missouri
Golden is a guy that'll be a little further down the list of hot-names at the Senior Bowl, but that doesn't mean he doesn't warrant our attention. He'll likely be the second of Missouri's defensive ends taken, behind teammate Shane Ray. Like Ray, Golden is a little undersized for an NFL defensive end these days, but that didn't stop him from being incredibly productive in the SEC. He'll probably go in the 2nd or 3rd rounds of the draft, but could be a nice piece for the Browns if they opt to go pass-rusher. As mentioned previously, at 6'3" and 260 pounds, he may be a bit small for Mike Pettine's defense. But for the right price, he could be one to watch this week.
La'el Collins, OT, LSU
Collins has played both guard and tackle in college, and he's played a lot. He got immediate playing time as a true freshmen, and continued making an impact throughout his entire collegiate career. He's 6'5" and 321 pounds, and very strong. He's likely to go in the top-10, but if he slides a little bit, the Browns at #12 would be intriguing. He'd give the Browns plenty of flexibility along the offensive line, and would be a huge asset in the run game.
Jamison Crowder, WR, Duke
I found myself randomly watching the entire Duke/Pittsburgh game last year. I have no idea why, I have no particular interest in either team, but I watched the entire thing start to finish. Sidebar: it ended up being a phenomenal game, 2OT, Duke won 51-48. But, my main takeaway from that game was my infatuation with a small Duke wide receiver, Jamison Crowder. I hadn't seen much of him at all, but was blown away. He's not big, only 5'9" 175 pounds, but I think he'll be a great slot receiver at the next level. He put up three straight 1,000 yard seasons at Duke. Who knows how Josh Gordon's career will shake out in Cleveland, and I understand the notion that the Browns need a prototypical outside receiver to either compliment and/or replace Gordon if something happens. Crowder should be available on day 2, or even day 3 of the draft, and if he's available for the Browns' taking, I'd say they should jump at the opportunity.
Tre' Jackson, OG, Florida State
Once considered one of the top offensive linemen prospects in the nation. He opted to return to school for his senior season after coming off an All-ACC first-team season as a junior. He's a big dude, 6'4" and 330 pounds. He's got a great combination of size and power, while also possessing some deceptively athletic abilities. Didn't impress this season, and also has some questions about his conditioning.
Lynden Trail, OLB, Norfolk State
Don't let the school fool you. He originally signed on for Florida, but when Urban Meyer left, Trail decided to head elsewhere. He wound up at Norfolk State, and ended up having a very productive career. He's a physical specimen standing 6'6" and checking in at 260 pounds, but has a quick burst off the line. He played 3-4 OLB for Norfolk State, but will likely transition to a 3-technique and DE at the next level. He's pretty raw, but will be an interesting day-3 prospect.
Who are you keeping an eye on this week?