2011 Senior Bowl Results – Stock Up, Stock Down
South All-Stars Stuff the North in Senior Bowl
The North All-Stars finished this year’s Senior Bowl with zero total rushing yards and with only one third down conversion, the South All-Stars dominated their way to victory, 24-10.
Led by Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder who passed for 132 yards and two touchdowns, the South leaned on their defense to seal the victory. On the first play of the game, Ponder threw a deep ball to Miami wide receiver Leonard Hankerson who came back to the ball and made a nice adjustment for a huge 48 yard pass play. The South eventually scored a field goal but on the next drive, Ponder his Hankerson again, but this time for a touchdown. The North All-Stars never recovered.
The North was unable to run the ball, creating many third and long situations that the North quarterbacks could not convert. Ohio State’s Dan Sanzenbacher led the North with five receptions for 62 yards and Maryland running back Da’Rel Scott scored the lone North touchdown.
Washington quarterback Jake Locker started the game for the North and was unable to do much. He did complete 6 of 10 passes for 98 yards but was fortunate to have two fumbles recovered by his own offensive linemen. In fact the North did not have a first down until the final two minutes of the first half.
The South All-Stars Texas defensive lineman Sam Acho and the North All-Stars North Carolina defensive back Kendrick Burney were named the most outstanding players on their team.
Ponder won the game’s MVP award. Hankerson was named Offensive MVP and Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller won defensive MVP.
DRAFT STOCK IMPROVED
QB Christian Ponder, Florida State
The fight for the fifth best quarterback prospect in this draft class is still wide open (unofficially the top four are currently Missouri’s Blaine Gabbert, Auburn’s Cam Newton, Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett and Washington’s Jake Locker). With his Senior Bowl performance, Ponder made a strong case for his consideration amongst the top five. Although Ponder does not have the arm strength NFL scouts are looking for, he makes good decisions, shows good mobility and is a proven winner.
OLB Von Miller, Texas A&M
Miller had a ton of hype from the NFL analysts as he excelled in practice. In the game, he backed it up and then some. He was all over the field and the North All-Stars simply had no answer for him. Miller was named defensive MVP and played his way into early first round consideration. He looks to be the top pass-rushing outside linebacker prospect for 3-4 defenses.
DE Sam Acho, Texas
Acho was extremely disruptive this season for the Texas Longhorns with 17 tackles for loss, nine sacks and five forced fumbles. With all that time spent in the opponent’s backfield, it should have come as no surprise that Acho would have a nice game in the Senior Bowl. Acho had a key sack on Jake Locker after beating Colorado’s Nate Solder, who may be the best offensive tackle in this class.
WR Dane Sanzenbacher, Ohio State
The wide receiver class is two things this year: top heavy and full of prospects who could be considered fourth to fifth round talents. Sanzenbacher is one of those in-between players that needs to do as much as possible to solidify himself as a draft pick. He was looking like a borderline late round pick but more likely, an undrafted free agent. With a solid showing on Sunday, that may have changed. Sanzenbacher still likely projects as seventh round pick but he at least showed he is capable of more when given the opportunity.
WR Leonard Hankerson, Miami (FL)
Personally, I consider Hankerson a mid to late second round pick but not many agreed or had even heard of him before the Senior Bowl. That can’t be the case any longer. Hankerson is a big target with a great natural ability to find the ball and make plays. He broke Michael Irvin’s touchdown record at Miami this year (13) and with a good combine, he could be a top five prospect at his position.
DE Christian Ballard, Iowa
Playing opposite DE Adrian Clayborn is no easy task, in fact, Clayborn has been a projected first rounder for about a year. But Ballard put together a good week of practices and a strong in-game performance that could see him move into the first round. Considering how many great defensive ends are out there, he still may slip into round two, but he has day one talent.
DRAFT STOCK DECLINE
OT Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin
Through no fault of his own, Carimi was unable to play due to an injury. It may not necessarily hurt his draft stock but giving opportunities to other players to showcase their talent may have moved them slightly above Carimi. He is still a first round talent who could slip slightly in the draft.
LB Colin McCarthy, Miami
Despite playing with a lot of energy, McCarthy was often out of position and gave up big yards on screens and any sort of misdirection to his side. McCarthy is likely a fourth round pick after this week’s performance. He needs to continue working on his tackling technique and staying on assignment.
DE Cameron Jordan, California
Jordan is very high on many mock drafts right now but he didn’t do much to solidify that position this past week in practice or in the game. He is considered a top five prospect at his position but he looked a bit sluggish at times. Jordan is a big, strong player but he displayed a lot of inconsistencies that coaches will need to correct at the next level, including poor pad level, bad use of leverage and a slow first step.
QB Jake Locker, Washington
None of the quarterbacks really played that well in the game and for a guy who could potentially go in the first round, more was expected of Locker. The defenses in this game did make things tough for the quarterbacks, but there aren’t any excuses heading into the NFL Draft. Locker will need time to develop in the NFL.
LB Greg Jones, Michigan State
Jones was one of the few players that received a lot of criticism in the practices leading up to the game. He plays stiff and was eaten up during blitzing drills. Jones was often unable to free himself from a block and would be a non-factor on some run plays. He looked out of sync and lacking instincts. He put up big numbers at Michigan State but he didn’t show the scouts anything during practice.
More 2011 NFL Draft Coverage