This past week the top seniors from college football traveled to Mobile, Alabama to participate in the Reese’s Senior Bowl. Some of the most impressive performances of Saturday’s game were from the running backs and the offensive linemen.
The South offense began the game with the football. The opening drive was an indicator that the running backs would shine in this game. Cameron Artis-Payne led the South offense down the field with a few explosive plays. However it was the Northern Iowa running back, David Johnson that found the end zone with a 19 yard touchdown rush. Johnson showed great burst avoiding a Danny Shelton tackle and great vision getting to the end zone.
Artis-Payne would finish with 10 carries for 43 yards. He also gained 35 yards on 3 receptions. Artis-Payne, who is a likely 3rd round draft pick, showed a lot of versatility in this game. Johnson had 10 carries as well for 49 yards.
The North team running backs were even more dazzling. Ameer Abdullah, from Nebraska showed the most talent of any back during the Senior Bowl. He gained 73 yards on only 7 carries and had 40 yards receiving as well. Abdullah has potential to be a star in the next level. He is a down hill runner who has moves that would make Barry Sanders proud.
Jan 24, 2015; Mobile, AL, USA; North squad running back David Cobb of Minnesota (37) carries against the South squad during the third quarter of the Senior Bowl at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. The North squad defeated the South squad 34-13. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
David Cobb, Minnesota’s 5’11” 229 pound running back got in the most work. He had 11 carries for 78 yards and a touchdown. He also had 2 receptions in which he earned 16 yards.
The thing that is intriguing about Cobb is his low center of gravity, he is hard to find behind offensive linemen and when he is found, he is hard to tackle. He reminds me of a bulkier Ray Rice.
Whenever you have great production from running backs, there are great battles won by the offensive linemen. This should intrigue fans of the New York Giants to know that there are so many good linemen prospects. It further adds to my argument that the Giants should not spend the 9th overall selection on an offensive tackle…but that is a conversation for a different day.
Three linemen stood out on the North team this year. Donavan Smith, from Penn State turned heads all week. It seemed in watching the NFL Network broadcast that Mike Mayock could not stop talking about the 6’6″ 341 pound tackle from the Big 10.
It is easy to see why when you watch Smith. He has everything you look for physically and he handled the top defensive linemen smoothly during the game. I love his footwork and his ability to drop his hips and take on the bull rush.
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The other two linemen that impressed me from the North squad were Laken Tomlinson and Rob Havenstein. Tomlinson is a guard from Duke. I was impressed with his pass protection skills. He handled quick inside moves like a pro and he showed exemplary strength.
Havenstein is a really good run blocker as is just about every prospect from Wisconsin. Last year the Baltimore Ravens had to turn to a young right tackle from Wisconsin, Ricky Wagner. Wagner, who reminds me of Havenstein, quickly became one of the best right tackles in the league. Havenstein, however is a bit bigger.
From the South, I really liked what I saw from La’el Collins. Collins is the athletically gifted tackle from LSU. Collins showed to be more athletic than I had thought. I think if he goes to a team that uses zone blocking, the team will love to run behind him. Collins is 6’5″ and can kick slide out to fend off quick pass rushers off the edge.
The draft is less than 100 days away. The Senior Bowl, a huge aide in preparing for the 2015 NFL Draft is over. For more about the draft and everything relating to the Giants, keep coming to GMenHQ.com for all your football needs. Also, please download the FanSided application to get all our updates directly to your smartphone or tablet!