Every year after the Senior Bowl the question is always who made money and who lost money. I like to pick five players from each team who I think are “RISERS”. These are players who will be rising up my draft board after this week. I will also pick five players from each team who I think are “FALLERS”. These are players who will be falling down my draft board after this week.
NORTH TEAM RISERS
1 – KALEN BALLAGE/RB/ARIZONA STATE
Ballage was always a talented back but his usage at Arizona State dipped this season. This week at practice he demonstrated an ability to be successful three-down back. He excelled running routes and pass blocking. In the game, Ballage showed explosion getting to the edge. I believe he elevated himself from a day three player to day two.
2 - WILL HERNANDEZ/OG/UTEP
Hernandez is a bully. Once he gets his hands on a defender it is lights out. In the game, Hernandez was 20 yards down the field taking out defenders on a screen pass. I would not be shocked at all to see him drafted in the back end of the first round.
3 – OGBANNIA OKORONKWO/EDGE/OKLAHOMA
Okoronkwo could be this year's, Haason Reddick. He has a blistering first step and a wide array of pass rush moves. He is likely too small to be a hand in the dirt defensive end so he will have to operate in space. I saw one thing this week that makes me believe he can do this. In the pass coverage drill, I saw him more than once carry the back all the way down the field on a wheel route. If he can continue to show this ability, Okoronkwo could be selected on day two of the draft.
4 – KEMOKO TURAY/EDGE/RUTGERS
Turay burst onto the scene as a redshirt freshman with 7.5 sacks. He didn't have that many sacks combined his three years at RU. Turay was a maniac off the edge this week and weighed in with ideal size (6'4" 252). There were times in practice where he couldn't be blocked and that continued over to the game. If the light bulb has finally come on then Turay could be a valued pick in a few months.
5 – NATHAN SHEPHERD/DL/FORT HAYS STATE
When it was announced that Shepherd would be in this game I had to Google where Fort Hays State was (It is in Kansas by the way). Shepherd has an interesting story. He started at Simon Fraser (D2 school in Canada), was out of football for a couple of years, then finally landed at FHSU. Shepherd is as strong as an ox. He dominated the first two days of practice. Unfortunately, he broke a bone in his hand and had to check out of Mobile early. The impression was made, however. If he has a good combine/pro day workout, Shepherd could find his way into the Top 100 or at the very least the 4th round.
2018 Senior Bowl: Risers and Fallers (1-28-18)
NORTH TEAM FALLERS
1 – ALLEN LAZARD/WR/IOWA STATE
I was higher on Lazard before this week. After seeing him struggle to gain separation from a CB group that did not have a top-tier player in it, I have changed my tune. Lazard has a huge frame and he still will win his share of 50/50 balls. I just think of him more as a late 3/early 4th round player now.
2 – TROY FUMAGALLI/TE/WISCONSIN
I already questioned the ability of Fumagalli to block in line but I didn't question his hands. I saw way too many passes get into his chest. This is a strong TE class, especially at the top, and any little thing like this will cause him to slide several draft spots. It didn't help his cause that he had to sit out of the game.
3 – BRIAN O'NEILL/OT/PITTSBURGH
O'Neill was always going to be a project. A former basketball player and a former tight end, he still has a lot of work to do. O'Neill was beaten consistently this week by the speed guys and beaten by the power guys all the same. A team will take a shot on day two but I wouldn't advise it until day three.
4 – COLE MADISON/OG/WASHINGTON STATE
I am not going to sugar coat it. Madison was one of the worst players I saw here this week. I never saw him win a rep. I have no idea why he was here. His teammate Cody O'Connell is a superior football player in every way and should have been here.
5 – MICHAEL JOSEPH/CB/DUBUQUE
It is always a nice story when the D2 & D3 guys get a chance. Sometimes it works out like Ali Marpet a couple of years ago but Joseph was out of his league this week. He lacks top speed. Any time a receiver got by him it was all over. He couldn't recover. He was not ready for primetime. A move to free safety may be his saving grace. If not, he is not a draftable prospect for me.
I will be uploading THIRTY 2 to 3-minute interviews I was able to conduct during the week, later this week, to wrap up my coverage of the 2018 Reese’s Senior Bowl. You can look forward to a new Mock Draft after the Super Bowl, updated position rankings and a full TOP 300 Big Board. I will also start adding more DFD recipes to the DFD Cookbook soon.
Thanks for reading all of our coverage at Deep Fried Draft!
DEEP FRIED DRAFT
SOUTH TEAM FALLERS
1 –IAN THOMAS/TE/INDIANA
The hype train was running wild on Thomas coming into this week but his lapses in judgment make me think he will not be a #1 TE in the league. I also don't think his speed will be enough to make as a #1 tight end.
2 – ADAM BRENEMAN/TE/UMASS
Breneman has been injured off-and-on throughout his career and he had a chance to separate himself into the second tier of TE prospects. However, Breneman injured his hamstring on the first day of practice. Unlike Dallas Goedert, who also injured his hamstring the same day, Breneman doesn't have enough positive tape to overcome it.
3 – BRANDON PARKER/OT/NORTH CAROLINA A&T
Parker is a huge specimen of a man. Weighing in at 6'7" 303 pounds, Parker is built like you want a tackle to be. He has no bend in his knees and can't handle the speed rushers. He is a draft-and-develop type of offensive tackle that I wouldn't pick until day three.
4 – D'MONTRE WADE/CB/MURRAY STATE
Remeber what I said earlier about Michael Joseph? The same thing applies to Wade. He struggled to match up with any wide receiver during practice or in the game. Wade is undraftable to me at this time.
5 – KAMERON KELLY/CB/SAN DIEGO STATE
I really thought Kelly could play corner after watching his tape this year but it became readily evident in practice that he was a safety. He was constantly getting turned around in coverage. He looked much more comfortable at safety. Unfortunately for Kelly, I don't think he will time well enough to go in the Top 100.
SOUTH TEAM RISERS
1 – KYLE LAULETTA/QB/RICHMOND
Lauletta was the class of the South team QBs this week. He has a quick and compact release. He shows nice touch on his deep passes. I had a late round grade on him but now want to go back and watch more tape. He could be at the top in the next tier of quarterbacks.
2 – AUSTIN CORBETT/OG/NEVADA
Corbett was the starting left tackle for Nevada for the last four years. He played an amazing 97% of his team's snaps. He is a much better prospect at guard and can also play center. He played tackle this week and was outmatched there but he dominated inside. I expect to hear his name called in round 3.
3 – ISAIAH WYNN/OG/GEORGIA
Wynn was the starting left tackle for the Dawgs this year but his future is much brighter at guard. Wynn was one of the best players here this week. What was the most amazing part of it is that he played at such a high level with an injured shoulder. He didn't play in the game on Saturday. I also appreciated the fact that he, unlike his teammates had the nuts to play in this game. I think Wynn is a second round pick.
4 – DARIUS LEONARD/LB/SOUTH CAROLINA STATE
I knew very little of Leonard before this week. He got off to a slow start on Tuesday, but by the end of the Wednesday practice, he was the best coverage linebacker here. In the game on Saturday, Leonard was sideline-to-sideline, finishing with 14 tackles. The league is looking for a three-down LB like him, and if he tests well, he could be a top-100 player.
5 – ANDREW BROWN/DL/VIRGINIA
Brown was used as more of a two-gap defensive tackle at UVA and he should have been led to be able to thrive as a five-tech. He is extremely disruptive with a wide array of pass rush moves. He also holds up well against the run. I could also see him succeeding as a 43 end like the Bengals use Carlos Dunlap. The future is bright again for the former 5* high school recruit.