The final all-star "draft bowl" is upon us with Saturday's Reese's Senior Bowl.
Today's game represents the final opportunity for some of the best senior prospects in the country to make an impression on scouts before the early entrants -- juniors and red-shirt sophomores -- join the fray at the NFL Scouting Combine. For those from smaller schools, it is a chance to show that they belong on the same field as players from the traditional football powerhouses. For others, it's a chance to shine when not overshadowed by their program or more highly-regarded players.
Prospects have been practicing all week, with every step and rep being examined by scouts from every franchise. After practices teams have scheduled interviews with prospects they are particularly curious to learn more about.
We know for sure that the New York Giants have had formal interviews with Alabama defensive tackle Jarran Reed and Eastern Kentucky (nee Ohio State) edge rusher Noah Spence -- who says that he has had extensive interviews regarding his past and football with all 32 teams.
The Giants have also been seen talking to Braxton Miller and Ohio State defensive tackle Adolphus Washington.
Several offensive and defensive prospects have made noise for themselves. On offense, Jason Spriggs (OT, Indiana), Cody Whitehair (OG, Kansas State), Graham Glasgow (OC, Michigan), and Jack Allen (OC Michigan State) have generated a buzz for themselves in the trenches, while Braxton Miller (WR, Ohio State) and Carson Wentz (QB North Dakota State) have stolen the show at the "skilled" positions.
On the defensive side of the ball, all the talk is about Vernon Butler (DT, Louisiana Tech [prospect profile] and Spence (EDGE, EKU), who have been virtually unblockable all week, however Carl Nassib (DE, Penn State), Austin Johnson (DT Penn State), Jarran Reed (DT, Alabama), and Sheldon Day (DE/DT, Notre Dame) have had strong weeks a well. But perhaps nobody boosted their stock as much as Illinois defensive lineman Jihad Ward, who went from being an unknown to one of the most talked about prospects in practice.
In the defensive secondary, Darian Thompson (S, Boise State), Jalen Mills (S/CB, LSU) and Eric Murray (CB, Minnesota) have all been stand-outs, and little-known Harlan Mills of Southeastern Louisiana has been getting scouts' attention as well.
Unfortunately, three players the Giants were probably hoping to see in the game, Sheldon Rankins (DT, Louisville), Joshua Perry (LB, Ohio State), and Leonte Carroo (WR, Rutgers) had to withdraw from the game after injuries sustained in practice.
Game Time: 2:30 p.m. EST
TV Schedule: NFL Network
Commentators: Andrew Siciliano (play by play), Mike Mayock, Bucky Brooks, Daniel Jeremiah (analysts)
- Post game practice re-cap at 8:00 p.m. EST on NFL Network
Use this as your open thread for the Senior Bowl, and enjoy the game!