Fri, May 30, 2014
In an effort to wrap up the 2014 edition of the Reese’s Senior Bowl, Executive Director Phil Savage has put together his “official” review of this year’s draft class on a position-by-position basis. With 20 years of National Football League experience as a coach, scout, personnel director and general manager, his comments will communicate a professional feel to the discussion of these prospects and their quest to make an impact in the NFL.
31 of 32 NFL organizations selected at least one Reese's Senior Bowl prospect this year with a total of 84 being chosen over the draft weekend. Here is a breakdown of each round and the number of prospects selected:
|1||7||7 of 32||22%|
|2||11||18 of 64||28%|
|3||19||37 of 100||37%|
|4||18||55 of 140||39%|
|5||13||69 of 175||39%|
|6||9||77 of 215||36%|
|7||7||84 of 256||33%|
2014 represented a fascinating year at the corner position. With the success of the Seattle Seahawks and their tall, long-armed perimeter defenders, everyone in the league seems drawn to those same kinds of athletes. Nine of the eleven cornerbacks in Mobile were selected over the draft weekend, once again demonstrating the importance of 1-on-1 coverage at the NFL level.
The New Orleans Saints reacted when their NFC South rivals added Mike Evans (6’5/231) and Kelvin Benjamin (6’5/238) to the already-present Julio Jones (6’3/220) and Roddy White (6’1/208) as over-sized wide receivers in the division by taking Nebraska cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste in the 2nd round (#58 overall). SJB stands 6’3/220 and jumped 41.5” in the Vertical and 10’8” in the Broad at the Combine.
Liberty’s Walt Aikens came to Mobile off the strength of an impressive performance at the Medal of Honor game in Charleston, SC and emerged as another “big” corner prospect. In addition to his football career in Lynchburg, he also played basketball and ran track for the Flames. With those impressive credentials, the Miami Dolphins made him their 4th round pick (#125 overall).
The Detroit Lions play in the pass-happy NFC North and in trying to improve their secondary, they selected Utah State CB Nevin Lawson in the 4th round (#133 overall). He has a feisty demeanor with excellent ball skills and should be able to compete for playing time as a Nickel almost immediately.
After the Cleveland Browns picked Oklahoma State CB Justin Gilbert in the 1st round, they drafted Lindenwood’s Pierre Desir in the 4th round (#127 overall) to increase their depth and versatility at the cornerback position. Desir is a perimeter defender and plays the football in the air exceptionally well. If he shows enough early, his skill set will allow the Browns to mix-and-match their cornerbacks according to opponents and situations.
Oklahoma’s Aaron Colvin suffered a torn ACL in Mobile during a non-contact Man-to-Man coverage drill, but responded to his surgery and subsequent rehab well enough for the Jacksonville Jaguars to make him their 4th round selection (#114 overall). It’s unclear as to whether he will be ready to play this season, but by 2015, he could be a potential starter for coach Gus Bradley and Co. who coached him on the South team in the Port City.
Four more cornerbacks were taken over the NFL Draft weekend, including Dontae Johnson/49ers, Keith McGill/Raiders, Jaylen Watkins/Eagles and Lavelle Westbrooks/Bengals. Qua Cox/Colts and Chris Davis/Chargers were both signed immediately following the draft.