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Donald, Ford get a 'bump' at Senior Bowl

Tue, May 27, 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%

 15 of the 17 defensive linemen that participated in Mobile were drafted with the remaining two prospects signed as free agents. Grouping the offensive and defensive linemen together, 33 of the 38 total were selected over the NFL Draft weekend, which really shows how important the 1-on-1 pass rush/pro drills are at the Reese’s Senior Bowl.

 Highest Selected                                                              

The St. Louis Rams utilized their second 1st round pick (#13 overall) on Pittsburgh DT Aaron Donald. He virtually answered every question from his ultra-successful senior season to his performance in Mobile to his workout at Indianapolis. With his skill set added to an already strong defensive line, this unit may end up being the best in the NFL across the board.

 Senior Bowl Bump                                                           

Auburn’s Dee Ford responded during the second half of his senior year, then dominated the pass rush drills in Mobile before earning game MVP honors on Saturday. The Kansas City Chiefs picked him #23 overall and he is projected as an outside linebacker in their 3-4 scheme. That transition will occur over time, but in 2014, expect to see him utilized as a situational rusher in passing situations.

 Immediate Help                                                               

The Chicago Bears were decimated by injury on the defensive side of the football last season and proved to be particularly vulnerable at the DT spots. One of their answers was drafted in the 3rd round (#82 overall) in the form of Arizona State’s Will Sutton. If the Bears can keep his weight in the 300lb or less range, he can be effective in their four-man front.

 Best Value                                                                        

The Detroit Lions made Princeton’s Caraun Reid their 5th round pick (#158 overall) and due to his athletic ability, he could find his way into the rotation as a rookie. The bigger story will be in 2015 when the Lions potentially move away from Nick Fairley because of the future they see with Reid.


The Atlanta Falcons coached the North team at the Reese’s Senior Bowl and it proved to be a valuable asset for them in evaluating Minnesota DT RaShede Hageman. They selected him in the 2nd round (#37 overall) with the anticipation that he can max out his potential under assistant coach Bryan Cox and defensive coordinator Mike Nolan.

 Others of Note                                                                 

Ten more defensive linemen were chosen during the draft including Kareem Martin/Cardinals, Will Clarke/Bengals, Justin Ellis/Raiders, DaQuan Jones/Titans, Brent Urban/Ravens, Chris Smith/Jaguars, Ed Stinson/Cardinals, IK Enemkpali/NY Jets, Daniel McCullers/Steelers and Shamar Stephen/Vikings. Both Deandre Coleman/Jaguars and James Gayle/Titans were signed as post-draft free agents.