|Texas' Marquise Goodwin proved himself to be far more than just an Olympic athlete. (US Presswire)|
As the Senior Bowl continues to grow in popularity, the number of talent evaluators traveling to Mobile, Ala., has increased as well. This fact, along with the development of social media, has contributed to a number of the standouts from this year's practices earning rave reviews before the game itself has been played.
As such, NFL Draft enthusiasts by now probably could make up a top-10 list of "Risers" from the Senior Bowl themselves even if the closest that they came to witnessing the scrimmaging came via their Twitter account. Central Michigan offensive tackle Eric Fisher, UCLA defensive end Datone Jones, Louisiana Tech's Quinton Patton and Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant are just some of the more obvious "winners." But who did NFL scouts identify as having really boosted their stock this week?
Informal polling by NFLDraftScout.com of professional talent evaluators identified several players who helped their cause. The players mentioned before certainly were among those scouts listed. But so, too, were a handful of others you perhaps haven't yet read or heard about from a dozen or more media outlets.
Players are listed alphabetically.
Marquise Goodwin, WR, Texas: Cast off as simply a "track guy" by some due to his Olympic past, Goodwin demonstrated much greater physicality and football aptitude than many expected. At just 5-feet-9 and 179 pounds, Goodwin lacks the size teams would prefer, but he showed some savvy as a route runner, caught the ball well throughout the week and, of course, is an unbelievable athlete. As Dane Brugler noted earlier in the week, Goodwin's solid showing could push the former Longhorn into the second day of the draft.
Kyle Juszczyk, FB, Harvard: The traditional lead-blocking fullback might be going the way of the dinosaurs for many teams in today's spread-heavy NFL, but scouts still appreciated the physical, no-nonsense play from Juszczyk. The solidly build 6-2, 248-pounder cleared running lanes for the North's running backs (including Dave Richard's top-ranked back from the Senior Bowl) and consistently knocked linebackers to the ground in pass protection.
David Quessenberry, OL, San Jose State: A former walk-on tight end who started the past three seasons at left tackle, Quessenberry was asked to play virtually every position up front for the North team this week. With a broad-shouldered, long-armed frame (6-5, 294 pounds) that looks capable of handling another 15 pounds with some work in an NFL weight room, he drew positive notes from scouts during Monday's weigh-in and played well throughout the week. He demonstrated athleticism, strength and the mental toughness to handle the jump in competition as well as the constant position changes. Quessenberry was one of six prospects individually highlighted by Phil Savage, the Senior Bowl's director and a former NFL general manager.
B.W. Webb, CB, William & Mary: Scouts knew Webb could cover, as he had shown quick feet, speed and route recognition on tape. Needless to say, however, the jump in competition from the Colonial Athletic Association to the Senior Bowl was significant. But Webb certainly proved up to the task. The 5-10, 183-pounder showed improved physicality in Mobile and stepped up his play against the bigger receivers he faced on the South squad, showing the feistiness necessary to make the significant jump to the NFL. Webb was among four small-school standouts highlighted by Pat Kirwan, earning a comparison to Atlanta Falcons star Asante Samuel from the former NFL coach and scout.
Brandon Williams, DT, Missouri Southern: Scouts were eager to see if the three-time DII All-American would continue his dominating run-stuffing ways vs. higher-caliber talent. While Williams won't be able to rush the passer with the consistency that he did in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Conference (school-record 27 career sacks), he showed surprising quickness for his 6-2, 341-pound frame and impressive upper-body strength. Overshadowed by more recognizable names like Kawann Short and Sylvester Williams, this Williams is the defensive tackle whose stock is ascending the quickest following an impressive week of practice.