Senior Bowl 2011 may not have every NFL prospect. In fact, the Senior Bowl 2011 may be a rare thing nowadays, since fewer college athletes stick around for four years anymore. Yet those that do often make it to this big event in Mobile, Alabama, to improve their draft stock. With a big performance in this game, and in the practices beforehand, prospects can make a big run up or down the draft board. Therefore, the Senior Bowl 2011 will be watched very closely by many NFL franchises.
Here are, in my estimation, the five North players that Bills fans should be watching most closely this afternoon (if you're lucky enough to get NFL Network).
Cameron Jordan, DE, California (6'4", 287). Jordan made the biggest early impression of the week, dominating in the practice setting throughout all three padded practices. He was already a likely Top 15 pick, and has, at the very least, solidified his status in that territory. Jordan is big, strong, and very versatile; that versatility will make him very appealing to teams like Buffalo, who use multiple fronts defensively - Jordan wouldn't have to leave the field.
Today's Senior Bowl 2011 in Mobile will show how four years of waiting has paid off for prospects - or was not quite enough. Still, with the constant threat of a lockout, all potential draft picks aren't sure that they'll get to play in 2011, even if they get drafted. At the moment, they're still proceeding as if they will, however.
Yet the largest impact may have been made before the game. Three days of practice have helped several players rise up, while others have had their stock go down. California defensive lineman Cameron Jordan has been cited as the one to watch, and a potential top 10 pick.
Meanwhile, the Senior Bowl 2011 practices have been less kind to fellow Pac-10 prospect Jake Locker. A year ago, the Washington quarterback was projected to be a top pick. But he stayed in school and struggled during his final year - which may be a cautionary tale for Stanford's Andrew Luck.
For those who have underwhelmed so far this week, today still offers them a chance to rebound. An impressive performance in this game won't guarantee a high place in the draft, but neither will a subpar performance. Doing well would certainly build momentum for the final rush to April, although they still must prove it isn't a mirage.