The draft season has really picked up steam the past week with Senior Bowl practices. The week has provided a lot of insight into who may be "NFL ready", and others who still need work to become starters as pros. Be sure to catch the game tomorrow on NFL Network, at 4 P.M. ET.
Here are some of the prospects and how they fared this week. (Also, click here to check out Nick's mid-week report.)
QB Derek Carr, Fresno State - Carr has had a steady stock for a while now, as many scouts have him as one of the first quarterbacks off the board. He did nothing to hurt his case this week to be the first quarterback taken. NFL.com's Charles Davis' believes Carr had the best week of practice at quarterback. Davis was impressed with how accurate he was in windy conditions, and also saw a strong arm from Carr. When it comes to accuracy, Carr shows a lot of promise. He can fit well in any offense, whether it is a west-coast offense, or a team that features more of a spread look. His pocket presence and athleticism should also be on display tomorrow. I expect a good game out of him.
QB Tajh Boyd, Clemson - Just like his play this season Boyd's week has been up and down. A Packers scout doesn't even think Boyd is draftable right now, while also noting he's been erratic throwing the ball. Ouch. Don't expect the 49ers to go after Boyd.
WR Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt - After an unimpressive start to the week from Matthews, he had a good Thursday practice, according to SB Nation's own Dan Kadar. Matthews was able to use his vertical ability at 6'3" to high point the ball Thursday, which is what he does best.
WR Kevin Norwood, Alabama - Another receiver that can high point the ball is Norwood. The 6'2" wideout has received praise from scouts this week for his good hands and exceptional route running. I don't see a significant difference between he and Matthews.
WR Jalen Saunders, Oklahoma - After Saunders put a hurting on Alabama in this Sugar Bowl, he came to Mobile weighing with the lowest weight. Saunders has shown incredible toughness for a player that is just 5'8" 164 pounds. He will have to do his best in a hurry to bulk up before the combine. Teams will shy away from a player with that frame. He could be a good NFL player despite these shortcomings, as Saunders is a good route runner with reliable hands. He's also not afraid to catch the ball in traffic, which he will have to do as a slot receiver.
C Travis Swanson, Arkansas - Swanson has a chance to be the first center taken in this years draft. He received generally positive comments this week.
CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Nebraska - The loss against the Seahawks showed that it is nice to have a good cornerback to high point a ball in a crucial situation. Stanley Jean-Baptiste has been compared to Richard Sherman. The comparison is not surprising, as he is a 6'3" 220 lb cornerback.
CB Keith McGill, Utah - Jean-Baptiste isn't the only tall cornerback in this game. Utah corner Keitc McGill is also 6'3" 220 lbs. Todd McShay listed Mcgill as one of the standouts at Senior Bowl practice this week (he also listed Jean-Baptiste).
DL Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh - Donald has drawn comparisons to Geno Atkins this week, and is inching his way into the first round. A good week of practices showed off his strength and quickness this week, which can be hard to find at times. Donald is agile for a defensive lineman, and that's clear with the 11 sacks and 28.5 tackles for loss he has put up this season.
S Deone Bucannon, Washington State - Bucannon is considered to be the hardest hitter in college football this season by CBS Sports Bruce Feldman. He showed off his physicality this week, while also showing good range and footwork. His stock went up this week. If the 49ers are to replace Donte Whitner, they'd be wise to find someone who hits just as hard.
S Ahmad Dixon, Baylor - Reviews of Dixon this week have ranged from good to poor. Some believe he is stiff with his footwork, while others like his range. An assault charge this past season this year won't help his stock any, but being able to talk to NFL teams in person can always change their minds in a hurry.
Nick will give you some other prospects to look out for tomorrow. Until then, who is on your radar as a potential target for the 49ers to draft?
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