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2011 Senior Bowl Recap: Christian Ponder Named MVP, Leonard Hankerson Impressive

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The 2011 Senior Bowl is now complete and it wasn't always pretty today. The South jumped out to a 17-0 lead and appeared set to roll through the North. However, the North mounted a small comeback in the third quarter that eventually fell short as they ended up losing 24-10. Christian Ponder earned MVP honors after completing 7 of 13 passes for 131 yards and two touchdowns. I'd imagine WR Leonard Hankerson received some consideration as well, but it ended up with Ponder who had some of the flashier yardage and touchdown stats.

I came into this game hoping to get a better idea of the various quarterbacks, and if I did get some clarity it's not pretty. The quarterbacks had their moments but there was a decent amount of struggles for most of them. Among some of the fan favorites, Locker struggled with accuracy issues and Ponder showed his arm strength issues. I watched the whole game but it was mostly in chunks as I was also flipping over to the AU-Lafayette basketball game on CBS College Sports TV (AU is my alma mater). How would you rank the QB performances from today?

Several non-QBs had big games, but three guys I particularly liked today were LB Von Miller, WR Leonard Hankerson RB Derek Locke. I'm sure folks have their own players they enjoyed watching today, and feel free to discuss them in the comments. Miller was all over the field today making plays. A strong Combine and/or Pro Day workout would seem likely to be enough to vault him into the top five and out of the 49ers grasp. He was all over the place and is earning himself a ton of money.

I also enjoyed what little I saw of Derrick Locke. The small but speedy running back out of Kentucky had six rushes for 35 yards and showed some solid speed throughout the week of practice. Locke didn't do much late, but early on I was impressed. Depending on what happens with Brian Westbrook, the 49ers will find themselves in the market for another running back (unless you're high on Xavier Omon). I wouldn't mind seeing them grab a speedster they can throw in the mix on occasion. Every report I read from this week was wowed by how fast he is. I don't know if he'd ever be a guy who could shoulder the entire rushing load, but in a limited role I think he could be an incredibly effective weapon. What do others think about Locke?

Leonard Hankerson had the best performance among the wide receivers today as he finished with five catches for 99 yards and a touchdown. He made some great catches in stride, but also showed an ability to adjust to some poorly thrown passes. It sounds like he had a solid week of practice and will head into next month's Combine with quite a bit of momentum. If he can put together a solid 40 time and decent work in the drills, it sounds like he'll find himself battling for solid draft position. Scouts Inc ranked him 14th among wide receivers, while Draft Tek gave him a top five ranking. I'd imagine he's approaching Draft Tek's ranking after this week more than the current Scouts Inc ranking.

Drew K will have a more thorough recap on Monday, but in the meantime, let me know who you thought helped and hurt their draft stock today.