Five defensive players to watch in the 2013 Senior Bowl

Posted by Brad On January – 21 – 2013
"Margus Hunt"

Marco Garcia-USA TODAY Sports

The grandddaddy of all the pre-draft all-star games is upon us. Mobile will be taken over by NFL personnel and some of the top players in the country. The game kicks off on Saturday but the week of practices is where the rubber meets the road for these prospects.

Without Geno Smith or Matt Barkley in attendance this week, it will serve as an opportunity for others to open the eyes of QB needy teams. Those teams will be keeping a careful eye on a fairly loaded QB roster. For some of these QB’s it will be their first opportunity to throw with top level weapons and behind a solid line.

Clearly, this is a huge week for all players in attendance. But for some this a week to stand toe-to-toe with top competition. We take a look at five offensive players that could set themselves apart this week.

Margus Hunt, DE, SMU

Hunt is a flat out freak athlete. At 6-foot-8, 277 pounds Hunt turns the corner with the ability to turn speed to power in a flash. His rare athleticism is matched by his inconsistent play. Too many times, Hunt is invisible in games. The good news for Hunt is that he consistently showed up when the lights were the brightest.

I fully expect Hunt to emerge from Mobile as a winner of the week candidate. His blend of size, power, and raw talent will have scouts pining to find out more about the native Estonian. If Hunt can perform consistently this week against the likes of Lane Johnson, D.J. Fluker (if he plays), and Oday Aboushi he could compete for a spot late in day one.

Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU

Comparisons to Jason Pierre Paul have flown around when talking of BYU’s Ezekiel Ansah. I’m not in the business of making comparisons of world class athletes. What I do know is that I don’t see the “rawness” that others see with Ansah. He plays all over the field for BYU which is part of the reason he didn’t post huge sack numbers.

While he’s not a finished product from a pass rushing standpoint, the room for growth with this guy is through the ceiling. He will look to show this week that he has the instincts to play early and solidify his standing early on day one.

Ansah missed the weigh-ins as Senior Bowl representatives credited his absence due to being at the doctors. It’s not known at this point why but we will keep you updated as soon as we know.

John Simon, LB, Ohio State

Simon spent his days at OSU rotating between DT and DE. In Mobile, he will transition to his more likely NFL position of linebacker. Many teams will be interested in standing Simon up as a rush linebacker with the ability to put his hand down on an occasion.

Simon’s work ethic, leadership, and motor will make him stand out this week. If he can show the movement skills to drop into coverage he could solidify a spot on day two of the draft. It’s a huge week for Simon as he looks to rebound from a so-so senior season (by his standards).

Jordan Poyer, CB, Oregon State

After Dee Milliner comes off the board, there’s a whole slew of guys that could emerge as the second corner off the board. Johnthan Banks, Xavier Rhodes, Logan Ryan, and Poyer appear to be top bets to make the ascension. With Banks pulling out of the Senior Bowl late, Poyer is (on paper) the top corner at the event. He will be looking to prove that he can sink his hips and turn quickly enough to keep up with speedier receivers.

If Poyer has a solid week of practice, it’s conceivable that he could hear his name called late on day one. He has the ballhawking ability to be an impact player at the next level and early starter.

Sanders Commings, CB, South Carolina

Commings is a supersized corner at almost 6-foot-0 and 223 pounds. At that size, you would expect Commings to struggle with tight hips and average feet. That’s not the case. He will be looking to secure a second day grade with a strong week of practices against top competition.

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