Every year there are dramatic risers at the Senior Bowl, from Ryan Tannehill and Von Miller in the past two years to Philip Rivers in 2004. At this level, many players have similar skills, but it takes head-to-head competition in front of the scouts for them to elevate.
One example this season might be Eric Fisher, the tackle from Central Michigan. Fisher was already tentatively projected as a first round player, particularly with blue-chip tackle prospects Taylor Lewan and Jake Matthews opting to wait until 2014. He might even have slipped down to the Rams at 16. But after a dominating day against some highly-regarded defensive end prospects in practice, Fisher's stock has bubbled up to a potential top-five pick.
With that said, though, a trio of other players are turning heads in Mobile, and may be worthy of strong consideration by the Rams.
G Larry Warford, Kentucky
6'3" 333 lbs
Warford may not be on the level of a Chance Warmack or Jonathan Cooper, but if neither player is available in round one, Warford may be a fine backup plan in round 2. He had a fantastic day of practice, working against the interior linemen of the South squad.
@ramsherd scheme versatile, able to play either side of line. Doesn't matter, he can do both— Alex Brown (@ABXXV25) January 22, 2013
This is a player that the crew at Optimum Scouting has been high on for a while, possessing the frame, strength and feet to play in any scheme. This versatility is critically important for a Paul Boudreau team, as they are known to mix man-blocking (power) and zone-blocking concepts on the same play.
CB Leon McFadden, San Diego State
5'9 3/4" 193 lbs
Your first thought, if you know nothing else about the McFadden, might be "Five foot nine? That's way too short." But Jeff Fisher has struck gold with undersized corners before, especially ones who play with great ball instincts and have a chip on their shoulders. (Exhibit A: Cortland Finnegan, 5'10" 188 lbs soaking wet; Exhibit B: Janoris Jenkins: 5'10" 193 lbs.)
I see what others were raving about with SanDiegoSt CB Leon McFadden today. Physical across route tree, times breaks/jumps very well.— Eric Galko (@OptimumScouting) January 22, 2013
According to reports, McFadden has already picked off three passes and forced a fumble in just two days of practice. His frame may make him a day three pick, but it could be a very high day three pick or even slip into the third round. With Bradley Fletcher unlikely to be re-signed, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Fisher go after a player like this.
WR Quinton "The General" Patton, Louisiana Tech
6'0" 200 lbs
It wasn't a very good day for yesterday's "watch-list" players, as Kyle Long sat out with an illness and Terrance Williams stumbled on anything that resembled a lateral cut or press coverage. However, Williams was made to look even worse by comparison to Quinton Patton, who was apparently catching everything in sight.
This is a player that I remain skeptical on. Aside from his A+ nickname, he doesn't appear to have any standout attributes; certainly not height, speed or shiftiness. While scouts are making "Greg Jennings" comparisons, I look at this tape and I see another Brandon Gibson. Jennings was a second-round pick; Gibson was available in the sixth. However, I have to admit that Gibson has been a useful player for us, and Bradford professes to love throwing to him.
Last year, Marvin Jones was a very polished route runner without a standout frame that I liked quite a lot. He fell to the fourth round, and was a great value pickup by the Bengals. If Patton is available in a similar range for the Rams, I'd take a long look.