Senior Bowl Prospects Who are Making Themselves Money

By Lance Zierlein
January 26, 2012

Not in a big conference? The Senior Bowl lets the smaller school players shine - and these guys are earning their keep.

The phrase "he made himself some money" always pops up at the Senior Bowl and it might be cliche' but it is also true.  It seems like most of the players from big conferences who have played the best talent in the nation have already shown who and what they are and their draft grades are less likely to change drastically during the Senior Bowl.  Players from smaller school or players without the big names often find themselves garnering more attention after the Senior Bowl.

A good Senior Bowl will put a player on the map in the draft rooms and teams will begin to go back and collectively watch more tape on those players.  All of a sudden, that player becomes a hot prospect and scouts start gossiping with each other about some of the hot prospects without the marquis names.  Here are some undercover prospects who are "making money":

  1. Shea McClellin, DE/OLB, Boise State:  McClellin had 7 sacks this year for a solid Boise State defense, but what has excited teams this week is his ability to rush the passer and play with quickness and decisiveness off the edge.  McClellin might have enough lateral quickness to play in a 3-4 defense as an outside linebacker.  If McClellin has a good workout in linebacker drills at the combine or at his individual workout, he will solidify himself as a potential 3-4 prospect to go along with the 4-3 teams and that just means he'll carry a higher draft value.
  2. Kelechi Osemele, T/G, Iowa State:  Osemele is probably considered "under the radar" by fans more than draft pundits, but I've been very impressed with Osemele's ability to lock out defenders on pass protection, play with a very powerful base and play both tackle and guard positions.  When it is all said and done, I think Osemele is playing himself into a higher slot with the first round.
  3. "Bill" Bentley, CB, Louisiana Lafayette:  Bentley has shown a competitive streak and an ability to play the ball in passing drills and 7 on 7 and despite his smallish stature, plays bigger.  While Bentley won't be a first or second rounder, I do believe teams will be moving Bentley up the board from they had him coming into the game.
  4. Ladarius Green, TE, Louisiana-Lafayette:  Green is more pass catcher than true tight end, but with the success of so many pass catching tight ends over the last three years, a player like Green will be coveted by a few teams thanks to his ability to play in the slot and cause matchup problems due to his size and quickness off the snap.