Red Zone

Senior Bowl winners: Pitt’s Aaron Donald, Auburn’s Dee Ford dominate

Updated: 2014-01-30T19:51:36Z


The Kansas City Star

With the NFL Combine only three weeks away, it’s time to officially put a bow on the Senior Bowl.

To do that, I asked Rob Rang of, Mark Dulgerian of and Shane Hallam of to assess the week's winners and losers.

Because the scouting process is so objective, I kept track of how many votes each player received and included a telling quote from one of the analysts.

Here’s part one, which will assess the players who improved their stock. Part two, which will assess the players who stock went down, will post Thursday morning.


Three votes

• Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh, defensive tackle: “One AFC scout couldn't stop raving about him,” Dulgerian said. “He's a three-technique but e can play the fifth-technique as well. He's pretty versatile.”

• Dee Ford, Auburn, outside linebacker: “He was one of the most explosive athletes out there,” Dulgerian said.

Two votes

• Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois, quarterback: “His first two days were very impressive and considering the momentum he built at the East-West Shrine Game, you have to mention him,” Rang said.

• Zack Martin, Notre Dame, offensive tackle: “He had a really good week, overall,” Dulgerian said.

One vote

• Walt Aikens, Liberty, cornerback. “He's very athletic, he handled the jump in competition pretty well, he has good size and all three days, he was very competitive,” Rang said. “I wouldn't say he stood out, but the fact he hasn't stood out is one of the best compliments I can give him. He was in the receivers' face every snap.”

• Antonio Anderson, Western Kentucky, running back: “He looked good in everything, especially pass protection drills,” Dulgerian said.

• Chris Borland, Wisconsin, linebacker: “Zach Thomas is an easier comparison. It helps (Atlanta Falcons coach) Mike Smith compared him to Zach. But you could also throw London Fletcher in there.”

• DeAndre Coleman, Cal, defensive tackle: “I thought he was really impressive from the three-tech but did some things that made me think he could play the one-tech or a zero-tech in a 3-4. He has powerful upper body strength, so it's about marrying the upper bowl with the lower body.

• Pierre Desir, Lindenwood, cornerback: “He's a guy the scouts were impressed with,” Dulgerian said. “He seemed more polished than some of the other guys in press technique and he looked like he belonged.”

• Josh Huff, Oregon, receiver: “He got separation every time I watched him,” Hallam said.

• Marqueston Huff, Wyoming, cornerback: “He was the most fluid corner on the North squad,”Rang said. “For a guy who played so much safety, I wouldn’t expect that. He allowed some receptions but was always close to the ball. I was impressed with him, he’s a true cover guy.

• Morgan Moses, Virginia, offensive tackle: “He was at left tackle most of the time and was efficient,” Dulgerian said “He held up well during team sessions.”

• Weston Richburg, Colorado State, center: “He looked like the best center down here,” Hallam said. “He held his own against some of the best defensive linemen on his team.

• Jimmie Ward, Northern Illinois, safety: “I saw the versatility,” Rang said. “They used him as a single-high free safety and he showed good range to the sidelines. He showed ability against the run and pass, dropped down as a nickel corner and was used as a traditional strong safety and took on blocks. He showed he might just be the best safety here.”

• Jaylen Watkins, Florida, cornerback: “A big winner,” Hallam said. “He might be the third Florida corner taken in the draft but I think he weighed in well and was blanketing receivers consistently this week.”

To reach Terez A. Paylor, call 816-234-4489 or send email to Follow him at

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