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January 25, 2008

Senior Bowl: Keep an eye on these guys

The 59th annual Senior Bowl game is scheduled for Saturday, and organizers announced their 14th consecutive sellout for the All-Star classic.

The week of practices leading up to the game has been completed, and the final on-field test awaits for the participating players.

Of the more than 100 prospects participating in the event, here are a few players to watch this weekend. These players impressed during the week of practices, and we think they are ready to shine in game.

Frank Coyle's Players to Watch
QB Chad Henne, Michigan
BUZZ: Henne answered questions about his shoulder injury by having an impressive week of practice. He had the type of week necessary to dispel any injury concerns. He showed good mechanics, a strong arm and good decision-making skills. He delivered the ball nicely with a quick, compact release and fine velocity and accuracy. He had a week that could move him into the upper tier of quarterback prospects.

QB John David Booty, USC
BUZZ: Similar to Henne, Booty had to answer some questions about his health. He had a strong week in all respects, displaying a fast setup and the ability to make the proper read consistently. He has a smooth delivery and quick release, combined with fine accuracy and timing. He has worked well with Eddie Royal, Lavelle Hawkins and Andre Caldwell.

RB Tashard Choice, Georgia Tech
BUZZ: Choice ran hard between the tackles and showed a quick burst to the outside. He is a powerful, slashing type of runner who accelerates through the hole and combines both elusiveness and power. He is hoping to be a pro feature back, and he looks to be a good outlet receiver. He will split the workload Saturday with Jacob Hester and Rafael Little.

RB Justin Forsett, California
BUZZ: Forsett displayed explosiveness and fine vision throughout the week. He was able to consistently get to the second level and make plays. He also caught the ball well and got into his routes easily. He is well-rounded and completed a fine week of workouts. He should be ready to shine in this game. If he does, he could move into the second tier of running backs in this deep class.

RB Rafael Little, Kentucky
BUZZ: Little ran hard and showed a burst to the outside. He is a powerful, compact runner who also has some elusiveness. He will likely be a favorite outlet receiver Saturday for QB Andre' Woodson, Woodson's teammate at Kentucky.

WR Lavelle Hawkins, California
BUZZ: Hawkins performed brilliantly all week, showing explosive quickness into his routes and outstanding run-after-the catch ability. He helped his cause as much as any player at the event. He has worked well with passers Chad Henne, Joe Flacco and John David Booty. He appears ready to have a huge game as the North's No. 1 receiver.

WR DJ Hall, Alabama
BUZZ: Hall looked sharp in his routes and caught almost everything thrown his way this week. He is tough going over the middle and is difficult in matchups - especially in the red zone. His athleticism and leaping ability give him a big advantage in coverage.

WR Andre Caldwell, Florida
BUZZ: Caldwell had a very good week, showing good route running and hands. He also showed scouts he has the body control to make the tough catch. He worked well with passers Colt Brennan and Andre' Woodson in practice, and he could be the go-to receiver on passing situations Saturday.

DE Jason Jones, Eastern Michigan
BUZZ: Jones was a player we rated as one of the hidden gems at this event, and he did not disappoint. He played several positions, but performed best at end. He displayed pass-rushing talent and good skills in run support. He has a tremendous reach, which allows him to keep blockers off his body. He also has the quickness to come off the edge and pressure the passer. Jones has good footwork and is primed for a fine performance on game day.
DT Sedrick Ellis, USC
BUZZ: Ellis was one of nine USC players in attendance, and he performed like a super blue-chip prospect. He had a dominant performance and displayed explosive power on the inside. He was exceptionally quick on the snap, and got into the backfield often. He has been a top-10 prospect the entire year, and he probably moved up further off the week's effort. His versatility and production as a senior were outstanding.

LB Dan Connor, Penn State
BUZZ: Connor displayed fine fundamentals and was able to adjust quickly to a new system. He is quick to read and react, and showed he has the ability to get through traffic and finish the play. He is like a coach on the field. His instincts toughness, and athleticism give him a chance to really shine in this game.

CB Leodis McKelvin, Troy
BUZZ: McKelvin had a very strong week of practice. He is a top athlete with excellent quickness. His speed translates well to the field. He is a highly rated return specialist, and could really shine in a game where several players are not used to covering kicks. He has the talent to be a difference-maker every time he touches the ball, and he can recover quickly when playing corner.

CB Pat Lee, Auburn
BUZZ: Lee had a strong senior season and a fine week of practice. His stock is rising. Lee combines fine size and instincts with the toughness to be a good defender in run support. He faces key matchups against Lavelle Hawkins and Eddie Royal in the game, which could give him several chances to shine in coverage.

Frank Coyle is a nationally known NFL scout who publishes Draft Insiders' Digest and www.draftinsiders.com. Draft Insiders' Digest is dedicated to year-round coverage of NFL and NCAA Football. Coyle covers the NFL Draft and free agency extensively with a veteran scouting staff that provides insightful and unique information on players and team potential in the coming seasons. Draft Insiders' Digest is an extensive publication that produces more than 20 issues throughout the year, beginning with an Online Pro Prospects Preview and Fantasy Football Rankings in August and a 200-page Draft Yearbook in March.

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