Under Armour Senior Bowl: Week in Review

With the 2008 Under Armour Senior Bowl now in the books, Scout.com's Michael Lombardo takes a look back at the week's standout moments. Find out about the unforgettable plays, the attention-grabbing performances, the noteworthy quotes, and the top sleepers who outplayed their draft projections.

Attention-grabbing performance: OT Carl Nicks, Nebraska

As a senior, Nicks started 11 games at left tackle on a line that allowed only 18 sacks on the season. He continued that impressive play at the Senior Bowl, playing on both sides of the line and showing excellent agility for a man his size (6'5", 345 pounds). It helps that Nicks has the versatility to line up at tackle or guard. His consistently solid performance had the scouts and coaches abuzz.

"He has size and he knows what to do with it," said one Cardinals coach.

Play of the week: CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Tennessee State

During Tuesday's practice, Rodgers-Cromartie dropped back to cover WR Donnie Avery during a seven-on-seven drill. Rodgers-Cromartie ran stride for stride with the speedy Avery down the left sideline, looking back for the ball as soon as Avery turned his head around. Rodgers-Cromartie saw QB Eric Ainge release the ball and was able to stop short and attack it at its highest point, nabbing an impressive pick.

"We were in a cover-3 and I had deep thirds," he explained. "I had an inside read and I saw that (Avery) was still going. When the quarterback released it, I left my man and played the ball."

That lesson came in handy on Saturday, as Rodgers-Cromartie made another leaping interception during the Senior Bowl game. He may not be drafted as high as his cousin, Antonio Cromartie (No. 19 overall in 2006), but Dominique showed the same play-making potential during his time in Mobile.


RB Rafael Little
Andy Lyons/Getty

From sleeper to keeper: RB Rafael Little, Kentucky

The aptly named Little is small (5'9", 195 pounds) but has all the necessary tools to thrive on the next level: vision, acceleration and grit. During Senior Bowl week, he showed the ability to get upfield in a hurry and make the first defender miss. He also showcased soft hands out of the backfield.

Little's draft stock plummeted over his final two seasons as he struggled with nagging injuries, a trend that continued on Saturday when he sprained the MCL in his left knee during the Senior Bowl. If he can stay healthy, he will contribute on the next level as both a running back and kick returner.

"I'm a hard-working player. I always go full speed and whatever (my team) wants me to do, I'll do it," he said.

Fight for Attention: T Heath Benedict, Newberry, vs. DL Kendall Langford, Hampton

Benedict and Langford, two small-school products, decided to grab some much needed publicity by getting into a boxing match in front of potential employers. The San Francisco 49ers coaching staff dared not intervene as Benedict and Langford exchanged haymakers for almost a minute. San Francisco coach Mike Nolan declared both fighters to be winners and losers.

"When guys are fighting about something, it means it's important to them. You don't fight over something you don't care about. So, obviously it's important," Nolan said. "The bad side of it is, when you're fighting and you've got a helmet on, you don't hit a guy in the face because you can break you're hand. If you're going to take a shot, you hit him in the gut because that's the only place where there are no pads.

"So I look at it two different ways: you're fighting, that's okay, but when you're swinging at the head I think, ‘the guy's not as smart as I'd like to think.'"

Quote to Note: RB Tashard Choice, Georgia Tech

Choice is projected to in round three or four; after piling up 2,852 rushing yards and 22 TDs during his final two seasons, he feels like he deserves better. That is why he was more excited for Senior Bowl week than any other player.

"I'm here to kill. I'm ready to kill Bill," Choice said upon arriving in Mobile. "I'm ready to go wild on the field."

Choice was largely successful in his mission, following up a strong week of practice with a nice showing in the game, where he carried seven times for 29 yards (4.1 ypc). He is a powerful between-the-tackles runner who also showed nice hands coming out of the backfield.

Michael Lombardo is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a long-time contributor to the Scout.com network.


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