The 2011 Senior Bowl is still over two weeks away, and as such, the North and South rosters have not yet been officially announced. I've gotten several emails over the past few days asking which prospects confirmed for participation I'm keenest to see; absent of knowing who will be on Chan Gailey's South roster, I simply chose five players from the entire list of confirmed invites that most intrigue me. The more of these players that end up on the South squad, the better, in my book.
Greg McElroy, QB, Alabama. There's a lot to like about McElroy as a prospect - he's talented, he's experienced, he's won a lot of football games, and he comes from a pretty airtight, pro-style program. There's something of an "it" factor, some spunk, to McElroy as a leader and as a player. I'm quite excited that he's on the South squad (unofficially), as Gailey will get an up close look at him in a practice setting.
Luke Stocker, TE, Tennessee. He never put up big numbers at Tennessee, but he's got NFL size (6'6", 253 pounds) and a lot of talent. Buffalo badly needs a do-everything tight end that can block and catch, and I believe Stocker has that type of potential.
Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue. Possessing arguably the best motor of any defensive lineman in the country, Kerrigan has terrorized the Big Ten for three straight years, accruing 192 tackles and 32 sacks in that time frame. NFL teams will love him even more than they already do if he performs well athletically when he stands up; the more versatile the 6'4", 263-pound Kerrigan proves himself to be, the higher he'll be drafted.
Christian Ballard, DT, Iowa. I am an unabashed mega-fan of Ballard. He was never a big-play or big-numbers guy at Iowa, but he produced (93 tackles, eight sacks over the last two years) from his spot at defensive tackle. A big, tough kid, the 6'5" Ballard tips the scales at right around 300 pounds, and will be a fantastic fit as a five-technique defensive end in the 3-4 at the NFL level.
Kelvin Sheppard, ILB, LSU. Sheppard makes my short list simply because he's a tough, active inside 'backer, and the need as many of those as they can find. It's hard not to like LSU defenders - they're all cut from the same cloth, and most perform well as professionals - and Sheppard had a truly excellent senior season (118 tackles, four sacks, one interception).
Any other names you'd add to the list, Bills fans?