The 2014 edition of the Senior Bowl took place on Saturday and like always, there were plenty of standouts. Some players stood out in an impressive way, others stood out in a negative way. While most people will be talking about defensive end Dee Ford and quarterbacks David Carr and Tahj Boyd performances. I am here to shine a light on two underrated NFL prospects who put on a good show at the Senior Bowl, all while improving their NFL Draft stock in the process.
Those two players being Toledo running back David Fluellen Jr. and Lindenwood cornerback Pierre Desir.
When it comes to Fluellen Jr., some analysts had doubts about whether he was truly an NFL running back and after watching him during the senior bowl and reviewing his game film, I am more convinced that he could be good running back in the NFL.
Now for those who don’t know, Fluellen Jr. was a late addition to the North roster of the Senior Bowl but he didn’t let that stop him from making an impact.
During the game, he rushed for 44 yards on eight carries, while averaging five yards per carry. While those stats may not be the most impressive it doesn’t take away from his impressive skill set. During his time on the field, he showed good quickness but he also showed good vision, hitting the right holes and accelerating up field.
He has honestly done those same things consistently at Toledo. This past season he rushed for 1,121 yards and 10 touchdowns. If you look at his entire career at Toledo, he has rushed for 3,336 and 28 touchdowns. I know he comes from the MAC (Mid-American Conference) but he truly is stud at running back and he deserves more attention.
The only issue I have with him, is the fact that he isn’t the most athletic or explosive running back but that doesn’t change the fact that he is a good running back. As I mentioned earlier, he has good vision and patience. I believe the most underrated factor about his game, is his ability to be used as receiver out of the backfield. He has good hands for running back and does a good job of making plays after the catch, no matter where he is on the field. Most importantly, he is a tough and coach-able player, who gives his all every practice and every game.
Just like I mentioned earlier, Fluellen Jr. wasn’t the only underrated prospect putting on a show at the 2014 Senior Bowl. Lindenwood cornerback Pierre Desir also performed at a high level and after watching his film for the second time, I am more impressed with this young man.
Now for those who don’t know, Lindenwood is a Division II school in St. Charles, Mo., and they certainly have a diamond in the rough with Desir. At 6-foot-1 and 195-pounds he has good size to succeed in the NFL but more importantly he has the skill set to be a successful cornerback in the NFL.
During his career, Desir has shown on a consistent basis that he is a very fundamental cornerback, always making a point to stay low and fluid in his stance and back pedal. Then you add that with his impressive athleticism and speed, and you have yourself a raw but impressive cornerback. However, the most important factor of his game is his great ball awareness and by great ball awareness, I mean he makes a point to turn his head, find the ball and make a play on the ball.
Now it’s still early, so I am not predicting that he will be the first cornerback taken off the NFL Draft board or anything but over the course of the draft process, I expect him to become more of popular name with NFL scouts and NFL fans.
Overall, there were plenty of impressive performances at the 2014 Senior Bowl but Fluellen Jr. and Desir stuck out to me for the reasons I said above. As I mentioned earlier, it is still early in the NFL Draft process, pro days still have to take place along with NFL combine and team interviews. So plenty of things could change for the better or for the worse for these two prospects but I personally feel they will change for the better as the NFL draft process continues. While I don’t know what round Fluellen Jr. and Desir will be selected in, there is no doubt that both Fluellen Jr. and Desir have bright futures.
Written by LBeasley (Lauren Beasley), Sports Contributor for Radio One Detroit