2009 Senior Bowl Confirmations and Surprises by Sigmund Bloom on 01/27/09 Even though it rained once again during the Senior Bowl, we still got a good look at the players we watched all week. Here are the players that confirmed that what we saw in practices was not an illusion, and the players who surprised us during the game for reasons both good and bad: Confirmations Rhett Bomar (QB-Sam Houston State) - Just like in practice, Bomar flashed some great raw tools, and some things he needs to improve before he can be a viable NFL starting QB. Bomar’s arm strength and quick, compact release were NFL ready, but his erratic accuracy reared its ugly head on short and long throws, and he gave defenders easy plays when he stared down his target. He also coughed up a fumble in his own end zone that resulted in a TD for the South. Andre Brown (RB-NC State) - Brown’s surprising burst showed on his 33 yard catch and run, and he showed the ability to become a power back with a good nose for the end zone on his TD run. Rashad Jennings (RB-Liberty) - Jennings showed us the same things that stood out all week in practice - running with a good initial burst for a 234 pound back, and good feet through the hole. He fought off William Moore’s tackle on one play, showing a more physical side to his game and definitely left open the possibility of moving into the top 100 picks in April. Mike Wallace (WR-Ole Miss) - Wallace put a punctuation mark on a week that showed he belonged with this level of competition after a late call-up to the Senior Bowl. He flashed outstanding deep speed on his long TD catch that he slowed down to haul in. He flew past DeAngelo Smith, who is not exactly sluggish, although he wasn’t the fastest corner at the game either. Wallace also used that great speed to track down Kory Sheets on his long kick return. Juaquin Iglesias (WR-Oklahoma) - Iglesias capped off a good week with the best performance of any wideout in the game. He got open with his excellent quickness and burst in and out of his breaks, and always secured the catch with good hands. Iglesias was elusive after the catch and continued the momentum he had built with better and better practices each day in Mobile. Phil Loadholt (OT-Oklahoma) - Loadholt unfortunately did not surprise us by turning around a week that saw him beaten way too easily around the edge against speed rushers. He couldn’t move with Robert Ayers among others, and left his QB running for his life more than once. Peria Jerry (DT-Ole Miss) - Any time there was a pileup in the backfield during South practices, you could be sure Peria Jerry was at the center of it during practices, and he was disruptive again during the game, defeating his blocker easily to record one sack and finding a loose ball in the end zone for the game’s only defensive TD. Jerry will be coveted by any teams looking for a one gap defensive tackle in the first round. Tyrone McKenzie (LB-South Florida) - McKenzie’s excellent instincts and ability to diagnose the play and shoot the gap vs. the run were responsible for multiple plays, something that happened consistently during practices. McKenzie also drove well on the ball in flight when he was in coverage and sacrificed his body to fill the hole when necessary. Scott McKillop (LB-Pittsburgh) - McKillop wasn’t quite as dynamic or playing downhill as well as McKenzie, but he was patient vs. the run, flowing to the play and saving the defense a ton of yards with his sure tackling. Ellis Lankster (CB-West Virginia) - Lankster might have surprised some viewers with his excellent play vs. the run and pass, but we saw signs of it all week in Mobile. He flew in like a heat seeking missile on run plays, and showed terrific fight on his interception - taking the ball away from Brian Robiskie despite giving up a significant height advantage to him. Surprises Pat White (QB-West Virginia) - White flourished when the bullets were flying. His deep ball TD to Mike Wallace was a little underthrown, but still good enough, and he used his excellent athleticism to make a few plays on the run. His deficiencies were not as apparent as they were in drills that isolated specific QB skills, although he didn’t put much touch on one screen pass. White looked comfortable in the pocket and looked the best of the QBs when throwing on the run, which was not a surprise. White will have to provide value as a special teams player to make a team, but his performance increased the chances that his career as a QB stays alive at least a little longer. Graham Harrell (QB-Texas Tech) - Maybe Harrell’s lack of arm strength was not surprising, but we were shocked at how glaring it was during the game. He was well short on many throws and looked like Colt Brennan did last year, except Brennan had the excuse of losing 20+ pounds because of a bout with the flu. Harrell found ways to mask his arm strength issues in practice, but the game exposed this major problem with his game. Cedric Peerman (RB-Virginia) - Peerman’s hard charging style looked a lot better during the game than it did in the week of practices. He bounced off of contact and broke tackles - something he couldn’t do in the low-impact practices. He ducked under one would-be tackler and ran downhill with good body lean. His small (7 7/8”) hands might prove to be a problem at the next level, although we also give Rey Maualuga a lot of credit for a good strip on Peerman’s fumble. Robert Ayers (DE-Tennessee) - Ayers motor and excellent push did not surprise us, but his speed around the edge did. He did not look like one of the better speed rushers in Mobile until the lights were on. Ayers devastated Nathan Brown and shared the sack that resulted in a TD with Corvey Irvin. Ayers was named outstanding defensive player of the game for his efforts. Mitch King (DT-Iowa) - King’s great motor and quickness off the snap popped at times in practice, but the problems of being a relatively light defensive tackle showed a lot more during one on ones in the pit than they did in the game. King spent a lot of the game in the South backfield and defeated Eric Wood with surprising power that we did not see during the practices. Alphonso Smith (CB-Wake Forest) - We weren’t surprised one bit when Smith jumped a route to get a shot at a pick six, but we doubt you’ll see him drop many opportunities that easy in the NFL. He’s a gambler, but he’ll hit the jackpot when he’s right.