The truth about the 70th rendition of the Reese’s Senior Bowl can be simplified down to one team being more physically violent, dominant, and enjoying doing it. The North, coached by Jon Gruden and the Oakland Raiders staff, pulled off a 34-24 victory over Kyle Shanahan’s South Team and the San Francisco 49ers coaching staff.
Five unsung heroes of the Senior Bowl
Chuma Edoga, LT, USC
Beau Benzschawel, OG, Wisconsin
Garrett Bradbury, C, NC State
Chris Lindstrom, OG, Boston College
Dalton Risner, OT, Kansas State
Everyone will point to the stats of the skill positions and what a tremendous day some of those players had. In truth none of what they did would be possible without the tremendous job Raiders offensive line coach Tom Cable did with them.
The North offensive line gave up one sack to the South’s Jaylon Ferguson, and it was more of a coverage sack where North quarterback Daniel Jones held onto the ball too long. As a whole the offensive line allowed a single sack and 2 QB hits all game long.
In addition to providing time in the pocket for all the quarterbacks, they plowed straight thru the South to amass 179 yards rushing and 3 TDs on 32 carries, averaging an astounding 5.6 yards/carry.
Edoga deserves to be highlighted. He was grown man beasting on everything that came his way. He was ready for war and he brought it play after play against everyone.
Edoga showed up against first round product Montez Sweat. Edoga consistently got great depth on his kickstep and smoothly kept Sweat and all other edge rushers at bay, while using their momentum to push them past the qb. What was most impressive about that rep was watching Edoga keeping superb balance and body control and walling off the spin move before Sweat could come back to the inside.
On the wide receiver screen pass to Andy Isabella you see the linebacker enter the picture slightly and then a big blur comes through and knocks the linebacker back out of the frame. Edoga got on his horse and made a beautiful impact block springing Isabella for the score.
A few others who raised their draft stock: Terry McLaurin, Hunter Renfrow, Dontavious Russell, Keelan Doss, and Charles Umenihu.
Four biggest disappointments
Will Grier, QB, West Virginia
Grier just wasn’t very impressive. He went 4/8 for 61 yards and he also threw up a couple of Hail Marys which fell woefully short of the end zone. He ought to be buying Hunter Renfrow’s lunch for the rest of the week because the former centerfielder swooped in to save his bacon with multiple 50/50 (and that’s generous) highpoint catches.
Gardner Minshew, QB, Washington State
The stache,’ Minshew, came in too full of energy and too hyped up and had probably his poorest showing of his senior season. Minshew would finish 1/8 for 4 yards passing, with 1 rush for 0 yards. It wasn’t as though he didn't have time, he came in juiced up he looked to me to be loose with his throwing motion and the ball sailed on him multiple times.
Deebo Samuels, WR, South Carolina
Deebo Samuels is the perfect example of why you need accuracy at the qb position because he didn’t have it and he suffered because of it.
Samuels has the size, the speed, the crispness in his breaks and was a practice hero all week long. Personally, he was my favorite receiver over Isabella in practice and I expected him to ball out. Samuels did in fact win his routes, he caught the first pass of the game, a slant from Grier for 15 yards and it looked like it was about to be business as usual.
Then inexplicably, the next 6 targets coming his way from both Grier and Minshew were so uncatchable, I believe he only got a hand on one of them. It had to be disappointing for him because he was legitimately open with a healthy amount of separation on every target.
Trace McSorley, QB, Penn State
McSorley, wasn’t sharp. He took care of the football which is important, but past that he showed enough to tease a coach but didn’t deliver the goods.
In the redzone, he missed a throw to his tight end on a corner route. The coverage was decent but his man was open. In his last padded practice he didn’t even make that read. The tight end was so open Gruden immediately brought it to his attention.
On the very next play, McSorley dropped back to pass. He surveyed the field didn’t like what he had and took off. He made it to about the 4-or-5-yard-line and was presented with a decision; Defenders were closing in on him and he could play it safe and live for another down, or take a chance and leap for glory. He went with the safer option and did a half dive/barrel roll at the 3-yard-line. That decision to play it safe was a negative 4-point play. On the next play, a designed run, it was stopped well short of the end zone forcing a field goal.
There was also a play action pass he missed in the middle of the field to a wide open crosser was just egregious. No pressure, feet set and just delivered a dud.
Three offensive weapons who made impression at Senior Bowl