The Senior Bowl practices are in the books, and while I won’t be staying for Saturday’s game, I figured I should dish out my thoughts on each position based what I observed during my time down in Mobile.
It was a great week for receivers, and a lot of lesser-known names at other positions were able to boost their stock with strong showings in front of NFL scouts.
Considering that over 120 different players were in attendance, I wasn’t able to reach fully formed opinions on everyone in attendance. I won’t discuss any players that I didn’t get to intently watch. Make sure to check back tomorrow afternoon for my defensive notes
Jordan Love and Justin Herbert were head and shoulders above the rest of the quarterbacks in attendance. Both should see their stock rise as a result of practice week, but their performance in Saturday’s game might be of considerable importance.
Each of Love and Herbert are naturally talented throwers, and they’re games are ideally suited for practice level throws against vanilla defenses. The main problem teams have with Love and Herbert is their processing skills, as neither is particularly adept at getting to second and third reads or scanning the field. Decision-making is the biggest question for both, and there was no way for that to be answered at the Senior Bowl.
Jalen Hurts surprisingly was awarded the top QB on the South roster by his peers, per Senior Bowl coordinator Jim Nagy. But I’m a bit surprised by that considering that Hurts’ had an uneven week as a passer.
None of the other quarterbacks looked particularly good, with the exception of a few nice plays from Anthony Gordon. Gordon has a nice arm, but his footwork needs to be rebuilt and he looks more like a project than initially anticipated.
Memphis running back Antonio Gibson is a modern pass catching back that should excite some teams looking to add an extra dynamic to their offense. He and UCLA’s Joshua Kelly were the most impressive backs at Mobile in my eyes, with each raising their stock after a multitude of solid running backs elected to go back to school.
Eno Benjamin weighed in smaller than expected and looked noticeably smaller than his peers. I expected him and Florida’s Lamical Perine to be a class above the rest of the runners in attendance, but while other runner’s like Kelly and Darius Anderson improved their stock, Benjamin’s might be falling.
The wide receivers were all the rage in Mobile, with tons of mid-round sleepers showing promise.
My favorite performance came from Florida’s Van Jefferson, who looked smooth and efficient as a route runner all week. He might be the biggest riser of the entire process.
Denzel Mims had a great showing and proved much too physical for most of the cornerbacks he faced. KJ Hill put an exclamation point on an excellent week with a one-handed circus catch on Day 3 of practice. Colin Johnson and James Proche raised their stock tremendously as well. Proche went from late-round hopeful to potential third round pick if things go well for him at the combine.
Michael Pittman Jr. sat out on day three with a foot strain, but he showed enough to solidify he stock as a Day 2 pick. It’ll be interesting to see if he’s there for the Raiders in the third round.
Chase Claypool is such a large human that some scouts in attendance were questioning if a move to tight end could be in his future. He’d need to gain 10 or 15 pounds and learn a ton of blocking techniques to do so, but Claypool could thrive in an Evan Engram or Darren Waller-type role at the NFL level.
Everything Antonio Gandy-Golden did at practice merely reaffirmed my view of him. He reminds me of N’Keal Harry before the catch, but he’s not quite as dynamic with the ball in his hands.
I was excited to see Texas A&M’s Quartney Davis in person, but was quite underwhelmed with his performance through the first two days. He bounced back with a solid showing on Day 3, but a promising chance to improve his stock was wasted this week.
Brycen Hopkins made his case to be the top tight end selected this year with a bevy of acrobatic contested catches. This tight end class isn’t nearly as good as last year’s, but Hopkins is an intriguing pass catching threat who needs to add strength and refine his run blocking.
I didn’t know much about Dayton product Adam Trautman before this week, but he was a fun watch. He was the best blocking tight end of the bunch and showed consistent hands and promising route running.
Harrison Bryant is going to be in the league for a long time. The guy isn’t all that fast and doesn’t look physically imposing, but he just gets open consistently and has soft hands. Someone is going to get a steal in Bryant in the mid-to-late rounds.
LSU’s Stephen Sullivan impressed me as well. For all the hype about Thaddeus Moss, Sullivan looked like a baller at times in Mobile. He’s a big, strong dude with long arms and showed great post-up skills on fades.
Ben Barth and Josh Jones were the biggest winners among linemen in attendance.
Bartch is a small-school prospect from St. John’s who might have boosted his stock by two or three rounds with his performance. He’s long and strong and looked equally skilled as a pass blocker and run blocker.
Meanwhile, Jones is a guy with massive potential as a long tackle with a rare combination of power and mobility. He destroyed Jason Strowbridge on one rep in particular on Day 3 that showcased both his strength and flexibility. On some media boards Jones sits as a mid-round guy, but I’d expect him to go in the late first or early second round if he puts up adequate numbers at the combine.
Lloyd Cushenberry III and Nick Harris came down to Mobile in a fight for recognition as the draft’s top center, and Cushenberry seems to have won that battle as he had a steady performance while Harris struggled.
Jonah Jackson boosted his stock and had the best performance of any guard in my eyes. Meanwhile, UCONN’s Matt Peart struggled and might be falling after getting beaten like a drum for most of the first two days of practice.
Kansas tackle Hakeem Adeniji lined up almost exclusively at guard, which makes sense since most NFL scouts apparently see him playing there at the next level. He was quite effective in pass protection this year and has some unexpected lateral agility, but he often looked lost as a run blocker on film and is more of a project at this point.