The annual Senior Bowl came to town in Mobile, AL this past week, and it was a great and pivotal time in many players’ lives. The feeling of hope was abundant around the city as many players were trying to improve their draft stock, while others were trying to make any semblance of draft stock.
Here are the winners and losers from the huge week of the Senior Bowl.
WR Van Jefferson, Florida
Talk about improving your draft stock. Florida WR Van Jefferson came in looking like a late-round prospect, but he absolutely stunned people at the combine. He looked like one of the best wide receiver prospects there.
In a deep wide receiver class, he did a great job at setting himself apart from everyone else. There’s a long way to go, but I won’t be surprised if the Florida player ends up going in the top two rounds. –Alex Seghini
Van Jefferson was the surprise of the week. This is a really deep Wide Receiver class, and I mean really deep, but he just bolted himself into the top 2-round discussion.
Coming into the week, people weren’t sure if he would even get drafted. Jefferson posted 49 catches for 657 yards and 6 touchdowns in his senior year at Florida. Jefferson has never had below 456 yards dating back to his freshman year at Ole Miss; however, he’s also never produced above 657 yards.
While the jury is still out on just how good he can be in the NFL, his crisp route running and stunning hands in Mobile this week surely improved his stock. –Steven Ammann
QB Justin Herbert, Oregon
Justin Herbert came into this week risking a whole lot. He was undoubtedly the best QB prospect in Mobile, so if he did anything less than stellar performance, he would be taking a big hit. He did a great job at rising to the occasion and absolutely blew every other quarterback out of the water.
I’m telling you now if someone tells you any QB was close to Justin Herbert last week–they’re wrong. The man was making every throw, did pretty well in the interview process, and definitely raised his already sky-high draft stock. –Alex
Herbert was the star of the week (practices and games). Not only was the best QB prospect to come to Mobile, but he was also the highest-rated player overall to choose to play in this game. He won MVP of the game on Saturday, and if they awarded practice MVPs, he would have received those as well.
On Monday, I assumed Herbert would be taken somewhere around 6th-8th overall and would be the third QB taken. After this week, I believe he could go as early as 3rd overall and the 2nd QB taken. Since the South roster was coached by the team with the number one overall pick (Cincinnati), who knows what ideas he could’ve put in their mind. –Steven
CB Darnay Holmes, UCLA
Going back to Van Jefferson, the guy that was the biggest thorn in his side throughout the week was cornerback Darnay Holmes. It seems like every rep they were matched up with one another trying to outdo each other.
Trash talking after the plays was one of the most interesting things to follow throughout the Senior Bowl. Scouts all over were loving the competitive edge. What Holmes lacks in size, he makes up for with aggressiveness. –Alex
Darnay Holmes was a surprise prospect this week. The 5’10” 198 lb. DB made noise throughout the week. He was the only person who seemed to be able to slow down the aforementioned Florida WR Van Jefferson.
He flew around all week and was very aggressive seeming to have a knack for what route the receiver would run and where the ball was at all times. The aggressiveness helped him this week; however, I’m not sure what type of NFL player he could be due to how small he is. –Steven
Small School Prospects
I’m going to wrap these guys all into one even though they probably don’t deserve to be. The small school guys absolutely shined throughout this week. They showed that their beautiful tape had nothing to do with the weaker competition they were facing throughout the season.
Guys like Safety Kyle Dugger from Lenoir-Rhyne impressed scouts everywhere and did enough to prove he’s a day two pick. South Carolina State OT Alex Taylor is a mammoth human being who uses a mixture of power and skill to win blocking assignments all over the field.
TE Adam Trautman from Dayton really looked like one of the best tight ends in the draft class this week, which is a huge uptick from what he was thought of before heading to Mobile. –Alex
The small school guys came with something to prove, and boy did they do it. Alex Taylor might be the largest human being I’ve ever met in my life (6’8” 315lbs), and he put that length and weight to good use this week.
Dayton’s Adam Trautman was the best TE on the field, and it wasn’t even particularly close. That’s a bold statement considering he was practicing alongside the #1 TE in most draft boards, and Mackey Award Winner, Harrison Bryant.
I wasn’t as impressed with Lenoir-Rhyne Safety Kyle Dugger as Alex was; however, he did go from being thought of UFA to a Day 3 pick, in my opinion. –Steven
TE Harrison Bryant, FAU
Go back to what I said about Justin Herbert. He was supposed to be the best quarterback there, and he rose to the occasion and delivered. Harrison Bryant was in a very similar position. Many thought of him as the best Tight End in the entire draft class.
He was a Mackey Award winner, but he simply did not do well this week. Coming from a C-USA school, Bryant was facing much more talented competition and just didn’t perform the way he needed to.
A little birdy told me he didn’t perform very well in the team interviews as well. He still has time to improve his stock, but he didn’t help himself this week. –Alex
Harrison Bryant came into the week with little to gain, but a lot to lose, and boy did he seem to lose it. Bryant struggled all week with his hands and route running, and he didn’t seem to be the run blocker that scouts were hoping he could be.
I’ve heard from several sources that Bryant didn’t fair well in interviews with some teams either. With that being said, I can’t base my overall opinion of Bryant on just one week, because after all, it is just one week. Though if I could, I would say things are heading in a negative direction for the FAU standout. –Steven
LB Evan Weaver, Cal
Nothing can be discounted about Evan Weaver’s work ethic or tackling abilities. The guy is a sure tackler and can stop the run. He came to Mobile to prove one thing: that he could cover the pass.
He wasn’t tasked with this too much in Cal’s defense, so he knew he had to come to adjust to the new linebacker position in the NFL. The game has turned as linebackers now need to be quick at covering routes from TEs and RBs, and he just simply looked like he couldn’t cover.
Today’s teams are looking for starting LBs who can do it all, and Evan Weaver just doesn’t seem to be that guy. –Alex
Evan Weaver was one of the more intriguing prospects at this week’s Senior Bowl in Mobile. Weaver led the country in tackles with 103; however, the California LB wasn’t asked to do too much at Cal. In a one on one interview with me, Weaver expressed that
He was most looking forward to seeing how he would fare in pass coverage since he never really had to do it in college. He struggled mightily with it, and now the question is will scouts base their grade for him off of his first week ever doing it. Only time will tell. –Steven
South Team Offensive Lineman
I think the Senior Bowl decision-makers knew what they were doing here. The South without a doubt had the better quarterbacks with Justin Herbert, Jalen Hurts, and Steven Montez. but it was obvious that their offensive line was lacking.
In practice, it seemed as though the defensive line was always getting over on the protectors in the trenches, and we saw more of that in the actual game. The North defensive line made life very hard for South Team quarterbacks mainly because there were no formidable protectors on the offensive side. Save for a few, the south team offensive lineman really did not help themselves this week. –Alex
The South team offensive line as a whole was probably the biggest disappointment of the entire Senior Bowl. Jim Nagy did a good job of making teams even by giving the South team better QBs and the North team better offensive linemen.
However, looking at the OL, you saw some big-time schools- Clemson, LSU, etc. so I don’t think they were necessarily as bad as they performed. Saying this, they were going against guys such as Javon Kinlaw and Marlon Davidson all week in practice, so maybe it was just how good the South Defensive Line was and not so much how bad the Offensive Line was. –Steven