A Look Back at the NFL Draft Implications of the Senior Bowl

The Senior Bowl is one of the key moments of the NFL draft process. While it can be easy to overreact when you only get to watch a handful of players in an abbreviated scrimmage game, it’s also an excellent way to stay alert for diamonds in the rough. Additionally, this year there is a particularly interesting QB class with several Senior contenders for day 1 or 2 picks. This year’s Senior Bowl gave us an opportunity to evaluate them under similar circumstances.

Without further ado, the key scouting moments from the 2019 Senior Bowl as seen through my eyes:

FIRST QUARTER

14:55: Will Grier takes the field and completes his first pass of the day to Deebo Samuel for 15 yards. Good route and throw.

12:20: The North side is moving the ball well on the ground with Temple RB Ryquell Armstead. He has 3 carries for 21 yards.

10:20: After Wes Hills runs the ball to the goal line, Armstead caps the drive off with a strong 1 yard touchdown run. He was the most impressive player of the opening drive.

9:40: Drew Lock takes the field as the Quarterback for the South and one of the top QB prospects in this class along with Grier and Daniel Jones (who we’ll see later). His first pass is a completed play action pass to the flat.

8:15: Lock is forced to throw on 3rd and 10 but seemed to rush through his reads and missed high over the middle to end the drive.

5:30: Grier has fired several incompletions on this drive (some that were bailed out by pass interference calls) but now has a long completion on a broken play. The pass was a risky floater over the middle of the field.

4:30: Grier with another miss on a slant followed by an inaccurate pass on a screen to Hunter Renfrow of Clemson. Good grab by Renfrow, but he had nowhere to run so the North will kick a field goal.

1:09: Lock rolls right and completes again to the right flat for a first down on 4th and 4. Most of his completions coming underneath so far.

0:08: Lock ends the 1st quarter with back to back downfield misses. The drive was a mixed bag for Lock. He got the ball out quickly and made a lot of excellent underneath throws to keep the offense on schedule. At some point you do need to take a few shots downfield, however, and Lock has yet to connect on one.

SECOND QUARTER

13:40: Penn State Quarterback Trace McSorley enters the game for the North and quickly misses badly over the middle. He comes back to convert on 3rd down, however. McSorley isn’t the most physically impressive prospect, but his mental toughness and leadership are unmatched.

11:45: UC Davis WR Keelan Doss makes an excellent diving catch for a first down on a slightly off target McSorley toss. McSorley finds him again on the following play in the flat for another first down.

10:20: Karan Higdon has had several carries with nowhere to run, but he finally makes a nice cut and read for an 8 yard pickup.

7:50: The drive comes to an end on a field goal after several more bad misses from McSorley – not a great drive for him

7:30: Gardner Minshew enters at QB for the South. His first couple of throws are misses and don’t have much zip on them.

3:25: Dexter Williams drops his second pass of the day. Not good for a running back trying out for a job in the modern NFL.

3:15: As I type that Williams makes a leaping snag on a screen pass. The play is called back for holding but its good to see Williams come back with a nice grab.

2:00: Deebo Samuel has been targeted several times now but has been largely held back by inaccurate throws from his Quarterbacks.

1:54: Ryquell Armstead makes a catch on a swing pass to the flat for 4 yards and follows it up with a drop on a high throw from Gardner Minshew.

1:40: Daniel Jones enters for the North and completes his first pass over the middle. He is another of the possible 1st round quarterbacks in this game.

THIRD QUARTER

13:30: Tony Pollard out of Memphis with a big run showing excellent burst. That play was bookmarked by two strong and accurate throws by Daniel Jones.

13:00: Daniel Jones comes back with a back shoulder throw across the field. The North offense is moving.

11:54: Jones rolls out after play action again but this time it’s a bad decision and throw. Should have been intercepted, but the ball was dropped.

10:20: Jarret Stidham enters and immediately connects with Anthony Johnson for a first down on an excellent throw.

8:10: Undersized UMass receiver Andy Isabella takes a screen pass to the house after a big completion to Terry Mclaurin off a flea flicker. The North offense is rolling with Daniel Jones running things – he has led back to back touchdown drives.

4:55: Keelan Doss makes another downfield appearance this time on a throw from Ryan Finley who is now in at QB for the North.

4:15: Finley follows up the big completion with a 12 yard scramble. As we know rushing production is a fantasy goldmine at QB, but we haven’t seen much mobility from the Senior Bowl passers today despite Daniel Jones one yard rushing touchdown. Kyler Murray (who is not a Senior Bowl participant) will be our best hope for QB rushing production this year.

0:45: Ryan Finley keeping the North offense moving with several good throws. Finds Tony Pollard to the right for 6 yards on 3rd down. Pollard had a big run earlier and could be a useful 3rd down back at the next level.

FOURTH QUARTER

14:30: Tyree Jackson enters for the South and connects on a 60 yard play action bomb to Gary Jennings of West Virginia who makes a strong grab. Jackson is 6’7” with a massive arm and good mobility but scouts have questioned how consistently accurate he is.

12:10: Jackson just showcased the mobility and arm on the last two plays. A 12 yard scramble setup on a touchdown pass to Gary Jennings on an absolute bullet pass. If Jackson can settle concerns about his accuracy he is one of the highest upside passers in this years draft.

10:45: Dexter Williams starting to pile up 2nd half carries with some more hard running. He has flown under the radar of most dynasty owners so far.

9:00: Tony Isabella and Terry Mclaurin continue to impress both before and after the catch. Their testing numbers at the combine could prove to be important in determining where they stack up in a deep WR class.

7:45: Tyree Jackson misses another WVU receiver, David Sills deep then comes back to find him on the sideline on 3rd down. Sills made an excellent catch – the WVU wide receivers are looking better today than their more heralded QB Will Grier has looked.

5:45: Jackson extends a play only to be intercepted on a forced throw (In his defense, it was 4th and 12). He has shown the ups and downs he is known for today.

4:45: Tony Pollard takes another handoff and ends the run with a hard hit on a defender. He has impressed me today.

3:20: And now Pollard breaks into the secondary, makes a man miss and takes the ball into the endzone for a 21 yard TD run. His college tape is going on my must watch list.

2:00: Jackson extending the play on 4th and long yet again throws across his body to Hunter Renfrow who makes an excellent leaping grab for the first. Jackson is a rollercoaster to watch but he is at least exciting with potential. Renfrow has been reliable all day.

0:14: David Sills toe taps in the end zone for a back shoulder touchdown catch. Another good throw from Tyree Jackson.

*****

All told the Senior Bowl was a fun watch – it further confirmed much of what I already felt about this QB class, and made for a tough time evaluating WR and TE prospects. But it also gave me some names to give a more serious look to.

Here are the players I’ll be digging further into after promising Senior Bowl performances:

  • Daniel Jones, QB, Duke
  • Tony Pollard, RB, Memphis
  • Ryquell Armstead, RB, Temple
  • Tony Isabella, WR, Massachusetts
  • Keelan Davis, WR, UC Davis

 

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Eric Braun

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I grew up a die hard Washington Redskins and Penn State football fan and began playing fantasy football in 2007. I've been addicted and learning as much as I can about my favorite hobby ever since.