The Senior Bowl begins this week, with practises starting on Tuesday. The event has really grown in reputation recently. Top prospects want to go and compete, show what they can do and make an impression.
Here’s this week’s schedule (all times are CT):
13:00 – 14:30 (SOUTH)
15:00 – 4:300 (NORTH)
12:30 – 14:30 (NORTH)
15:00 – 17:00 (SOUTH)
12:30 – 14:30 (NORTH)
15:00 – 17:00 (SOUTH)
Kick off 13:00
The Seahawks pay a lot of attention to the week in Mobile. In 2015 Tyler Lockett was fantastic. That clearly had an impact on Seattle’s move to trade up for him. Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner, Richard Sherman and K.J. Wright all competed at the Senior Bowl.
Last year, L.J. Collier, Marquise Blair and Gary Jennings all attended. Deebo Samuel and Terry McLaurin stood out and it’s no surprise both players had strong rookie seasons. Tytus Howard and Kaleb McGary propelled themselves into round one contention and several other players really enhanced their stock.
This is a key week. Future Seahawks players will be in Mobile. This is the first big event of a crucial off-season.
So what can we expect?
The South roster is loaded although it’s a shame that South Carolina’s Bryan Edwards and LSU’s Rashard Lawrence and Kristian Fulton are unable to attend.
The big thing for the Seahawks is clearly the trenches. I’d recommend watching the receivers because it’s such a strong class and it’s very likely they’ll draft a wide out at some point (probably in the first three rounds). However, their top priorities are elsewhere.
They might have to solve their key defensive needs in free agency because it’s not a great pass rush draft. It’s still worth watching the D-line groups to see who stands out. Equally, they might need to make savings elsewhere if they spend a lot of cap money on the defense. That could mean needing to reinforce the offensive line via the draft — of which there are multiple top prospects working out in Mobile.
I’ve re-posted our podcast with Senior Bowl Executive Director Jim Nagy at the top of the article. I also wanted to highlight a specific set of quotes.
The best bit of practise is definitely the 1v1 drills between the O-line and D-line. Here, Jim talks us through what scouts look for and offers an interesting insight into what drew the Seahawks initially to L.J. Collier:
When a guy has really heavy hands, whether it’s an O-lineman or a D-lineman, when he places his hands on someone, sometimes you can hear it. When you’re just watching tape you don’t get that stuff.
A lot of it is the mental make-up of a guy and the competitiveness and the mental toughness and you see a guy when he gets beat… and those O-line/D-line drills, they’re designed for the D-line to win. If you’re an O-lineman and you’re locking people up all week — that’s really hard to do. Guys are going to lose. They always take two reps back-to-back and you want to see body language and you want to see a guys face, check their facial expression and how they bounce back in that second rep and how do they battle?
Who’s getting after it? Who’s talking junk and who’s really competitive? I can use this example last year. L.J. Collier the Seahawks first round pick, that’s when Seattle really started to buy into L.J. was down here in Mobile — he was so competitive. Just getting after people. Not running his mouth, just being confident. That’s what Seattle looked for. They want alpha males. They want guys that get after people and have some dog in them and I remember last year L.J. was just getting after the offensive line group and Tom Cable stepped in and said something to him and he barked at Tom Cable and it was awesome. The Seattle guys were all looking at each other like, ‘this guy’s barking at Cable’.
Look out for the alpha’s on the field this week in Mobile.
Here’s a few notes on some of the key players attending the Senior Bowl…
Lamar Jackson (CB, Nebraska)
A 6-3, 215lbs cornerback and former four-star recruit. He jumped a 36-inch vertical at SPARQ. Looks stiff in coverage so needs a good showing in Mobile to convince teams he has a future at corner at the next level.
Ashtyn Davis (S, California)
A former All-American hurdler who won the Pac-12 110m title by clocking a 13.50. He’s a great athlete and might even run in the 4.3/4.4 range at the combine. I thought his performance’s mixed between passive and bad.
Neville Gallimore (DT, Oklahoma)
Canadian lineman who dropped about 25lbs before the 2019 season. He can bench 500lbs and squat 800lbs. Reportedly he can run a 4.76 forty at 305lbs.
Leki Fotu (DT, Utah)
He was graded highly by PFF for his run defense (83.8) and he’s said to be a great athlete. However, teams are reportedly concerned by his willingness to flip the on/off switch.
Josh Uche (LB, Michigan)
Undersized SAM linebacker who had success as a pass rusher in 2019. Some people have gone OTT on Uche and it’s hard to imagine him as anything other than a situational rusher at the next level. That said, this is a good platform for him to excel and he should have a good week.
Bradlee Anae (DE, Utah)
His tape wasn’t particularly exciting and there have to be some concerns about his upside. This is a week for pass-rusher’s to come in and make a name for themselves. Let’s see if he can show something.
Nick Harris (C, Washington)
He’s not the biggest lineman at 6-1 and 302lbs but it simply doesn’t matter. When you watch him play his tenacity, power and intensity jumps off the screen. He was the best performer on the Washington line. He scored a respectable 90.6 at SPARQ.
Ben Brederson (G, Michigan)
PFF rated him as college football’s best pass-protecting guard. In 451 pass-protection snaps he allowed just seven hurries with no QB hits or sacks allowed. He’s a former four-star recruit who received interest from Alabama and Auburn before opting to go to Michigan.
Zack Baun (LB, Wisconsin)
Similar to Uche in that he gets a lot of love for his pass-rushing but at the next level he’ll likely be a SAM or 3-4 OLB and he’ll possibly only rush in certain situations.
Trey Adams (T, Washington)
He has first round talent and a first round frame. Injuries are the big issue here. The medical checks will likely determine his stock. A good Senior Bowl won’t hurt though.
Jordan Love (QB, Utah State)
He had a pretty horrible 2019 season and this is an opportunity to regain some momentum. Josh Allen propelled himself into the top-10 with a great week in Mobile. We’ll see if Love can do the same. He has first round potential.
Michael Pittman Jr (WR, USC)
He’s a bigger receiver and will be competing in the 2020 draft against quicker, more sudden wide-outs. He needs to show he can create easy separation and not need everything to be contested.
K.J. Hill (WR, Ohio State)
A 126.3 SPARQ athlete thanks mainly to his 3.93 short shuttle, Hill has the short-area quickness to be a real pain in coverage but he can also be inconsistent. He’ll need to show he has long-speed at the combine too.
Jabari Zuniga (DE, Florida)
Had an injury-ravaged 2019 season. He’s 6-4, 265lbs but apparently has 7.5% body fat. He can bench 460lbs and is expected to manage 30 reps at 225lbs. Reportedly capable of a 7.03 three-cone. One to watch if he lasts in the draft.
Javon Kinlaw (DT, South Carolina)
One of the stars of the 2020 draft. Big, explosive, powerful, quick. He’s a disruptive force who can play inside/out and does his best work ploughing through interior linemen to collapse the pocket. A clear top-10 talent.
Raekwon Davis (DT, Alabama)
He hasn’t really taken a step forward in the last two years at Alabama but he’s still a 6-7, 305lbs monster who could really rise up the board with a big week in Mobile. He needs to play tough, win his reps and flash a mean streak.
Darrell Taylor (DE, Tennessee)
He’s had injuries and his tape was pretty mediocre. Yet there’s said to be athletic potential here so let’s see how he performs in the drills.
Jonathan Greenard (DE, Florida)
Had a terrific season at Florida, played through injuries and put up big numbers. However, reportedly he’s not expected to test well at all. Let’s see if he can flash a burst in the 1v1 drills.
Terrell Lewis (DE, Alabama)
Clearly talented but the injuries have taken a toll. He looks the part but health will always temper his stock. Let’s see if he can build momentum this off-season starting in Mobile. It’ll also be interesting to see his measurements.
Logan Stenberg (G, Kentucky)
He’s a pancake machine who dominates opponents with extreme physicality. He’s a punishing finisher and will hammer opponents to the turf, judo-toss them to the ground or plough them off the LOS. One to watch.
John Simpson (G, Clemson)
Very athletic and was even gifted an opportunity to score a rushing touchdown at Clemson. However, his feet are very busy and sometimes he tries to do too much. There’s a lot of athletic upside here though.
Lloyd Cushenberry (C, LSU)
A recent addition following LSU’s National Championship success. He’s steady away if fairly unspectacular. He’s competing against some really good center’s in this draft so needs a good week.
Prince Tega Wanogho (T, Auburn)
From Nigeria and a three-year starter. He’s 6-7 and 315lbs and can bench press 415lbs plus squat 560lbs. He reportedly can run a 4.95 forty and jump a 32-inch vertical. Underrated. One to watch.
Steven Montez (QB, Colorado)
He’s really talented with a great arm, mobility and size. He’s just so inconsistent. He could make a nice developmental QB for someone if he has a strong week here and interviews well.
Jalen Hurts (QB, Oklahoma)
One of the more high-profile players at the Senior Bowl but whether he has a NFL future remains to be seen. It’s hard to gauge where his stock is. It’s a big week for him.
Justin Herbert (QB, Oregon)
I’m not sure anyone can do more than Herbert this week to improve their stock. If he delivers a strong week of football he could turn into a top-10 lock. He has the size, the arm and the innovation.
Kyle Dugger (S, Lenoir Rhyne)
Discovered by Seahawks scout Ryan Florence last March, Dugger can reportedly manage a 40-inch vertical and a 4.4 forty. He has 33 1/8 inch arms and he’s 6-1 and 218lbs. He stood out at Lenoir Rhyne (and he should do) with big hits, highly athletic plays and major special teams value as a returner.
Lamical Perine (RB, Florida)
Played well for Florida but his athletic upside is the question mark. Does a good job fighting through tackles but lacks long-speed and explosive traits.
Eno Benjamin (RB, Arizona State)
Such a fun player to watch. Benjamin is tough, gets the job done and has nifty agility highlighted by a 4.10 short shuttle at SPARQ. He should have a really strong week and a good performance in the game.
Jared Pinkney (TE, Vanderbilt)
Touted by many as a potential first rounder before the season started, Pinkney and Vanderbilt never got going in 2019. This is a chance to regain some standing.
Harrison Bryant (TE, Florida Atlantic)
Named the best run-blocking tight end in college football by PFF. FAU running backs averaged more than 2.0 yards before contact when rushing around the tight end spot this season. One to watch.
Van Jefferson (WR, Florida)
There’s definite talent here and this is a good opportunity for Jefferson. Like everyone else, he needs to show the same ability Deebo Samuel and Terry McLaurin flashed a year ago to get open and make it look easy.
Brandon Aiyuk (WR, Arizona State)
Ranked by PFF as college football’s best runner of the post-route in 2019, Aiyuk is massively underrated by the media. Jim Nagy told us in the podcast that he was being graded higher than N’Keal Harry in NFL circles. Fantastic talent.
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