Senior Bowl game notes

The defensive linemen shone during the week but in the game it was a different story. There was minimal impact from the likes of Keeanu Benton and co. Instead, the O-liners blocked well and made an impression.

I really like Ole Miss’ Nick Broeker as a zone blocking guard. He has tackle experience so fits the bill for the Rams’/Seahawks’ blocking scheme. He had a so-so week of practise but in the game he stood out as one of the top performers.

Broeker combined brilliantly with Nick Saldiveri — who kicked inside to center. On their first snap together they teamed up to double-team Benton. They consistently worked together to shut down pressures, pass-off blocks and made for an excellent interior duo.

Broeker’s second snap showed off why I like him so much. He moved up to the second level, identified a linebacker to block and absolutely hammered him —- springing a huge running lane for Chris Rodriguez to break off a big gain.

On his third snap he had a 1v1 win against Benton, again creating a running lane for the back to squirt through. Before half-time the NFL Network replayed a Karl Brooks sack conceded on the left side of the line. On the right, Nick Broeker easily handled Benton initially then passed off to seal a stunting K.J. Henry. He also had a good block on Jerrod Clark on the drive.

On tape I was really impressed with Broeker and there’s something to work with here. He showed he can handle power in this game and his movement and agility skills were well highlighted at Ole Miss. He only has 32 1/4 inch arms and that might be an issue for the Seahawks. Nevertheless, I think he’s someone who can provide mid-round value as an interior lineman and I’m eager to see how he tests (and whether he can find another inch of arm length at the combine).

Cody Mauch lined up at guard and right tackle during the game but he also took some snaps at center and looked terrific. He pulled and blocked Cameron Young on a drive before half-time. He was in control and looked so comfortable at center. The smaller stature works for him there and allows Mauch to be his aggressive best. He also leverages well and was able to seamlessly switch from snapping to blocking. This looks like his position and frankly, on the back of what he showed here, he might have a serious future at center.

McClendon Curtis had a really nice play early in the game at right guard to open a running lane for Evan Hull. He also had a dominant block on the goal-line for the first touchdown of the game before half-time. Curtis had a good week and has excellent size and length (6-5, 331lbs, 35 inch arms). He’s not a tackle though. They put him at right tackle in the second half and he gave up an easy sack to Ali Gaye. Keep him inside. He has tackle size but he excels at guard.

Watching Darnell Wright get on the move on a crack toss and locate second level blocks had me dreaming about taking him as a zone guard. I think he has the mobility to do it. It’s going to be interesting to see what Seattle does at right guard. The Rams’ scheme uses lighter converted tackles at guard and they’ve had a lot of success over the years. Yet Seattle had Damien Lewis (327lbs) at left guard and Phil Haynes (322lbs) or Gabe Jackson (335lbs) at right guard. Are they just holdovers from the Mike Solari years? Will they adjust and transition? Or do they still want size at guard?

Wright is 6-5 and 342lbs.

It’d almost be a bit of a waste to kick him inside, given how well he plays the edge. But if the Seahawks are seriously on a ‘BPA’ journey after last year’s draft, then Wright would be in the mix at #20.

On a more negative note, this happened to O’Cyrus Torrence (you need to look at the second video):

That’s Ivan Pace, all 230lbs of him, dumping O’Cyrus Torrence on his backside.

The funniest thing is Torrence actually tackles the ball carrier too as he goes over.

It’s a nice moment for Pace I suppose. I think it’s more a case of this being another example of Torrence being a bit overrated. All this talk of round one has always felt a bit off for a standard guard who played all of the 2022 season with a sloppy frame. I wouldn’t expect him to test well. If that proves true, he’ll be like a lot of guards who enter the league. I’ve been grading him in the middle rounds for some time.

In the 1v1’s he got pushed backwards too often. Now there’s this play. How’s he going to handle the monsters in the NFL? He’s big and can be tricky to get around but I’m not convinced he can anchor and drive off blocks to warrant the major hype he’s getting.

On the first play of the game, Aubry Miller absolutely hammered the ball carrier after a long run. He has played with fire and intensity all week. He set the edge well against the run a couple of times. As a day three pick with at least some special teams value, he caught my eye.

Stanford receiver Michael Wilson had a good week of practise and that continued today. He gets open very easily and he’s sudden and fluid with his routes. He does fight the ball as a catcher sometimes but he’s often open so it’s not as much of a problem as it could be. He pivots to change direction wonderfully. He had a really nice grab on a wayward Jake Haener pass in the fourth quarterback — extending his arms to catch away from his body at full stretch. He scored a touchdown on a duck thrown by Haener. Wilson was the only person who adjusted to the ball which was lobbed up for grabs towards the end zone.

Evan Hull the running back from Northwestern showed good patience on a long run to start the game, then ran through contact for a second big gain on the same drive. He’s well sized, powerful and showed good awareness to make the most of a couple of runs. He has the size Seattle likes.

Fellow running back Chris Rodriguez made a great play on 3rd and 2 —- catching a ball under pressure over the middle then bouncing off a tackle to get extra yardage. He’s a physical player who consistently drives through contact.

Byron Young (Tennessee) forced a bad throw by Malik Cunningham with a good pressure on Blake Freeland, leading to a pick-six for Anthony Johnson. Freeland also gave up a sack later on to Isaiah Land.

Illinois safety Sydney Brown plays downfield nicely. He’s quick and flies to the ball. He made a great TFL late in the game, reading the play and attacking the ball-carrier.

Some key performers from the week seemingly didn’t play in the game including Keion White, Adetomiwa Adebawore, Tank Dell and Will McDonald. I didn’t see Rashee Rice or Isaiah Foskey either. In particular, I think Foskey needed to play and perform after a disappointing week.

If you missed my Senior Bowl recap video earlier, check it out here:

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  1. Derek

    Thanks Rob! I thought Lonnie Phelps Jr from Kansas played well as an edge too

    • Rob Staton

      He was very active — his lack of size likely off-putting for Seattle though (6-2, 250, 32 inch arms)

  2. cha

    I’m eager to see how he tests (and whether he can find another inch of arm length at the combine).

    How much water will he have to drink to make that happen?

    • Rob Staton

      He should grow his finger nails

      • cha

        something in your first sentence is missing. feel free to edit & delete this

  3. Erik

    Thanks for the coverage of the game and the week in general. Is it normal for the “top” senior bowl prospects to run drills during the week and bypass the game or did they all get dinged up and miss for that reason?

    • Rob Staton

      It’s not uncommon for them to think ‘job done’ at practise and miss the game

  4. Steve Nelsen

    Ejiro Evero was released as DC by Denver. He would be an excellent replacement for Seattle DC Sean Desai if he leaves for the Broncos.

    • Peter

      Have to think evero will have suitors as a DC instead of whatever desai apparently did as defensive assistant.

      Now….if they are hurtt and get a real dc that can clearly coach with limited household names I’d gladly see evero here.

      • Rob Staton

        Yeah Evero is apparently going to be the defensive coordinator in Minnesota

    • Mick

      I think this means Sean Desai will leave us. For some reason, I’m not too unhappy.

      • Rob Staton

        My worry is what if he’s actually good?

        If the defense was as shambolic as it was with a good coach, what’s it going to look like if they lose him?

        • cha

          He did have a pretty robust market.

        • Steve Nelsen

          He was highly recommended to Denver by Vic Fangio.

          Last year was basically a tryout for all the guys drafted for our 4-3 scheme to see if they could play in the new 3-4 scheme. Obviously, many of them failed their tryout. This will be an important year for talent evaluation for the front 7 rebuild.

          Brian Flores is also being considered by the teams interested in Desai. I wonder how he would get along with Pete?

          • Rob Staton

            There’s more chance of Brian from Family Guy joining the staff

            • Peter

              Rob come on man!! Its too early on the west coast.

  5. Rob Staton

    Post-Senior Bowl mock is written…

    • Seattle Person

      I have been a fan of Sydney Brown for awhile. Him and Jammie Robinson looked pretty good in coverage during the practices. I still think Brown was the better coverage safety. He was on the hip of the receiver on a lot of reps.

      I am starting to question about Skinner though. I still like him but I do wonder if the 2nd round is a little bit too rich for him. Did not look very natural in coverage and dudes got open on him way too easily. Could just be a bad week of practice. 1-1s aren’t really designed to make dudes like Skinner look good.

      Adetomiwa Adebawore is now my draft crush. Something about finding value but still a great upside player is intriguing. The #20 pick and the two 2nd rounds picks now are very interesting. So many players I want and many routes the team can go. A really good TE is at play. Someone like Dell is at play. If the CBs last til #20 then they should be considered. Ahhh! So many options!

    • Peter

      Really looking forward to it.

      You’ve presented a ton of dline names I am very intrigued by.

      I’ve cooled slightly so on White but I think his market will be pretty hot come draft time.

      One thing about the dline that broadly worries me is that the team is atrocious at developing talent on the line.

      I don’t know if they prefer veterans or if they are forced to go with veterans because they can’t coach rookies up?

      I know they’ve had Clark and Reed but I don’t count players that you can’t or won’t retain.

  6. Hawks4life

    Thank you for all the hard work and time you put into these Rob, it’s greatly appreciated!

    • Justaguy

      “Truly grateful to be on a beautiful journey of Greatness with you” Ciara to @RobStaton

  7. Zxvo3

    Rob, by any chance do you know if the Rams OL system is predicated on taking iOL with short arms? I know they like to convert tackles into guards, but does the arm length matter for them? Broeker has become my favorite lineman during this week and if arm length doesn’t matter, I will bang the drum for him to be drafted by us

    • Steve Nelsen

      If Seattle follows the Rams plan, then Jake Curhan will be first in line to replace Gabe Jackson at RG and they will draft a T to replace Curhan. Maybe they bring back Haynes for competition but they could easily see Jalen McKenzie as competition/depth.

      I think last year was evidence that Seattle will continue to follow their physical preferences when drafting OTs so I think TEF and arm length will continue to be important markers.

    • Justaguy

      This I can get onboard with. Broeker the Beast

    • Rob Staton

      I think all teams seek length on the OL

  8. Volume12

    Ivan Pace is gonna be another Malcolm Rodriguez. ‘Too small, too short,” but just makes plays. Game has changed. Dont need 240 pound thumpers @ the position anymore

    • Mick

      We know our LBs are weak in coverage, so that would be a criterion for me in bringing a new guy.

    • Rob Staton

      But he needs to be able to play like a linebacker, not the linebacker version of Jamal Adams we saw in college. Everything was attack attack attack. The scheme manufactured him production. Size does still matter at that position too for the most part because you’ve got to be able to handle everything that comes your way

      • KD

        Especially guys as big and strong as Derrick Henry

  9. Wsumojo

    Sorry to rehash the past, but can you please provide the link of the Geno story of how he would be among the league leaders in picks if passes didn’t bounce off defenders hands? Trying to use as proof against friends who believe Geno is the best QB in the league and deserves $50 mil a year. Thank you

    • GerryG

      50M? Best in the league?

      Get new friends lol

    • Peter

      There would need to be a Stephen King style event where the best qbs in the league disappeared then sure Geno would be the best.

      50 million? It’s like the russ situation plus fans cheering their heads off week one for geno because he “chose,” to play here (as opposed to this was the only place that gave him a contract) has created a brain rot.

      At the point where the team was 6-3 I was wrong as heck about him. By the time the season ended I felt like I was watching more or less the qb I thought he was.

  10. Henry Taylor

    Is it just me that feels fairly underwhelmed by the Senior Bowl class? I feel like last year there were a lot more names I was a lot more excited about coming out of the week.

    • Rob Staton

      I think it’s the draft class in general

      • Henry Taylor

        Pretty annoying timing for a down year.

        • Peter

          Agree. But I do think there’s kind of nice area where Seattle if it stays on BPA realm can really bolster the team next year and moving forward:

          Skinner at safety. Even if they carry the other two this year than the following year they could be set.

          Several interior oline prospects which we all agree is needed. And many seem to be in a good value range.

          A very interesting grouping of dline talent that has me very excited for a rebuilt front.

          Several TE’s which thinking ahead Seattle will need at least one.

          A guy like Will Macdonald. Though I’m critical of his production and some of the tape, good God we need to get away from the Irvins of the world.

          • Palatypus

            I read in the local coverage that the National team outrushed the American squad by about 180-40.


      • UkAlex6674

        Rob is this draft class going to be another ‘meat and potatos’ for the Hawks?

        • Rob Staton


  11. KD

    Off topic, but has anyone else here been watching The Last of Us on HBO? As a big fan of the video game, I was cautiously optimistic about it going in, but it has blown away my expectations and has generally been outstanding. Episode 3 was the biggest deviation from the game, but so far it has hit every major story point and is progressing right along with the game with some changes that should be expected when adapting a TV show from a video game.

    Overall, terrific show.

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