With the week behind us, our recap of the best and worst from the 2020 Senior Bowl. We’ll have plenty more coverage in the coming days and weeks, including tons of interviews, and I’ll have my first Pittsburgh Steelers’ mock draft posted in the next day or two.
For now, our winners and losers from Mobile.
– Though Steelers’ fans probably won’t be paying much attention to quarterback and certainly not these two guys, Oregon’s Justin Herbert nor Utah State’s Jordan Love did anything to hurt their stock. They’ve solidified their spots behind Burrow and Tua to be the next QBs off the board. Love in particular seemed impressive with great velocity on the ball to throw between windows against zone coverage.
– The #1 player i’m having to rethink post-Senior Bowl is UCLA RB Josh Kelley. In my scouting report, I wrote that I liked him but wasn’t sure where the ceiling was at. By far, the best runner in Mobile, named the top RB for the North Side, following that up with an uber-impressive performance in-game. Back who can do it all, including showing more explosiveness than I expected, and a great guy to talk to with a story to root for. Betting he did as well in the interviews as he did on the field.
To lesser extents, I thought Florida’s Lamichal Perine and Baylor’s Jamycal Hasty were impressive too. Perine is a well-rounded back with plus patience who finishes all his runs while Hasty is just plain fun to watch in the open field. Trusting him to block is the #1 concern with him.
– Receivers had strong weeks, as we expected, especially with some of the top corners who accepted invites backing out or getting hurt. WR Denzel Mims made highlight reel plays like we expected and shows nuance as a route runner, even if he isn’t the crispest and is a bit raw in his route tree. Van Jefferson from Florida is an efficient, smart player who separates at the break point and catches the ball cleanly.
– Everyone wanted to talk to Dayton TE Adam Trautman this week. Ferocious blocker, great size, strong hands, and more explosive as a route runner than you’d expect from his frame. Ended the week on a high note.
– To the offensive line. Houston’s Josh Jones was tabbed as a mid-late round pick by the national media. That’s changing after this week. Knowing the value of offensive tackles, six went in the top 38 in last year’s draft, Jones will make a push for the first round. Plus athlete with good size and a nasty play demeanor. I’d say Jones and Trautman were the two players who saw their stocks rise the most this week.
St. John’s Ben Bartch went down with an injury late in the week and couldn’t play in Saturday’s game but proved he belongs. At 6’5, 308, size won’t be an issue either. And Michigan guard Ben Bredeson is just rock solid along the interior. Only an average athlete but plays with a great base, powerful punch and proper hand use who rarely looks overwhelmed.
But LSU guard Damien Lewis stole the show. Just a week removed from the National Title game, and hats off to all the LSU guys who competed (there were several), Lewis was one of the top five players regardless of position. Quick first step, capable of reaching linemen to cutoff the backside runs, with power, technique, and finish. Really impressive performance start to finish.
– On the other side of the trenches, South Carolina’s Javon Kinlaw was the flat out best player period before pulling out two days in with a knee injury aka I just showed y’all I can ball out. He has a great story to root for and not someone you have to worry about with his motor. North Carolina’s Jason Strowbridge isn’t a tremendous athlete but one of the strongest players who seemed to create havoc in every 1 on 1 setting. Oklahoma DT Neville Gallimore predictably dominated in one-on-ones and is a handful off the snap. Good luck trying to cut him off by a backside center/guard. Not gonna happen. He’ll thrive in a one-game scheme.
And Ohio State’s Davon Hamilton is one name Steelers’ fans should get to know. Better versus the run than Gallimore. Not quite the athlete or pass rusher but strength on his bull rush and routinely pushed centers back in the run and pass game in team drills.
– At edge rusher, Bradlee Anae (Utah) and Josh Uche (Michigan) carried over practice performances to the game. Anae is a refined pass rusher with a great plan, ability to attack half-man, while Uche is an impressive athlete with some of the best bend I’ve seen in a pass rusher in a long time. I like Uche’s versatility, playing off-ball (which he did this week) and cover backs and tight ends downfield.
– Ohio State’s Malik Harrison is an off-ball player with ball skills, recording a pick in Thursday’s practice and one in the game. You could say similar about Wyoming’s Logan Wilson. Those guys have three-down value which boosts their stock.
App State’s Akeem Davis-Gaither is undersized and lacking a true position but in today’s NFL, versatility is a plus more than a negative. He’s instinctive, athletic, and can line up all over a defense. Elevated his level of play during the week. And his draft stock.
– UCLA CB Darnay Holmes is undersized (5’10, 192) but feisty and impacts the catch point. Will fit in the slot at the next level. The Notre Dame kids, CB Troy Pride Jr. and safety Jalen Elliott, also impressed.
– Not as many losers as winners on my lists. Try to focus on how players fit, how they can win, instead of knocking them. That said, some of the low lights.
– QB Shea Patterson took a lot of heat for the week. Some of that was probably a bit hive mentality, everyone has a whipping boy at these events, but the inconsistency he struggled with in college translated to Mobile. Fair to say he was the worst QB of the group, even trailing Washington State’s Anthony Gordon and Colorado’s Steven Montez.
– Some of the offensive linemen were underwhelming too. Texas Tech’s Terence Steele got chewed out by the Bengals’ OL coach for struggling to understand drills. Things weren’t better in game. Drops his eyes/feet on his punch and was eaten alive by Anae in Saturday’s game. Will probably have to move to guard at the next level, just as former Red Raider La’Raven Clark had to do.
Clemson’s John Simpson struggled with his base, getting overextended too often, and was a false start machine, once moving too early on consecutive snaps. There’s talent there but he was one of my biggest disappointments.
– This one may irk Steelers’ fans a bit and to be fair, it isn’t all his fault. But USC WR Michael Pittman Jr. had a quiet week, ending with a right foot strain, sitting out the final day of practice and the game. As other receives stole the show, Pittman took a backseat role and I worry about his long speed.
– Here’s a list of other players who weren’t necessarily bad but ones who didn’t stand out one way or the other. Maybe I just missed them but guys I didn’t notice or even hear much about from other media in attendance.
RB Eno Benjamin – Arizona State
TE Josiah Degura – Cincinnati
CB Lamar Jackson – Nebraska
CB Essang Bassey – Wake Forest
LB Carter Coughlin – Minnesota
DL Trevon Hill – Miami (FL)
DL Josiah Coatney – Ole Miss
EDGE Darrell Taylor – Tennessee
LB TJ Brunson – North Carolina
S Antoine Brooks – Maryland