Notes from the Senior Bowl

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The Senior Bowl took place on Saturday with the South defeating the North 20-10. The South had the better quarterbacks and were able to move the ball more efficiently. More important than who won the game is that these draft prospects put more tape together in game situations against some of the best competition college football has to offer. Here are some notes on how some of these prospects, some more highly touted than others, performed in the game.  Be sure to tweet me or leave comments below and let me know who impressed you in the Senior Bowl and who you think the Jets should target.

Note: I included guys who stood out (Either Negatively or Positively) at potential positions of need for the Jets. I also left out some of the guys who are probably off the radar for the Jets based on their needs and draft slots.

Quarterbacks

Tahj Boyd, Clemson – Boyd struggled and threw the ball all over the place. He had trouble deciding when to throw the ball with touch and when to throw a frozen rope. A badly lofted deep ball was intercepted in the first quarter and he constantly bounced balls of receivers’ chests on short routes. His height also played a role as he had several balls batted down at the line of scrimmage. He showed some good athleticism though on scrambles.

David Fales, San Jose State – Had a really solid performance. Held the ball a little too long in the pocket at times. Even with that weakness, he showed some solid Pocket Awareness and kept a few plays alive with his feet. Threw a great touchdown to Kevin Norwood on a scramble drill, but threw a pick while getting hit by Aaron Donald later.

Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois – Showed he is a quick decision maker and completes passes at a high rate on short routes with his quick release. Accuracy was a little more erratic when on the move and when throwing deep, but still showed excellent technique and footwork.

Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech – Strong arm but not very accurate down the field. He had one really bad throw on a medium range out cuts. He did look solid on some of his short routes through on screens and threaded the needle on a slant. Looked like a tackling tummy at times as he was sacked a lot.

Stephen Morris, Miami – The third of the disappointing North QBs had some accuracy problems throughout the game, missed some wide open receivers, and threw two interceptions (one was not his fault), but surprisingly looked better than Boyd and Thomas.

 

Runningbacks

James White, Wisconsin – Struggled on his first few carries on zone scheme plays. Looked like a completely different back when the North started running the power scheme plays that he mostly ran at Wisconsin. Good mix of speed/power and hit the hole hard in route to leading the game in rushing. Also added five catches in the game.

Charles Sims, West Virginia – Sims looked solid in limited touches. Not sure if he got hurt or something, but he didn’t play much. He showed good vision and showed the speed to get to the edge. He also ran the zone read really well on one carry.

Lorenzo Taliaferro, Coastal Carolina – Showed nice athleticism for a big powerful back. Dragged several defenders about 5 yards on one run. Is a little bit of an upright runner though.

David Fluellen, Toledo – Had a nice game running the ball as he showed speed and shiftiness. The broadcast team kept calling him Sims by accident, which is a hidden complement.

 

Wide Receivers

Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt – Didn’t have his name called too many times in this game. He did have a couple catches, one being a nice 33 yard haul, and certainly didn’t hurt himself in this game. He seemed to struggle a little more than expected against press coverage.

Kevin Norwood, Alabama – Was probably the best looking receiver in the game. Looked good in the screen game catching the ball and getting up field. Did a great job in scramble drill to catch touchdown from Fales. He did throw an interception on trick play.

Robert Herron, Wyoming – Showed that he is more than just slot receiver as North had him working from the outside on vertical routes. Poor QB play only led to one catch though.

Michael Campanaro, Wake Forest and Jalen Saunders, Oklahoma – Both showed tremendous quickness in space from the slot. Didn’t get much of a chance to see either work downfield. Both looked good returning punts.

Mike Davis, Texas - Looked good on a few of his routes and catches, but showed inconsistent hands in this game.

Cody Hoffman, BYU – The South kept trying to hit him deep, but could not connect despite having a step on the defender.

Jeff Janis, Saginaw Valley State – After receiving a lot of praise during the week he looked pedestrian in the game and hesitated when returning kicks.

Solomon Patton, Florida – Did not do much in the passing game, but looked really good returning kicks.

 

Tight Ends

CJ Fiedorowicz, Iowa – Was held without a catch in the game, but was really solid run blocking. He also made an impact on special teams where he had a few tackles.

Crockett Gilmore, Colorado State – Had a breakout performance in this game as he led the South in receiving and caught the first TD of the game. He also did a great job setting the edge run blocking.

Jacob Pederson, Wisconsin – Another break out performer as he led the North in receiving and blocked really well for teammate James White.

 

Offensive Line

Zack Martin, Notre Dame – If Mike Mayock was in the booth, I’m sure we would have heard a lot more about Martin, but he played a rock solid game. He was the only guy that stood a chance against Dee Ford at tackle and dominated Caraun Reid at guard.

Seantrel Henderson, Miami – Add another disappointment to the list, Henderson did not play well. His footwork looked heavy and slow as he got beat both in run and pass blocking.

Morgan Moses, Virginia – Moses flashed in this game. He showed some excellent athleticism and power in run blocking and looked solid in pass protection. He did get pushed back into the QB on one pass play though.

Jack Mewhort, Ohio State – Unfortunately had to face Dee Ford more than any other lineman and got beat often. He looked a little stiff with no bend at all, but what are you supposed to do when the DE is in the backfield by the time the ball is snapped.

Brandon Thomas, Clemson – Looked really good next to Martin at guard all day. Showed good pass pro skills from the inside.

Cyril Richardson, Baylor – Continued his disappointing week by having a bad performance in pass protection.

Billy Turner, North Dakota State - With exception of one play where he gave up a sack, Turner had an excellent game. His raw power helped him dominate at times in the run game.

 

Defensive Ends/Rush Linebackers

Dee Ford, Auburn - The MVP of the game was unstoppable rushing the passer in this game. He had two sacks and hurried the passer numerous times. He continues to be the hottest player in college football heading into draft season.

Jeremiah Attaochu, Georgia Tech and Marcus Smith, Louisville – Really didn’t make much of an impact in this game as they played out of position. Both are more of pure pass rushers and we really didn’t get a chance to see how they would compare to Ford.

Trent Murphy, Stanford – Some would call Murphy’s performance disappointing, but I think we got a better glimpse of what kind of player he is. He set the edge well, but did not show the great pass rush ability we saw at Stanford. He excelled when playing against Henderson, but may have a tough NFL transition in front of him.

Kyle Van Noy, BYU – Playmaking ability carried over to Senior Bowl. Had a big sack of Logan Thomas that forced a punt. Looked instinctive.

Michael Sam, MIssouri - I have heard people describe Sam as a guy who can be invisible at times and than make one big play. That is exactly how is Senior Bowl went. He did not play well at all for most of the game and then finally beat Billy Turner for a sack.

 

Linebackers

Telvin Smith, Florida State – Smith was all over the field and, with the exception of Ford, may have been the most active defensive player in the game. He continues to make plays despite small linebacker frame.

Christian Kirksey, Iowa – Another guy who was all over the field. He lined up in numerous spots and excelled at all of them with a nice TFL off the edge and some sound plays inside. He did struggle a little bit in the second half.

 

Cornerbacks

Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Nebraska – Lived up to the hype of practice week and looked good in coverage. Showed that he can also play some zone as he had a nice break on the ball where he almost had interception.

Pierre Desir, Lindenwood – May have had the most impressive game of the corners if he didn’t get beat by Matthews deep.  He looked good in press coverage and but came back a few plays after getting beat with a pick, something teams will definitely take notice of.

Keith McGill, Utah – The game’s tallest corner had a great game. Looked great in press and walked away from the game with an interception.

Chris Davis, Auburn – Davis continued his playmaking ways with a beautiful interception in the second half. He also looked good returning punts.

 

Safeties

Jimmie Ward, Northern Illinois – Was all over the field in this game and showed that he is the best cover safety in this game. He can line up all over the field in coverage. He flashed a similar skill set to Earl Thomas in this game.

Deone Bucannon, Washington State – Charles Davis kept calling him a “hammer” and for good reason. He was excellent in run support and delivered some big hits in this game.

 

Injured Guys I Would Have Liked to See: Josh Huff (WR, Oregon), Jared Abbrederis (WR, Wisconsin), Shaq Evans (WR, UCLA), Aaron Colvin (CB, Oklahoma), Jaylen Watkins (CB, Florida)

 

9 thoughts on “Notes from the Senior Bowl

  1. I would have added Antonio Andrews who is an all around RB that can run, catch, and block. Overall good assessment.

  2. I think you can pretty much pencil in Dee Ford to the Jags at the start of the second round. He will not fall beyond there. Do you see any scenario in which the Jets take him at #18?

    Attaochu was a linebacker in 2012(?). The position was not new to him. To me, his overall struggles in the game and during the week of practices suggest that he will struggle in his transition to the pros and that we may want to look at other alternatives for OLB in the draft.

  3. Harold: Could have included Andrews. He didn’t do too much in the game though, had one nice run but besides that was held in check. I do like him though and could be a solid back for someone in the later rounds.

    Kash: Don’t think there’s much of a chance to take Ford at 18. Only chance is if the Jets trade that first round pick and move down towards the end of first round then maybe they pull trigger. I don’t think Rex values that pure edge rusher as much as the fans do.

    If I’m not mistaken Attaochu played OLB in a 3-4 defense as a junior where he was primarily an edge rusher, in the Senior Bowl he played OLB in a 4-3. He was asked to do things at the Senior Bowl that he has never really had to do at Tech and struggled. He won’t be playing 4-3 OLB in the NFL and he got caught up in a numbers game on the South team. Give him credit for taking on something like this, but it may hurt his draft status a little bit.

  4. Pingback: Notes from the Senior Bowl | NFL News Hub

  5. You are right. But Attaochu also did not really make noise in practice, whether in scrimmages or in one-on-ones. I just expected more of somebody we might target in the draft.

    Also, I think Rex goes for smart and instinctual guys who can seamlessly move around (Wilkerson, Coples, Richardson, Davis, Allen).

  6. Andrews had a good week of practice so thought you might include him based on that.

    Kash

    I think we will be looking to trade back to the bottom of the round. We are at that place in the round where the talent is fairly equal but you can get a team that wants a certain player to trade up. We could use a TE or WR and I think we may feel confident we can get one at the bottom of the round who is NFL ready.

    I think Austin Seferian Jenkins or Allen Robinson would be players we target or maybe Dee Ford if we think he is a difference maker.

  7. We are in a very good position to trade back if there is that one last good tackle available.

    A triple win: more picks, better value for the guys we would target at the end if the round, and screwing the Miami Dolphins out of the guy they need to start rebuilding their o-line.

  8. We’ll have 12 picks. I doubt we’ll be trading back too much. The fact that we took Richardson over Star, and Floyd, along with the fact that we didn’t trade up for Geno makes me optimistic. Hopefully Id knows what he’s doing. I mean we’ll see how the draft falls. If you don’t see value then by all means trade out, but someone usually drops, and Id will snatch him up no matter the position. Ebron, Evans, Lee, Amaro. One of those guys could be there at 18. Someone the Jets have graded in the top 5 could very well be there, and someone they have graded in the 1st will be there in the 2nd. That’s the way you draft a great team for the long run. Drafting special players regardless of position. Not relying on need for this upcoming season.

  9. Speaking of guys I’d like to see, how insignificant is the “Senior ” Bowl today? Your top 11 of 12 WR’s (according to NFLDraftscout) are all underclassmen. When is the NFL going to get their heads out of a dark, stinky place and realize that this archaic institution is no longer relevant? It’s ridiculous. Who cares about seniors?
    The talent is with the underclassmen and it isn’t even close.
    Someone needs to hold practices and a game for all top prospects. Give it an all-star name or something. The Senior Bowl is for the birds.

    A shout out to TOJ for keeping us all informed on the Senior Bowl talent and their performances. Great job!

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