The Senior Bowl week is one of the best weeks of the entire year for anyone in the scouting community. Everyone will be there! You obviously the best seniors in all of college, top executives, Head Coaches from NFL and college, and media members covering every aspect of the NFL Draft, including yours truly.
Getting credentials for the first time at the Senior Bowl will be fun because it’s a chance to get to see players you wouldn’t typically watch on television and get the possibility to know some of them and what they’re going through. To get an interview is a free-for-all after the practices, which means I’ll have to showcase some of the old moves to get to players like Josh Allen and other big names. Here are just some of the names on offense that will get the attention of me and likely the Jets as well.
HB Bruce Anderson, North Dakota State
North Dakota State is on the map for most people because it happens to be the school Carson Wentz attended, but they have also just won their seventh FCS Championship in the last eight years earlier this month. Anderson unfortunately didn’t participate in this one but played a vital role in getting the team to four in his career, the last two in particular. Over his career he has rushed for just about 2900 yards on a 6.1 clip, caught the ball for another 450 on only 32 receptions and had a total of 31 offensive touchdowns.
Anderson has a good build being listed at 5’11 202 and he uses it well. He can be a physical runner using a low center of gravity to bounce off tacklers. He shows that he has quick feet, looking smooth when making his cuts. His versatility to be used as a runner, receiver out of the backfield or a blocker is very enticing. When looking at the stats, it’s easy to know that. It will be important for Anderson to show that he can keep up what he’s done against a higher level than FCS.
While the Jets are connected to Le’veon Bell, they’ll likely need some depth even if they sign him. It’s possible Isaiah Crowell gets released and it wouldn’t be a great look to go into the season with Elijah McGuire and Trenton Cannon as their only depth, as they were two of the bottom three running backs in yards per carry throughout the league with at least 38 carries. Anderson might not be a number one back at the next level, but it’s not crazy to see him be the second fiddle and play a role in 2019.
WR Deebo Samuel, South Carolina
Running back is a need but with the possibility of signing a Le’veon Bell or Tevin Coleman, wide receiver may be a bigger need at the moment. If there is a wide receiver to watch it’s the senior from South Carolina. Entering the 2018 season, Samuel was recovering from a season ending fibula injury in 2017. The beginning of this last season started off a bit slow, but as the season went on he looked like the receiver everyone was hoping to see. Catching 62 passes for 882 yards and 11 touchdowns in 12 games. He’ll look to build off of this to get a chance to be a first round pick.
Samuel won’t be the biggest guy on the field at 5’11 215, but he kind of has a build of a running back which helps him after the catch, and it shows. There is a possibility he lines up outside but where he can create mismatches is lining up in the slot. He has the quickness and route running ability to create separation early on in the play. His reliable hands, understanding of finding soft spots in coverage and outstanding return ability should allow him to see the field quite early in some way.
Due to possibly being pinned as a slot receiver, that could cause him to slide a bit, maybe into the early third round? He would instantly be an upgrade over Jermaine Kearse in the offense and could be used as a gadget player from time to time if needed, like Adam Gase has utilized in Miami. The older age and injuries are concerning but with Samuel easily being a top 60 prospect, it would be hard to pass on him in the third round.
IOL Dru Samia, Oklahoma
Neither Gase or Maccagnan have put much stock into the interior offensive line, but they don’t have the option to not take it seriously. The Senior Bowl will have many prospects at the position that are draft worthy but it’s Dru Samia that gets the look here.
Samia was a part of arguably the best offensive line in college and he played a big part in that. The Sooner guard obviously doesn’t go against the best of the best on the defensive side when playing in the Big 12, but he played well for what he’s been up against. From a physical standpoint, he’ll likely be one of the smaller guards weighing under 300 pounds and seemingly shorter arms, but he has traits that look very intriguing.
On film, you can instantly tell Samia is an athlete at the position. He moves fluently when pulling and going to the second level. Being a mauler isn’t really his game, so in a power running game he will be out of his element. Watching the Alabama game, Samia did a great job in pass protection when lined up against Raekwon Davis, who will likely be a first rounder in 2020. Keeps a solid base and isn’t a waist bender, which is great because it causes linemen to get thrown off balance. In addition to all of this, he keeps his head on a swivel, showing good spatial awareness.
As of now the Jets have Spencer Long at center, Brian Winters at right guard and nobody at the left guard position. Long could possibly be gone, meaning they could need two interior linemen this offseason. If Gase and Maccagnan feel Samia can fit the offense they want, he should be a high target for them in day two.