NCAA

Draft Blog: Post-Senior Bowl Edition

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Who Impressed During The Senior Bowl Game?

The Senior Bowl game is largely a meaningless content, which is why the majority of scouts, executives and coaches leave Mobile, Alabama before the game starts. Nevertheless, there are still a few things you can glean from the players. In fact, there were a couple of players who stood out during the game and may need a second look.

Noah Spence

You may get tired of hearing Noah Spence’s name throughout the Senior Bowl coverage, but he has been nothing short of spectacular. He used his speed off the edge to put offensive linemen on their heels, which allowed him to convert to power and beat them regularly. The Eastern Kentucky pass rusher carried over his dominant showings at practice with a great performance during the game. Spence recorded a sack and two tackles in limited opportunities as he gave NFL teams a glimpse at the type of player he can be.

Kentrell Brothers

It is difficult for a linebacker to stand out during the Senior Bowl practices because there isn’t any tackling allowed; therefore, the Senior Bowl is the first time the linebackers get to really show what they are made of. Brothers gets knocked because he doesn’t have ideal athleticism, but he may have the best instincts among linebackers in this draft. Brothers was dominant against the run as he made his way to six tackles. His lack of speed may push him out of the first round, but whoever drafts him is getting a great linebacker who will make plays for years to come.

Darian Thompson

The Boise State safety had a fantastic game in Mobile. When you look for a safety in today’s NFL, you want a player who can show range in the deep middle of the field with a sound tackling technique. Darian Thompson showed both of those traits on Saturday. He was able to show range from the hash marks and he was sound when coming up to make the tackle. The only misstep he had was when he dropped an interception, which put have put an exclamation mark on a great day. Thompson could see himself sneak into the late part of round one.

What’s Next?

Now that the Senior Bowl has come and gone, the hundreds of NFL prospect will turn their attention to getting ready for the “Underwear Olympics”, or the NFL Scouting Combine, on February 23 through February 29 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Players will do their best to improve their times in the 40-yard dash, three-cone drill and short shuttles while also trying to become more explosive for the vertical and broad jumps. These drills give us a tangible look at how athletic a player is and how that will translate to the NFL. For the most part, the NFL Scouting Combine is a small part of the evaluation process. They are just a way to eliminate prospects who don’t meet certain thresholds and to differentiate two players with very similar grades.

However, it is extremely easy to be swayed by a prospect based on their athletic measurements, which has been shown to be foolish over and over again. The combine doesn’t test a player’s processor and his ability to react to new or foreign information, which may be the most important trait you can have.

No Consensus At Quarterback

At the moment, there is a near-consensus on who the top-three quarterback prospects in the NFL draft are. Carson Wentz, Paxton Lynch and Jared Goff may be the top three quarterbacks, but the order in which they are ranked varies widely from evaluator to evaluator. Some may have Goff at the top with Wentz at the bottom or vice versa. The reason there is so much disagreement among evaluators is because all three quarterbacks are different types of players with different skill sets. Also, none of the three is a slam dunk like an Andrew Luck was a few years ago.

Over the next couple of months, you will likely see information leaked from teams with their quarterback rankings all over the board. The reason is each player fits each team’s scheme differently. One team may fit Lynch’s skill set well while Goff wouldn’t fit at all.

Whom a team decides to pick will come down to what flavor of quarterback ice cream a team likes. Want a mobile quarterback with a fearlessness when throwing the ball? Wentz would be your pick. Want an accurate quarterback who has great pocket mobility? Goff is the man for the job. Want a quarterback who has great physical tools and a ton of upside? Lynch should be the pick.

It is anybody’s guess as to how it will work out when the NFL draft rolls around, but it will be great debate up until that point.


About John Owning

John Owning

John Owning is a NFL columnist for Football Insiders. He has years of experience covering the NFL, NFL draft and NCAA football. John's work has been featured on the Bleacher Report and DraftBreakdown.com