NCAA

Players With The Most To Lose At The Senior Bowl

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It is a noble endeavor to travel down to Mobile, Alabama and compete in front of NFL media, coaches, scouts and executives, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t some inherent risk that comes with the territory. For a majority of the players, the risk doesn’t outweigh the reward, which means they should be there ready to compete.

Nonetheless, the weight of risk and reward isn’t as clear for some players, especially the ones who are projected to go in the first round. There is a risk of injury or the risk of not playing well in an unfamiliar environment. Whatever the reason, the decision to come to the Senior Bowl isn’t as cut and dry as some make it out to be.

Here are a few players who may regret taking their talents to Mobile.

Reggie Ragland, Alabama, Linebacker

Reggie Ragland is probably the highest rated player participating in the Senior Bowl festivities. He is trending as a top-15 pick and he is universally lauded for his skill set and play demeanor. Even though he will likely earn bonus points with teams for showing the willingness to get out there and compete, he could see a considerable drop if things don’t go his way.

The Alabama linebacker’s biggest question mark has to do with his coverage ability. In coverage situations, Alabama had Ragland to get after the passer or spy the quarterback, he was rarely used how a linebacker is traditionally utilized on nickel situations. Therefore, most evaluators will be looking extremely closely as to how well Ragland does in the coverage drills and when he makes his drops during the scrimmages and game.

If Ragland proves that he is inept in coverage, his stock could tumble quickly. The NFL doesn’t pick off-ball linebackers who can’t cover in the first round and this could lead to Ragland falling all the way to day-two.

Carson Wentz, North Dakota State, Quarterback

Carson Wentz is an interesting case because he is one of the players how has the most to gain and one of the players who has the most to lose at the Senior Bowl. Wentz is considered a top-50 prospect in the draft community, but his draft stock could either rise significantly or fall off the edge. If he does well, Wentz could potentially rise to becoming a top-five pick, if he doesn’t, he could fall all the way to late day two or early day three.

Because he played at a small school in the FCS, Wentz has yet to showcase the ability to play against the best competition. He hasn’t shown that he can compete when his process has to be consistently sped up and when the defenders are some of the best athletes in the world.

The North Dakota State quarterback needs to prove that he can be more consistent with his drops and consistently make good decisions. Furthermore, he needs to show that his arm is as good as advertised. If Wentz is wildly inaccurate and showcases a ton of problems or he shrinks against the top competition, he could be regretting his decision to accept the Senior Bowl invite.

Jarran Reed, Alabama, Defensive Tackle

Typically, defensive linemen who are great pass-rushers are the players who stand out at the Senior Bowl. They dominate the pit drills, or one-on-one pass-rush drills, and they receive the rave reviews from everyone in attendance.

Alabama’s Jarran Reed isn’t one of those players as he is strictly a gap eating run stuffer and a dominant one at that. The mammoth defensive tackle does his best work in game situations where he can eat up blocks and allow his teammates to make plays. This is great in a game setting, but it doesn’t do much when he is going to be asked to be an offensive lineman and get in the backfield.

Ultimately, you may hear about Reed getting negative reviews about his inability to get pressure on the quarterback or his inability to use a plethora of pass-rush moves, which may lead to him sliding in the draft a bit more than he should.


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