Let’s start out by mentioning how well the Reese’s Senior Bowl is ran. From the practices, to interviews, to seminars, to the actual game. Everything is done so thoroughly/precise that Jim Nagy and his staff deserve to be applauded for that.
He gets the best seniors in the country and puts on a scouting clinic to help raise draft stocks of these young men, but also helps out us scouts. Whether that be at the NFL level or an up and coming analyst for a blog site, it helps every single one of us and that couldn’t be done without Jim Nagy.
With that being said this years Senior Bowl was exceptional. Especially on the defensive side of the football. They dominated this years Senior Bowl from a talent level. The defensive line unit as a whole may be the best that’s even graced its presence down in Mobile. To be completely honest though, there was talent all over the field. Below you’ll get an inside look of who were some of the biggest winners and losers were last week at the Senior Bowl.
Rachaad White (RB – Arizona State) 6’0” 210 lbs
Going into the Senior Bowl Rachaad White was viewed as a back who would possibly only get passing down snaps at the next level. After 3 days of practice and a 11 carry 52 yard performance, White may have changed the minds of many scouts dramatically. White obviously displayed his receiving skills all week, which no one was shocked by how dominate he was in that aspect, but he was able to show that he could be a bruising back as well. That mixed with his lateral agility and quick burst, he should spark some interest in teams around the NFL.
Jake Ferguson (TE – Wisconsin) 6’4” 244 lbs
For being labeled solely an “in-line” blocker, Ferguson showed off his ability to create separation and how reliable his hands are. All week in practice you could see how easily Ferguson would create room for himself to get open for his QB. He managed to do exactly that in the actual game as well finishing the day with three receptions, 62 yards and a touchdown.
Though Ferguson is one of the top blockers at his position in this draft class, he has the potential to be a QBs best friend and favorite target as well.
Christian Watson (WR – NDSU) 6’4” 211 lbs
One of the biggest high risers in the entire draft class goes to Christian Watson, and the Senior Bowl only enhanced that. He was one of the most talked about players the entire week. Probably the biggest question coming in about Watson was, could he compete with more dominate competition? Well he did exactly that. The size, athletic ability, and ability to create space was like a shiny new Ferrari. You absolutely want to acquire it.
Though he only hauled in one reception for 38 yards during the actual game, in practice all week he “shined bright like a diamond” as the famous Rihanna would say. Players from the SEC, BIG 10, BIG 12, ACC couldn’t contain him and he imposed his dominance. A big, fast receiver with Watson’s hand strength will always soar up teams draft boards and the Senior Bowl surely helped that happen for him.
Perrion Winfrey (DT – Oklahoma) 6’3” 303 lbs
Although defensive tackle was one of the strongest position at the Senior Bowl, Winfrey came out on top. He was a flat out bully all week in practice. It was almost unfair to watch him compete against the IOL every rep he took. It was easy to see he was just a tad more talented and determined that the rest of the group.
His potential as a run stuffer was well known going into the week, but I don’t think anyone really knew how well of a pass rusher he could be. He displayed a variety of counter moves that surprised many in practice during the week and especially in the game. Tallying two sacks and three TFL’s won him the MVP of the Senior Bowl.
Overall Perrion Winfrey was a top five player at Mobile last week.
Jermaine Johnson II (DE – Florida State) 6’5” 259 lbs
This kid right here opened the eyes of many NFL teams this week. Johnson was hands down the best player in Mobile and I would say there’s no contest to that.
He just looked extremely different from the rest of the pack. He had an aurora to him others didn’t. You’d watch him against the OL in aw of how powerful of a human being he was. Not only just powerful, he knew how to use his burst/speed to create that power.
He solidified his first round status after day 2, so he missed the final day of practice and the game. No one is going to see that as a negative in any way. Jermaine Johnson II is being brought up in top 10 talks now and he has the Senior Bowl and his hard work to thank for that.
Trevor Penning (OT – Northern Iowa) 6’7” 330 lbs
Hands down the nastiest offensive lineman at the Senior Bowl. That’s not a knock in any way shape or form, but actually a positive.
Penning throughout the week often finished his reps with authority and let you know he was playing until that whistle was blown. He had several defensive lineman frustrated and it showed after the play. You could see how much the offensive line coaches were loving it from the sidelines. Just an old school tackle who loves playing punishing, smash mouth football.
Penning was dominate in protecting the QB majority of the week and it has him currently on that first round radar.
Carson Strong (QB – Nevada) 6’4” 226 lbs
Strong might have hurt his stock more than any quarterback at the Senior Bowl. He came in as a potential back end first round selection, but after his week in practice and having two costly turnovers (fumble/INT) in the actual game, he could end up a late day two/early day three selection.
Strong possesses the arm talent, pocket presence and IQ to be a starting quarterback in this league, but he has his flaws and they were exposed this week. The inability to consistently throw with the correct touch on passes may be the dagger to his chances of ever being a starting QB. If he can fix that, someone may get a mid round steal, but that was yet to be shown.
Darrian Beavers (LB – Cincinnati) 6’4” 252 lbs
The Cincinnati Bearcat linebacker Darrian Beavers is known as a run stuffer LB who struggles to defend in pass coverage. He left the Senior Bowl with the exact same synopsis.
Though he had his moments, you could see the more atheltic RB’s and TE’s would have Beavers in a cyclone. Hips were extremely tight when trying to change positions, and played more high than you’d like.
As of right now Beavers project as a run stop specialist and a special teams ace going foward at the next level.
Jahan Dotson (WR – Penn State) 5’10” 175 lbs
Dotson first opted out of the Outback bowl and then decided to randomly opt out of the Senior Bowl. Not a very good look for the Penn State WR. Opting out the Outback Bowl is understandable because of potential injury in a meaningless game for Dotson, but the Senior Bowl could’ve helped solidify him as a legitimate first round selection.
The Senior Bowl doesn’t just test your on the field skills, it test for your off the field skills as well. Dotson randomly opting out could put a sour taste in a lot of teams mouths who wanted to scout the potential first round talent.
Not only did Dotson potentially hurt his draft stock, he helped guys like Christian Watson and Jalen Tolbert really show case their talents and become the spotlight of the week. Especially Watson who may have jumped Dotson in the WR rankings.
Dotson is still a talented WR with exceptional route running skills, but he was never a guarenteed first round selection, and this week really would have helped him secure that spot. To be honest, now I’m not so sure he gets selected in the first round.