These position break downs are mainly to discuss a few players at each position who helped themselves and where their draft status might end up being.
Three quarterbacks to me stood out of having any real future NFL potential, and unfortunately none of these guys will truly wow you or project to be more than average starters (if they make it there). The top QB for me was Nate Peterman from Pittsburgh, who not only I felt secured himself the top QB nod from this game, but he could make a strong case to be the 5th overall QB taken after Trubisky, Watson, Kizer, Mahomes (in some order). Peterman doesn’t have the biggest arm, and he’s more ideally suited for a WCO role that involves a lot more short and intermediate passing, but he can still make throws down the field he’s just not going to be as effective as some other QBs. What I think was clear was that Peterman had the best pocket presence and did a nice job keeping his eyes down the field when having to avoid the rush. Those traits aren’t easy to ingrain to a young QB, and a lot of times they can really hold back a quarterbacks development in the NFL. During the game (and during practice) we saw Peterman avoid multiple sacks and at times he dumped the ball off, or if nothing was open he threw it away. Those are veteran QB moves that you typically aren’t seeing from young QBs, particularly in a setting like the Senior Bowl.
Davis Webb will probably be the next quarterback from this group selected in the draft, and during the game he showed why that might be the case. Webb had a good feel for the game and he got in an early rhythm which is key for him. The coaches also allowed him to have some deep target options which allowed him to show off his strong arm, which is by far his best trait. By allowing him to take some shots down the field and Webb finally connecting on some of them, his numbers got a nice boost and for teams where arm strength is a factor, Webb likely will receive a lot of consideration. The problem with Webb is that he still needs a lot of refinement and he really lacks any sort of consistent accuracy. Could they eventually be taught to him? Maybe, but it could lead to bad production if he has to play before they are fixed.
The other quarterback who I think really showed he’s draftable is Josh Dobbs. Dobbs at times will look on and display really nice accuracy a decent arm, and mobility, but too often he disappears and he’s missing targets or his mechanics are off and the ball lacks zip. Dobbs has good size, and athleticism and is a decent project QB as there is a lot to work with. The concern though is how likely he is to reach his ceiling, combined with the lack of an elite arm could keep Dobbs 5th or 6th round selection.
While I think all the running backs here are draftable and all should have their name called on draft weekend, this is definitely not a group filled with top talent. Add in the strong underclassmen class of running backs and it’s possible that none of these backs are selected in the first two days of the draft. The back most likely to break that trend is Toledo’s RB Kareem Hunt. Hunt followed up a really strong week of practice where he showed impressive quickness, burst and receiving ability with a good game that had a couple of big runs. That should put him in the mix for a 3rd round selection, if all goes well with his Combine and Pro Day. The next backs that I think helped solidify their draft stock and could go fairly quickly after Hunt are Jamaal Williams and Corey Clement. Both are good all-around backs, but Williams probably has the best chance of the two in developing into a feature back. He runs with really good vision and deceptive speed.
There is no doubt that O.J. Howard was the star of the Senior Bowl, and despite coming in as a likely first round pick and possible top 20 selection, he helped himself this week. Not only are those things basically locks right now, but Howard could get legitimate top 10 consideration. He’s arguably the best pass catching weapon in this class and teams like the Titans (Walker is a bit older and they could go 2 TE) or Jets could definitely take a shot at him in the top 10. Howard wasn’t the only TE who really helped themselves this week, as I think Evan Engram had a nice week and showcased himself very well. He gets a lot of comps to Jordan Reed and it’s easy to understand why, but he could end up going much higher than Reed’s mid-3rd round draft selection. Engram could push for a top 50 spot as teams are looking for athletic pass catching TEs who can cause major headaches for opposing defenses.
Another TE who fits that mold is Gerald Everett from South Alabama. He’s got a few knocks on him as he has small hands and almost no function as a blocker, but his athleticism and upside will get him drafted high. Despite the smaller hands, Everett catches the ball well and some team could grab him in the top 100. The last tight end who I thought looked good this week was Toledo’s Michael Roberts. Roberts is the antithesis of Everett as he’s got great size, and he has huge hands that help him to be a pretty sure target. His athleticism isn’t great, but it’s not bad either, he’s more than just a blocking TE. It’s likely he lasts till day 3, but a team could take a shot at him in the 4th or 5th round for sure.
This was one of the better groups this week in practice and we could conceivably see 5 or 6 go in the top 100. I don’t see anyone going in the first round and even the top 50 might be a stretch, but Cooper Kupp and Zay Jones both had really good weeks and could push to go late 2nd round. Kupp is a nice route runner and showed why he’s the all-time leading receiver in the FCS. Jones’ monster Senior Bowl game (even the TDs that were called back will help his grade), coupled with a good week at practice where I thought he had the best hands on either squad, should really boost his stock. Other receivers who could crack the top 100 are Josh Reynolds, Amara Darboh, Taywan Taylor, and Ryan Switzer with Artavis Scott and possibly Jalen Robinette on the fringe. Reynolds is the best jump ball/catch radius receiver in this class, with nice (but not elite) size and speed. The knock on him, and we saw it in the game was his hands can be very inconsistent. Darboh is a really good intermediate and shorter route receiver, but he lacks long speed which could limit him. Taylor I think has the most upside of this group, but I want to see him be more consistent.
Though he won’t likely be taken in the top 5 rounds, one receiver who really impressed me was Chad Williams from Grambling. He showed from the first practice that he could win on the outside versus these bigger school defensive backs, and I thought he had a good week of practice that showed a lot to work with at the next level.
One position group that really disappointed was the offensive line. In general its a really weak year for the OL, and that was quite evident with this group at the Senior Bowl. Going into this week the best prospects looked to be T/G Forrest Lamp, G Dan Feeney, C/G Ethan Pocic, OT Antonio Garcia, T/G Taylor Moton, T Adam Bisnowaty, and T/G Dion Dawkins. Of those only Lamp Feeney and Pocic, felt like safe top 3 round talents and guys who might be able to start early in their careers. I think all three (including Lamp’s one day of practice) helped themselves down here, as did some other players like Moton and Dawkins. The biggest problem is probably the sheer lack of offensive tackle talent in this group. Even while Lamp look good at the weigh-in and at practice, it also re-affirmed that he’s not really a tackle at the next level. He came in under the typical measurements you want to see in a tackle (particularly a LT), and his best reps in practice were when he was lined up at guard. He could probably be an okay RT, but his value is definitely best on the inside. Moton and Dawkins also showed a lot of promise in practice this week, but I think they also both fit far better at guard than tackle and neither have any business of being left tackles at the next level. Tackle Adam Bisnowaty really struggled this week on the outside and his best reps were on the interior as well. Antonio Garcia was perhaps the only guy from the Senior Bowl who could go in the top 125 picks who should play tackle at the next level, but he also seemed to be over-matched due to his lack of weight and functional strength. This is not a good year for any team that needs an offensive tackle (particularly a LT) and this week at the Senior Bowl I think thinned the pool even more.