Image Credit: Andrew Giesemann
Welcome to Zach’s Draft Corner, where it’s always amateur hour.
This was the worst Senior Bowl in awhile.
This is not to say anything about the organizers or the talent. This was strictly about the coaching. Zac Taylor was fine, but didn’t do anything special one way or another. In the game, he was extremely conservative, and ran some rather unenthusiastic practices. Matt Patricia, however, should never be allowed as a coach in Mobile again. He barely ran any one-on-one drills in practice, his energy was low, and he ran a largely unimaginative offense. The purpose of the Senior Bowl is to get as much scouting done for these players in a pro system as possible. The coaches here seem to have missed the mark.
Justin Herbert was the Best Quarterback in Mobile
This shouldn’t be a surprise when the competition included Steven Montez and Shea Patterson, but Justin Herbert sufficiently outdueled the other quarterbacks down in Mobile. Herbert may have even solidified himself as a top-10 pick, though it’s unknown whether he will be able to overcome Tua Tagovailoa as QB2. Jordan Love may have done enough to get into the first round conversation, but this week was all about Herbert.
The Run Games Excelled
Five of the six rushers averaged over 6 yards per carry in the actual Senior Bowl, and the teams decided to run a lot. Joshua Kelley was the leading rusher on the day with 15 carries for 105 yards, but Darius Anderson may have been the best back there for the modern NFL. In addition to having 7 carries for 46 yards, Anderson was also the leading receiver on the day with 2 catches for 87 yards, including a 75-yard catch and run for a touchdown. Anderson continuously showed power and balance through contact combined with breakaway speed for busting the big play. Anderson may have helped himself the most in the game itself.
The Wide Receivers Excelled… in Practice
The most productive receiver in the Senior Bowl was Quartney Davis, coming down with 4 catches for 53 yards. This just goes to show how conservative offenses were, combined with how inefficient most of the quarterbacks were. It was still great to see Van Jefferson run super crisp routes and to see Denzel Mims blow by hapless cornerbacks in practice. However, don’t go to the game if you want to evaluate any of the receivers in this class. It was rough.
The Pass Rushers had the Upper Hand on the Pass Blockers
Part of the inefficiency in the passing game was because the pass rushers excelled in this game. The North squad had a whopping 8 sacks, with the South squad bringing the game total up to 9. Bradlee Anae, Alton Robinson, and Kenny Willekes each had two sacks, making life miserable for the South quarterbacks. There has been some conversation about Robinson, particularly, saying he may be athletic but disappears on tape. Having this level of production in an all-star game will send plenty of scouts back to the tape.
The Lou Groza Award Winner was Only the Second Best Kicker in Mobile
Have to get some kicker talk in here! I may or may not be a bitter Iowa fan who thinks that Keith Duncan was cheated out of the Lou Groza Award, but actual Lou Groza award-winner Rodrigo Blankenship made two extra points, missed a 43-yard field goal, and made a 25-yarder. Meanwhile, opposing kicker Tyler Bass made 50- and 41-yard field goals, and made every extra point he attempted. Bass was the better kicker, and Blankenship should ship his award to Iowa City.
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