A very large segment of the over 2,000 NFL Executives, League Personnel people and the media are gone by Senior Bowl gameday. Thank you football gods. There is now room to breathe for those of us that are hardcore Draftniks who stay for the actual game. And for those who say the game does not matter, I say phooey on you. When the scoreboard lights up and the zebras blow their whistles, it matters a lot. Yes, we learn more in the first 4 days of Senior Bowl Week, starting with physicals and measurements, then followed by 3 days of open practices. But the game itself is the frosting on the cake. And the taste of that frosting can make or break the taste of the entire week’s work. Some players just flat-out confirm what we saw from them in practices, while others surprise us by stepping up bigger, or fading into the scenery on game day.
In alphabetical order, let me tell you which players fell out of my Top 100 by disappointing overall. Let me say up front that no one fell further than the Top 100 to somewhere between 101-200. And with Pro Days and the Combine still to come, some might move their way right back into that Top 100. But for now, these guys disappointed enough to fall down in my rankings:
ROMEO DOUBS WR Nevada DOUBS still teeters on that 100 number, but he lives and dies with catching 50/50 balls. He just does not get separation in his routes.
DONTARIO DRUMMOND WR Ole Miss DRUMMOND can get separation, but he drops way too many throws for my taste. I honestly don’t think he knows how to position himself for the catch, while on the run. His 9 1/2″ hands are certainly large enough to corral the ball.
DANIEL FAALELE OT Minnesota He’s the biggest overall player I can ever recall in my 25 years at this venue, measuring 6’8/387. He has decent athleticism for that size, but he certainly isn’t agile enough to block out on the edge. I think he’ll be OK inside, once he gets coaching and reps on the IOL.
DERION KENDRICK CB Georgia KENDRICK has good ball skills, but he seems too afraid to lose his man to excel in press coverage. That’s a Day-3 guy to me.
ABRAHAM LUCAS OT Washington State LUCAS looked stiff, just as he had in games I watched last Fall. He weighed in at 332 lbs, and that hurt any chance he had to look quick on his feet. He needs to lose at least 20 lbs. in my eyes.
CARSON STRONG QB Nevada Despite claiming his knee was fine, and not wearing a brace in Mobile, he showed no mobility to extend plays, and surprisingly, his arm did NOT look very strong. His medical on that bad knee is going to be critical info coming out of the Combine!
SAM WILLIAMS DE/E Ole Miss SAM came into town late in the week, so had little time to fit in and show out. But he really did not flash in my eyes. He will have time to bounce back at the Combine.
BAILEY ZAPPE QB W. Kentucky We pretty much knew he had the weakest arm of the 6 guys in town, but at times it looked bad. He was lobbing mortar shells on long throws.
I still have to find time to go back to watch the game action which I recorded at home. It was an unusual game for an All-Star venue, but I can tell you from watching the action in a front row seat in the Press Box, that I have never seen such domination by the DL on both teams, and especially the Edge players, who dominated the game, which literally became a Sack-fest in the second half. There were 9 Sacks total for the game, with 8 of them by the National Squad. For most of the game, the pocket provided very little protection for any of the QB’s.
It was also the first time, to my memory, that the TE groups caught almost as many balls as the WR groups. The final score in that specific stats battle was WR/15, TE/10.
6 players recorded over 50 yards in Total Offense, but again, only 1 WR was in that group; CALVIN AUSTIN/Memphis, and 6 of those yards came on a Kick Return. The leading yardage recorder was RB ABRAM SMITH from Baylor with 67. During the 2020 season, ABRAM had been moved to LB by the coaching staff at Baylor to help their depth chart. He moved back to RB in 2021. The solid 5’11/211 ABRAM is just inches away from climbing into my Top 100 after his standout work all week in Mobile.
Biggest surprise stat of the game for me might have been Liberty QB MALIK WILLIS only recording 11 passing yards, on 2-4 coalitions. Much of that was due to poor protection, and he did gain 54 yards, running for his life.
Those of you who follow my reports for this website realize that I like to keep track of Punters & PlaceKickers in my pro prospect watching. By Wednesday, I had declared that neither PK would be drafted, nor make an NFL roster in 2022.
Conversely, I declared that both Punters would be drafted and earn NFL roster spots. Neither one of them disappointed me on game day. JORDAN STOUT/Penn State punted 4 times for a gross average of 49.5 yards with 2 inside the opponent’s 20. JAKE CAMARDA/Georgia had 6 punts and averaged 51.0 yards, none inside the 20. Neither was charged with a Touchback. A couple of smart NFL teams with Punting issues will step up to the plate and grab both of these guys by Round 4!
I guess I would be remiss if I failed to mention that the leading tackler for the game was CHAD MUMA/Wyoming with 9 total, 5 of them solo. MUMA also recorded a PBU for the Nationals. He is close to challenging DEVIN LLOYD ( A NO-SHOW) for the top LB spot in this coming Draft.
Senior Bowl Executive Director JIM NAGY had his scouting glasses on as player acceptances were being announced, and declared how impressed he was when scouting Badgers TE JAKE FERGUSON. He proclaimed that FERGUSON showed excellent hands as a receiver. JAKE lived up to that praise with almost a perfect stat day catching 3 passes, on 3 targets, for 62 yards and 1 TD. And yes, he can line up inline and block.
Perhaps the biggest money maker in town for this venue was PERRION WINFREY/DT/Oklahoma. My first eyeball pop was when measurements were announced. A guy who was listed at 283 lbs. most of his career at Oklahoma weighed in at 303 lbs. He also flashed with 10 1/4″ hands and an 85 5/8″ Wingspan at just under 6’4, with 35 1/2″ arms. He was throwing blockers around all week, and looked fit and trim for his weight. He was the Defensive MOP for the week, and recorded 5 tackles in the game, including 3 TFL, 2 of them Sacks. In my book, there should be at least 10 NFL teams looking for him to upgrade their DL group, and using a Round 1 Pick to secure him.
That’s a wrap until I watch game tape over the weekend. Then I should have a few more Senior Bowl observations to make early next week.