The Senior Bowl is one of the biggest offseason activities for draft hopefuls trying to make their case for pro scouts. Not only do they get to show off for scouts all week, they get to meet with the coaches and personnel managers for all 32 teams to try and sell themselves as high draft picks. The game is where it all comes together, and many players helped their case and possibly pushed themselves into day one or day two draft consideration. Others, once highly touted, through error or poor play saw themselves drop somewhat.
Zay Jones, WR, Eastern Carolina: Stock up
They keep taking away touchdowns from Zay Jones, but we got the receipts. pic.twitter.com/e81yMGQbvv— Ryan Mathews (@Ryan_POD) January 28, 2017
Isaiah “Zay” Jones caught 399 passes for Eastern Carolina for 4,279 yards and 23 touchdowns. That level of production is incredible in its own right, but he managed to help himself in the Senior Bowl by making two catches that didn’t even count. His first was a poorly overthrown ball in the end zone that forced him to adjust in the air, double catch the ball, and get both feet down. It was ruled incomplete, saying his second knee was down first out of bounds, but it’s one of those that could have been challenged in the NFL. A later touchdown pass was nullified by a holding penalty. Jones is likely going early day two, so he’s likely outside of the Lions’ range, but he will help push other talent down to the Lions.
Conor McDermott, OT, UCLA: Stock Down
McDermott has the size and athleticism you want from an offensive tackle, but his inability to deal with a speed rush was put on display in front of a national audience and it went as poorly as you’d expect. The tackle class being what it is, McDermott can still sell his upside but this isn’t a game he’s going to turn to when trying to show teams he can handle himself in the NFL.
Kareem Hunt, RB, Toledo: Stock up
So many things to like here from Hunt: feet keep moving as he finds the hole, makes himself small to get through, balance at the end. $ play pic.twitter.com/WGJDLzbank— Ryan Mathews (@Ryan_POD) January 28, 2017
Hunt ran for nearly 5,000 yards and 44 touchdowns over four seasons at Toledo. He lost nearly 20 pounds in the build up to the draft, but he showed in the Senior Bowl that weight loss would not affect him much if at all. Showing patience, vision, and on field toughness to push for more yardage through contact was a big challenge for Hunt at a new playing weight, but he delivered in spades. Kareem Hunt was the best offensive player in the Senior Bowl and it wasn’t particularly close.
Josh Dobbs, QB, Tennessee: Stock down
In general, the QB play of the Senior Bowl wasn’t great and wasn’t expected to be. Dobbs was the highest touted name coming into the bowl game and he was probably the worst one out there. His inability to read the field effectively and sense pressure was exacerbated by his tackles allowing too much early pressure, leading to killed drives and one critical mistake when he tossed up a duck into coverage that was easily picked off.
Montravius Adams, DT, Auburn: Consistency wasn’t a problem as Adams was disruptive early and often, over matching the interior OL.
Fred Ross, WR, Mississippi State: John Ross from Washington gets the most hype, but the other Ross in this draft showed he can make plays against strong competition.
Obi Melifonwu, SS, Uconn: The massive safety played well in practice, followed it up with good play during the game. His stock continues to rise.
Cooper Kupp, WR, Washington State: Kupp didn’t play much in the game, but adjusting to a horribly thrown pass and pulling it in behind him with one arm turned heads.
Eddie Vanderdoes, DL, UCLA: His first-round hype has died out somewhat, but his strong Senior Bowl performance may see him jump back into it.
Alex Anzalone, LB, Florida: What an athlete! Anzalone’s ability to work horizontally and track a RB across the line is impressive.
Tanoh Kpassagnon, DE, Villanova: More than just a giant player, TK had his name called repeatedly as he outplayed every blocker he faced.
Tanoh Kpassagnon, 6-foot-7 and 280 lbs., gets the edge and flattens out to get the quarterback and force the turnover. Like his upside. pic.twitter.com/mktXpBvJUD— Ryan Mathews (@Ryan_POD) January 28, 2017
O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama: Howard was already on the rise, but playing in a game he didn’t need to and looking like the best player on the field pushed him above the Lions pick at 21st overall.
Donnel Pumphrey, RB, San Diego State: Pumphrey is only 169 pounds, so his draft stock is going to be difficult to project highly, but he played very well and showcased his versatility.
Lorenzo Jerome, FS, St. Francis: You want ball skills? Lorenzo Jerome came off a NFLPA game where he picked off two passes. He picked off two more in the Senior Bowl and added a forced fumble.
Davis Webb, QB, California: Coming into the game with no expectations, Webb was the best QB in the game and won MVP. All while he was coached by the Browns staff, somehow.
Brendan Langley, CB, Lamar: He had a late pick in the game, but was abused often in the early second half.
Taylor Moton, OT, Western Michigan: A strong series of practices had Moton dominating the tough competition, but two penalties in the game blunted that rise.
De’Veon Smith, RB, Michigan: His receiving skills were often talked about, but his lack of vision has showed up in two straight all-star games.
Adam Bisnowaty, OT, Pitt: Bisnowaty was routinely abused as a blocker, along with...
Zach Banner, OT, USC: The largest player in the game, Banner was giving a free ride to pass rushers all game.
Justin Senior, OT, Mississippi State: I hate to beat a dead horse, but the tackle play was pretty bad in this Senior Bowl.
Matt Dayes, RB, North Carolina State: He made up for it as the game went on, but his early game fumble put his team in a hole.