Each year the Senior Bowl provides a unique opportunity for college football players to raise their stock in front of NFL Scouts. There’s no better measurement than an All Star Game with some of the best talents across the country. It’s one thing to measure a guy against his teammates and conference peers but how does a top notch prospect in the ACC measure against a player in the PAC 12 or Big 10 against the SEC. Then sprinkle in the small school talents like Javon Hargraves from South Carolina State a small HBCU that plays in the MEAC. He is the reigning back to back defensive player of the year but is he that good? If so, what about his level of competition? How does he fare with SEC talent? At one point there was an SC State Bulldog helmet beside an Alabama, and a Clemson helmet. The little dog mixing with the big dogs.
The only thing about these all-star games you don’t get much time to impress on game day. For example Dak Prescott the 6’2, 230 lbs. The quarterback from Mississippi State was the game’s MVP. He was at the right place at the right time. He moved the team down the field in the second quarter the drive stalled. Then he impressed in the two-minute drive. For the day he completed 7 out of 10 passes for 61 yards and a touchdown and showed some mobility gaining 13 key yards.
North QB Carson Wentz has ideal stature standing 6’5, 233 lbs. has a true cannon for an arm, and perhaps the games top prospect at the all-important quarterback position completed 10 passes for 50 yards. Wentz played at the FCS Level for North Dakota State and won the FCS Championship but what does that mean against top tier talent his team has won five consecutive FCS titles surely there is some talent on that team but is it worthy of a high NFL Draft pick or in his case the number 1 overall. Surely he has seen a better caliber of player this week.
Then there were players playing out of position or shall I say the money position meaning if one is going to play at the next level the one he has a better opportunity to play than the one he played in college. Braxton Miller of the Ohio State Buckeyes is simply a terrific athlete but has transitioned from quarterback to receiver. He impressed through the week but had only 2 catches for 8 yards and returned a kick 31 yards. Is it better to impress in practice or the game? At these types of events, you get more time to impress at practice than the game as so many players are rotating. For the quarterbacks, you got one-quarter each with a two-minute drive if you were QB number 4 your quarter was the fourth quarter. Then at the end of each quarter, everything is reset.
Jake Coker of the National Champion Alabama Crimson Tide played in the first quarter but didn’t do anything special in his career all he did was not beat out Blake Sims in his first year in BAMA but turned around and win a title the next. The multi-million dollar question is how does that translate to being a potential NFL franchise quarterback or does it at all? For his teammate Jarran Reed who played solid along the defensive line with Clemson’s DJ Reader, the opportunity to be successful at the next level is greater. Shawan Oakman of Baylor standing 6’7 was the South’s MVP for his two sacks and a forced fumble. Then Darian Thompson the Safety out of Boise State which plays in the Mountain West Conference won the MVP award for the North Squad with 5 tackles and 2 pass break ups.
The goal of any of the nearly 100 participants was to raise their stock by standing out against the best competition Thompson might have done just that. I don’t know how much emphasis is placed on game performance versus practice or game film from the regular season. We know the level of completion is important until they strap on the cleats because we see it each year a guy out of a small school beat out the big name guy from a big name school and goes on to be a starter or an eventual Hall of Fame Player. We can look at all of the tangibles and measure them but the one thing that can’t be measured is a players’ heart. The South won this one on the score board 27-16 but individual players may have won more than that by impressing NFL Scouts and as Jacoby Brissett said to me “all it takes is one”.
The South won this one on the score board 27-16 but individual players may have won more than that by impressing NFL Scouts and as Jacoby Brissett said to me “all it takes is one”.