Senior Bowl Practice week is under wraps. Let’s take a look at the 2021 NFL Draft prospects that made a name for themselves, and some that may have lowered their stock.
The Senior Bowl is right up there with the NFL Combine as a scouting opportunity for NFL teams. It serves equally for NFL Draft hopefuls. The game will be played Saturday, Jan 30th at 1:30 in Mobile, Alabama. While the game, itself, is important, the NFL scouting community puts more of an emphasis on the three days of practice prior to the game.
As they should, the sample size of three 2+ hour practices is massive compared to a 60-minute game where players are averaging around only 15 reps apiece. Seeing as how the game is the only televised access we’ll have to Senior Bowl week, we’ll have to rely on stories from around the league. Here’s what the experts have been saying.
Mac Jones – QB, Alabama
Jones has been a hot name in scouting circles for a few months now. His performance this season was amazing; in some aspects, he was more impressive than 2019 5th overall pick, Tua Tagovailoa. Jones has been equally impressive in Senior Bowl practices this week. He’s been able to absorb the playbook quickly, and deliver the ball accurately and on time. He’s my QB6 but in a strong 2021 class, he still may be selected in the first round.
Amari Rodgers – WR, Clemson
Rodgers spent most of his time in the slot for Clemson’s three-wide. He was productive with the ball in his hands but struggled to gain separation. He’s clearly been working on improving that skill, as he’s been able to separate from pretty much everybody this week. Rodgers’ 5’ 9”, 211-lb frame will limit him to a slot role in the NFL and lowers his value to a third-round grade.
D’wayne Eskridge – WR, Western Michigan
Eskridge was as productive as he could be for the Broncos in their six-game 2020 season, and he’s shown up huge this week. Much like Rodgers, Eskridge’s 5’ 9”, 188-lb frame will likely limit his role in an NFL offense. He’s been a favorite this year of many in the scouting community, including our very own Brennen Rupp.
Quinn Meinerz – IOL, Wisconsin-Whitewater
Meinerz showed up to the Senior Bowl as a relatively unknown D3 prospect. His 6’ 3”, 320-lb frame suggests a lack of length but Meinerz has 33” arms, which is plenty to operate in a phonebooth at the NFL level. Meinerz shows elite power for the position. He helped himself this week as much as anybody. The home-grown, Meinerz, is now a potential day-two selection.
Carlos Basham Jr – IDL/EDGE, Wake Forest
Boogie Basham has been on the radar for a while now. He had a disappointing 2020 season then showed up at the Senior Bowl with less length than expected – just 6’ 3” and 32 ½” arms. However, Basham hasn’t let that hold him back. He’s been highly productive in one-on-ones this week. While his measurables may cause us to revisit his role in the NFL, there is no doubt that Basham can play in this league.
Jabril Cox – LB, LSU
After transferring from North Dakota St to LSU, Cox put himself on the national spectrum and didn’t exactly wow anybody. He was inconsistent against the run and less effective in coverage than we were hoping. This week, however, Cox has performed like the player we were expecting. At 6’ 2”, 233-lbs, he’s got the perfect frame for the modern NFL defense. Cox solidified himself as a potential second-rounder.
Richie Grant – S, UCF
Grant is a name that I’ve been hearing all week. He’s been stout in both man and zone coverage and looks the part. In a class that has more questions than answers at the safety position, this is exactly what Grant needed to potentially vault himself into the second-round.
Other top peformers:
Ian Book – QB, Notre Dame Elijah Mitchell – RB, Louisiana Lafayette Michael Carter – RB, North Carolina Cornell Powell – WR, Clemson Demetric Felton – WR/RB, UCLA John Bates – TE, Boise St James Hudson – OT, Cincinatti D’Ante Smith – OT, East Carolina Dillon Radunz – OT, North Dakota St Janarius Robinson – EDGE, Florida St Cam Sample – IDL, Tulane Paddy Fisher – LB, Northwestern Thomas Graham Jr – CB, Oregon Tre Brown – CB, Oklahoma
Fallers: I’m going to highlight a pair of tackles here in Alex Leatherwood and Spencer Brown. Leatherwood, out of Alabama, was factoring into the top-15 discussion prior to the 2020 season. While he disappointed, the expectation was that he would show up for Senior Bowl week. That didn’t happen. Leatherwood continues to offer scouts more questions than answers, particularly relating to his pass sets and hand placement. Leatherwood has fallen out of the first-round.
Spencer Brown, however, was a player that scouts had high hopes for this week. He played well for Nothern Iowa this season and we’ve drooling over his 6′ 8″, 314-pound frame all year. However, he was outmatched by powerful edge defenders in one-on-ones. He falls squarely into the late-round project category.
With Senior Bowl practices complete and potentially no NFL Combine, we’re running low on opportunities to scout the 2021 class. However, we can look forward to Pro Days, which begin in March. We’ll cover all the news and begin ramping up our own draft coverage soon at Game On Wisconsin.