2019 Senior Bowl Final Notes
*Throughout this week I will post an update to my preview Senior Bowl scouting grades (by player, by position), just to put a bow on it and for guidance as to what I’ll be watching for at the NFL Combine, etc., as we continue the process of adjusting the microscope to get the proper vision on these prospects.
Well, the Senior Bowl week is over.
For me, the Senior Bowl process is about a 3-4 weeks long process of preview scouting, watching practices, the game day itself, writing articles on things for CFM and FantasyPros. It dominates my January work activity…happily so. It’s the start of the scouting process to get to draft day and beyond.
I wrote a recap article of the game itself for FantasyPros, but I have to write that in a more proper way for that audience out of respect for their company. I cannot let my hair down/take my clothes off and run around like a maniac, per usual, talking about some deeper things. I can do that here. So, here are the deeper notes (in no particular order) from the 2019 Senior Bowl game/wrapping the week…
-- First off, this makes two out of my last three Senior Bowl’s that I lost my wager/bet on. For a few years, I was unstoppable picking this game…now, I’ve been exposed as less-than-human.
Just note, if you take any advice from me on betting the Senior Bowl or East-West game – just play low amounts for fun…because it’s like betting on NFL preseason games. You can get all the scouting right and then the teams swap players around in a weird pattern and then ‘things happen’.
I started to plan where my free meal was going to be after the game, paid for by my winning bet, after my bet/the South team (+2.5) went right down the field and scored a TD to start the game. Still felt fine as the South led 12-3 at the half and the North looked lost, as I expected. I said to my BFF, watching it with me, that we were looking good because not only were we up 14.5 to 3 at the half, but the best QB here was about to play for the South…Jarrett Stidham.
Well, Stidham started getting pressured and the South offense was halted…as the other team saw no pressure (you’re not supposed to blitz in this game) and started walking down the field on a bunch of simple passes. Suddenly, the North led 20-12 (20 to 14.5) after the 3rd quarter – and I knew I was in trouble because Stidham was rotated out for the 4th quarter for their worst QB Tyree Jackson…as the North would then go their best QB (Ryan Finley). The North pulled away and I was beaten. I should’ve put more on the ‘over’ (under) of 40.0, but I played the South to cover/win -- and I had to pay for my own lunch.
I say that I won’t bet on this game next year, but that’s being a cry baby. I love betting on the Senior Bowl. I put 3-4 weeks of my life into it…I want to try to prosper off it, even if it is a random, unpredictable game event. I’m coming back (in 2020) for my money they stole Saturday 2019.
-- What the H happened to Gardner Minshew (1-8 for 4 yards, 0 TDs/0 INTs)?
I would say that the QB play in this game was incredibly sloppy…and marred by too much pass rush pressure (leaky O-Line play) for the ones that struggled the most. I don’t think the 5-15 throws any of these individual QB prospects made in this game are of any real scouting valuation.
I would say…this game definitely didn’t help boost Minshew’s Baker Mayfield rise to top 30-50 overall draft consideration. Minshew had a good practice week. Football people were attracted to his leadership and confidence. However, he didn’t light up (or struggle in) drills during the week. It’s going to be too easy to pigeon-hole him as ‘too small’ and ‘system’ now. He needed a radical moment in Mobile, and he didn’t get one. He won’t standout at the NFL Combine either…too many other tall guys and/or big arms. He’ll get lost in the shuffle or made fun of for his height. He’s likely going to be a #50+ pick…possibly #100+ pick in the NFL Draft.
Tyree Jackson is the only QB who had ‘a moment’ (for the lazy observers) at the Senior Bowl game – and it shows how silly football people can be hanging on every throw in this ‘scrimmage game’ like it really mattered/overturned all the hours of real game tape to study.
With Tyree’s 6’7” size…everyone is curious. Then he goes out during the week and randomly fires missiles on occasion (and the bad throws forgotten). In the Senior Bowl game, he entered as his team was falling apart and chucked a 50+ yard bomb for a sweet connection, but then more impressively he threw a laser beam on the money to WR Gary Jennings for a 10-yard slant pass TD two plays later. The bomb…the TD rocket…the height of Tyree – he will move into the top 100 as sure as I’m sitting here typing. He has it all…’all’ the NFL coaches crave – tall, arm, good feet. He’s a Logan Thomas type rise from the Senior Bowl coming. Minshew…the opposite.
Tyree Jackson is one of my next full QB scouting reports. I didn’t think I’d get to him for a while, but he’s forced my hand…he has captured my attention some from this week. I expected him to struggle more during the Senior Bowl week/game. He didn’t.
-- Three other QB prospect notes…
Will Grier started the game and didn’t look as off as he was during the practice week…but he wasn’t good. I think he lost his 1st-round draft hope during practice week -- he had a chance to change minds with something eye-catching in the game itself, but he did not do anything all that great.
Talented but with no aggression or ‘it’ factor showing, no great desire emanating – that’s my knock on him, or my ‘wondering’ and it still holds true today. I’m not closing the book on him but I’m very skeptical.
Daniel Jones looked OK, but he had no pressure in his time (it seemed) and was working a nice, simple roll-out and misdirection pass game. He didn’t do further damage to his draft stock in this game but he didn’t help himself either. Give it 2-3 weeks and you’ll see him slide out of most every 1st-round mock. The NFL Combine could put that final stake in his heart.
Jarrett Stidham has opened the door to become the possible late-rising, ‘it’ QB as the NFL establishment gropes for a QB prospect to anoint. Drew Lock is locked in as their Josh Allen-like love. Dwayne Haskins is pretty well pushed to the top as the better DeShone Kizer they all loved a few years ago. Stidham could become that #3 ranked guy…moving past Grier-Jones, but he’s going to have to put on a show at the Combine. I thought there was no chance a week ago, that Stidham would crack the top 5 QB prospects. Now, I’m thinking he will…and with a chance to be top 3 QB prospect.
I’d bet he winds up 4-5-6 drafted in this QB class. He’s absolutely the one guy in this entire Senior Bowl week who looks like a real NFL QB, but when I think/see that…the NFL never does. In this case, I heard actual positives on Stidham from varied sources…unusual and telling.
The other QB prospects have their pros and cons and different styles – Stidham is the one who will drop back, hang in the pocket, read the defense and has maybe the best arm of everybody…but the mainstream isn’t seeing it…yet.
-- One last QB item…
Trace McSorley being elevated to the second QB to go into this game, which is basically Jon Gruden promoting McSorley to #2 and demoting Daniel Jones to #3.
Demoting Jones is fine…but Trace McSorley? As Ryan Finley, the best QB they had, went to #4? It conjures up two thoughts…
1) Gruden is a scouting idiot. You wonder why Oakland was so terrible this year? Look no further than ‘Chucky’. What he did to the Oakland roster was an abomination. Also, remember when he traded for Christian Hackenberg last offseason? That’s the mind we’re dealing with here.
2) Did Gruden bury Finley so he could take him cheaper in the draft? A little ‘slick’ maneuvering?
(a) I don’t think Gruden is that smart, and (b) to purposefully hurt a young person’s career/future paycheck for your own gain – that’s not what the Senior Bowl is supposed to be about. But Gruden is a master con artist of NFL teams, ESPN, and advertisers…so, I put nothing past him.
I just think Gruden is terrible at scouting like every NFL coach from his era. He just loved the ‘moxie’ of McSorley. Good. I hope he drafts him with one of his 1,000 picks this year.
What’s the point of having a lot of draft picks if you’re terrible at making draft picks/assessing young talent?
-- Georgia State WR Penny Hart (1-7-0) was not deemed a ‘starter’ by Gruden…and re-read the last paragraph to know why I don’t really care.
The good news, for FF, being that Hart is still flying below the radar. The bad news is that Hart has no media momentum so that when he joins his new team – depending upon how out to lunch the head coach is, Hart may get buried there too. I just think I see something here with Hart, and can’t fully put my finger on it.
Too much WR talent hitting the NFL…and 28-30 head coaches who don’t know talent, which are all looking for ‘tall’, ‘big quads’, ‘big arm’. 5’8” Hart beating everyone off the snap to get open during the practices…not noticeable…to scouts, the media, or the NFL. Hopefully, Hart lands right. I really am anxious to see what his 40-time and three-cone, etc., are.
-- The one RB at the Senior Bowl who I thought was the best NFL prospect/FF prospect (and it was a stretch/weak group) was Notre Dame RB Dexter Williams. He did win the RB ‘Practice Award’ but it was a win among not a lot of great options.
However, he didn’t really grab my attention during the week, and he dropped passes this game…having the knock he wasn’t that involved in the passing game at Notre Dame.
I’m not as excited leaving as I was going in…and I wasn’t over-the-moon prior. His feeble draft stock took a pretty nice hit here.
-- One defender, I like, that I haven’t typed the name of in any of my FantasyPros’ articles or noted in top 15 prospects dynasty mock draft – Miami SAF Jaquan Johnson. That guy can play – he’s a nice hitter and closes on ballcarriers so well. Six solo tackles in this game for Johnson. He’s on my NFL/IDP radar after this week of work.
Next stop…NFL Combine prep!!!