The Senior Bowl is such an important event for many reasons and there have been some clear winners that I've talked about the past couple of days. Let's rapid fire through some of those guys.
U Conn DT Travis Jones, a nearly 330-lb. destroyer, made a ton of money dominating with his power and quickness
Liberty QB Malik Willis went OFF all week long and made a SIGNIFICANT impression on the scouts, coaches and all of the assembled media throughout the practices.
If Oklahoma DT Perrion Winfrey decides that he's going to play like he did on these three days, he can be a dominating presence in the NFL shortly after his arrival.
Georgia DT Devonte Wyatt emerged from Jordan Davis's shadow and he won't be in anyone's shadow ever again after his work in Mobile.
The triumvirate of American team RB Dameon Pierce (Florida), ZaQuandre White (South Carolina) and Brian Robinson Jr. (Alabama) were outstanding in all phases. Those three are going to play in this league for a while.
Colorado State TE Trey McBride got most everyone's attention when he walked on the field because of his lack of height and size, but he reminded many why he's got a future in the NFL playing Y or H or FB or WR with his run blocking and glue sticks for hands.
Florida State edge Jermaine Johnson II became a top 15 pick in front of our eyes.
South Carolina edge Kingsley Enagbare was super special during the year and his length and power stood out all week long.
Boston College OC/OG Zion Johnson learned how to play center all the while controlling 300-lb. dudes in the run and pass game throughout the week.
Memphis IOL Dylan Parham flashed power and quicks and technique to win in both phases as well. He will make the Harris 100, v 3.0. Bet.
Tennessee WR Velus Jones Jr. was smoothly explosive throughout the week in everything that he did.
Memphis slot WR Calvin Austin III might just be the best slot WR in this draft class. He made dudes look absolutely silly in man coverage. He was a walk on at Memphis, proved he belonged throughout his fabulous career and backed it up in Mobile.
Now, I mentioned those players above a few different times during the week in Mobile but there were a number of guys that deserve at least a mention for their efforts in Mobile.
UT-Chattanooga IOL Cole Strange battled his guts out at center, in particular. He never backed down, even though, in some reps against Travis Jones (U Conn), he yielded 25 lb. That said, Strange was emotional and jacked up in his one-on-one reps and that showed in everything that he did.
Houston DL Logan Hall was still recuperating from his elbow surgery that he had in November but the inside/outside scheme versatile defender was disruptive and powerful playing most of the time on the inside.
Ole Miss edge Sam Williams arrived on Wednesday in the rain and proved that he should probably have been in Mobile from day one.
South Alabama WR Jalen Tolbert is one of my favorite pass catchers in this class and he didn't disappoint back at his college home.
UTSA OT Spencer Burford is another of my favorite dudes in this draft. A buddy of mine gave me a heads up on him TWO years ago so I've known about him for a while. He was excellent in pass protection one-on-one drills, especially in a tete-a-tete with South Carolina star Kingsley Enagbare.
Cincinnati QB Desmond Ridder threw the ball with better zip and accuracy than I expected. There's a ton to like about the Cincinnati star.
Arizona State RB Rachaad White hit 21.5 mph on an inside zone run that he took to the house on day one. You know how fast that is? Cars going that fast will get a speeding ticket in River Oaks. Then, at the media breakfast, he told me that he loved watching Arian Foster when White was growing up. Pandering? Yes, but I loved it and love his game.
Oh, man, I'm so embarrassed that I forgot to mention the best performing receiver of the week - Trey Lance's favorite receiver at NDSU - Christian Watson. The 6-4, 211 lb. pass catcher snatched anything in his vicinity, proving he's more than just a go route waiting to happen. He made a seriously strong impression on me throughout the three practices. Now, that's saying something because he had already done that in his career at NDSU but went to a different level.
Man, Rutgers slot WR Bo Melton has some electric quicks and when he learns how to use those basketball type releases with the proper timing in his NFL offense, he's going to be a major problem.
I love Cincinnati CB Coby Bryant. If I could pinpoint one player in Mobile that was GUARANTEED to be a Texan after the draft, Bryant would be one of three I'd select right now (Jermaine Johnson - Florida State and Trevor Penning - Northern Iowa would be the other two).
Penning didn't have the best of weeks, but he was much better on day three. That was more like the Penning that I saw on tape throughout his career. He was physical and nasty and ready to start a fight on every single rep. He tried to pancake Ohio State edge rusher Tyreke Smith through the turf after he had slammed him to the turf originally.
Michigan State do-it-all Connor Heyward is the type of player that a team desperately needs on a 46-man game day roster. He does so much for an offense and has tremendous hands as a receiver to boot.
LSU LB Damone Clark is faster than a mofo. That's all.
Missouri State DL Eric Johnson II is built like a tank and had an excellent week in the middle of the line. On day one, I knew every helmet and every player, but I couldn't figure out who Johnson was. The one thing he made me do was look up who he was and that's a huge feather in Johnson II's cap. Solid week for certain for the DII star.
Oklahoma DL Isaiah Thomas has a ton of potential and flashed a good bit of it in Mobile. I'm still stuck on what to do with him, i.e. where does he play on a consistent basis? What I DO know is that he can wreck a pass pocket with the best of them as he showed this week.
Baylor S Jalen Pitre can play for my defense any day. He can play in ANY defensive scheme too.
Southern OL Ja'Tyre Carter has plenty of physical traits and when he gets settled in an NFL home, he'll thrive. He has the nasty attitude to be a finisher in the OL in the future. He was up and down a bit, knocking off some rust, facing a higher quality of play and moving inside to guard as well. He's built like an NFL OL and will work his tail off to make it at the next level.
Ohio State TE Jeremy Ruckert was overshadowed all season long by three dynamic receivers in Columbus. But, in Mobile, he flashed all the traits of a TE1 in the 2022 NFL Draft.
I still don't know what to do with Penn State LB Jesse Luketa, but I'd pull an "Edelman" - draft him and figure it out. He moved around a bit throughout the week and rushed like a demon from the edge too.
Illinois S Kerby Joseph…ballhawk.
Virginia Tech OG Lecitus Smith came to the media breakfast on Wednesday and I don't remember seeing him talk to anyone. Why? He was studying his plays the entire morning. My heart melted when I saw him sit down with his playbook at the table and dive in for a full 45 minutes.
UCLA DL Otito Ogbonnia was fantastic in all phases. I was so mad as I was perusing the roster for this article because I failed to mention him throughout the week. He was a problem for the National team interior OL and at 326 lb. Furthermore, he flashed the quickness of a man 20-30 lb. lighter. Could be a surprise for many after this week.
Missouri RB Tyler Badie is all of 5-7 and might be one of the toughest dudes in this draft class. I mentioned to a few people as we watched practice that he was the 2022 version of Michael Carter (Jets RB/North Carolina), who I loved in Mobile last year.
Florida DL Zach Carter had a tremendous 2021 season for the Gators and that carried over to Mobile. He showed how violent he could be at the POA, yet showing deft feet and quickness.
Sam Houston CB Zyon McCollum is MY DUDE. I called a ton of his games at Sam Houston and watched him grow up on a football field over his five years at Sam. At 6-2, 200 lb., he's got prototype size, length and speed to be an NFL cornerback and I'm not ashamed to let my bias show - I want him in Houston. As expected, he was competitive as all get out and showed he more than belonged on this field with the stars of the future.
Alright, I'm going to close with my guy Zyon and call it a week in Mobile. What's next? The Combine!!! Let's GOOOOO!!! See ya then, everyone.
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