Every year the Senior Bowl allows under-the-radar players to become “winners”, and hyped up players become “losers”. During the 2018 Senior Bowl, that narrative was no different.
Last week saw many players help their draft stock, with others halting their draft rise in its tracks. In theory, the Senior Bowl won’t make or break any prospect, but rather will give scouts and analysts just a little bit more tape to see what they missed about certain prospects. This week is huge for smaller school guys to get exposure at the highest level.
Winners And Losers From The Senior Bowl.
The biggest winner of the week has to be Will Hernandez, offensive guard from UTEP, as he was dominate in almost every drill throughout the week.
Scouts were able to see his raw power and anger during 1 on 1 drills this week and he made his job look easy. Going into the week, many analysts had him slotted in the middle of the 2nd with some even having him in the 3rd round. He may have worked his way into the back of the 1st round with his performance at the Senior Bowl. He is a monster at 6’2,” 340 lbs and will make the team that drafts him very happy.
My biggest loser of the week is DE Marcus Davenport out of UTSA. Prior to the Senior Bowl, his hype train was going so fast it was bound to go off the railings somehow. He was being plugged in at number seven overall to the Buccaneers in more than a few mock drafts.
He won the weigh-in coming in at 6’6″ 260 lbs with a wingspan of 81 3/4 inches. That’s a massive human with some raw athletic ability. During the week, however, he showed no consistency other than his stubborn attempt at an inside swim move, which worked only once or twice the entire week. He needs to develop as a pass rusher if he wants to go anywhere in the 1st round. At this point, he looks more like a project than a top 10 pick.
Kemoko Turay, EDGE from Rutgers, won this week with his array of pass rush moves during 1 on 1 drills. He has incredible bend when coming around the corner with speed and showed scouts he wasn’t as stiff-hipped as previously believed. He was buried in a program that has been horrendous since he arrived, which allowed him to fly somewhat under the radar until now. He has started his rise up the draft boards and scouts are running back to the tape to check out more of this guy.
Small school running backs and tight ends were losers this week. I was very excited to see how Rashaad Penny, RB from San Diego State, and Dallas Goedert, TE from South Dakota State, would perform against bigger school competition.
Unfortunately for Goedert, he was injured early on in the first practice, so that’s not necessarily his fault. Penny didn’t hurt his draft stock, but his performance didn’t match what we saw on tape, either. These two are different from other “losers” on this list as their game tape shows they have the skill set to perform at the next level but there was a ton of excitement to see these two perform this week.
That being said, both could be gone by the end of day 2 of the draft and Goedert will likely be the first TE off the board come April.
Nathan Shepard, DE from Fort Hays State, was on very few analysts radar going into the week due to the fact he came from two rather unknown schools.
He started his college career at Simon Fraser in Canada and then transferred to Fort Hays State in Kansas to play D-II ball. He absolutely dominated this entire week. The type of domination that takes you from going undrafted to a day one or day two pick. This guy made himself some money by showing that he can flat out play and was virtually unblockable. I am excited to see this kid in the NFL.