2020 Senior Bowl Winners and Losers
Senior Bowl Week has come to an end! The best seniors and college graduates that could be assembled showed out all week as a whole. Join me as we take a deeper dive into the individual performances of the week as we figure out who utilized the week to the fullest and increased their draft stock as well as who may have hurt their draft stock on the back of a poor showing. Ahead we will discuss five players who were the winners of the week and five players who will feel the most negative impact on their draft stock after the 2020 Senior Bowl Week.
Justin Herbert (QB – Oregon)
Herbert capped off his strong week of practice by winning MVP of the Senior Bowl on Saturday afternoon. Herbert demonstrated all week that he could lead a team while also taking control of a new offense in quick fashion. On game day Herbert looked poised and did a really good job of leading his team down the field for the first score of the game; a TD pass to RB Lamical Perine. Going forward I believe that Herbert and Jordan Love are still competing for QB3, but Herbert did have the better week overall and looks like he should be QB3 come April.
Bradlee Anae (DE – Utah)
If you came into Saturday not knowing who Bradlee Anae was, you definitely left knowing his name and probably sprinting to YouTube to watch some of his film. Anae went through the week of practice doing a good job of showing his explosiveness off the ball and his violent hand use as well as a decent pass rush repertoire. However, on game day he went to another level. He spent the afternoon being a walking highlight reel for the North team finishing the game with 3 sacks and several other QB pressures; one of which ended with a bad throw and interception. Anae helped his stock so much that I see him as an early-round two lock, at worse, with a strong chance to break into the back end of round one when we get to the draft.
Van Jefferson (WR – Florida)
Van Jefferson might have made himself the most money of any player at the Senior Bowl this past week. He dominated every day of practice with precise route running that consistently created eye-opening amounts of separation. On the day of the game Jefferson didn’t have much of an impact with only 2 catches for 11 yards, but, due to the consistent pressure put on by the pass rushers on the opposing defense, not many receivers made a noticeable impact. In a stacked receiver draft class, Jefferson proved that he is one of the two-three best route runners available; his biggest competition being WR1 Jerry Jeudy. I think Jefferson has worked his way into round-two consideration with round-three being his floor at this point in the process.
Adam Trautman (TE – Dayton)
Coming into the week, scouts knew that Trautman had the chance to skyrocket his draft stock. Trautman played at lower level Dayton and dominated his competition all season. Many believed that he had the athleticism to play at the NFL level, but he had to answer questions about his play strength and blocking ability. Fast forward to the end of the practice week and Trautman answered those questions by showing that he had the necessary strength and technique to handle NFL-caliber talent when blocking in the run game. He consistently was able to cut off, lock up, and even drive edge defenders off the line of scrimmage. Trautman has fully put himself into the conversation of TE1 for this draft after showing that he as the ability to be a complete TE at the next level. Tight end needy teams should have their sights set on him. He looks like a definite top 100 pick at this point.
Kyle Dugger (S – Lenoir-Rhyne)
Another lower-level prospect that helped himself this week was former Lenoir-Rhyne safety, Kyle Dugger. Similarly to Trautman, Dugger dominated the lower-level competition and was awarded the opportunity to show what he could do against the best. He did not let that chance go to waste. Dugger showed that he had the size and athleticism needed as well as the ability to cover the pass or step into the box and fill against the run game. Dugger proved all week and during the game that he belonged with the best. He is another top 100 pick at this point for me.
Shea Patterson (QB – Michigan)
I was actually surprised that Patterson was invited to the Senior Bowl in the first place. I felt that a few other QBs deserved that invite over him, but I was looking forward to seeing if Patterson could show that he belonged there. Looking back on the week it’s is pretty clear he didn’t. He struggled mightily with his accuracy throughout the whole week of practice and also struggled to grasp the playbook. Then, on game day those same struggles showed up again. He had a nice touch pass down the sideline for a TD on his first pass, but besides that, he was consistently inaccurate and couldn’t get the offense to move much. As of now, Patterson looks like a prospect that will go undrafted.
Essang Bassey (CB – Wake Forest)
Bassey started off the week behind the 8-ball after weigh-ins. He came in at only 5’9″, very small hands, and a short wingspan; essentially everything you don’t want at the cornerback position. His physical limitations showed up in his struggles for the rest of the week. Bassey was consistently beaten off the line because he couldn’t get his hands on guys and receivers were able to use their longer wingspan to create subtle separation at the catch point. I don’t see Bassey being anything more than a late-round flyer currently.
Steven Montez (QB – Colorado)
Steven Montez came into the week as a candidate to surprise and rise up draft boards. Instead, he struggled to consistently impress throughout practices and the game. He had a decent day one of practice but didn’t capitalize on the momentum. From there he showed his inconsistency in accuracy and decision making. If it wasn’t for Shea Patterson, Montez would have had the worst week of all the QBs this week. He missed out on the chance to surprise and instead looks like he will be a late day 3 pick in April.
Nick Harris (C – Washington)
Nick Harris is my pick for the player that hurt their draft stock the most. Coming into the week I expected him to show that he deserved to be in the conversation for best center in the draft. However, all week he was beaten with both speed and power moves consistently. His size was a question coming in and it looked like a major weakness for him. By the end of the week, he looked mentally defeated in drills and was just ready to get out of there. I thought Harris was going to leave Mobile as an early second-round prospect, instead, I don’t see how a team can feel comfortable taking him before day three.
Evan Weaver (LB – Cal)
I wouldn’t say Evan Weaver had a terrible week at the Senior Bowl. The issue with Weaver is that everything we thought was a weakness ended up being a weakness and what we thought were strengths were his strengths. The problem with that is his major weakness is his athleticism and ability to play tight coverage on the athletes that will be at the next level. All weak he struggled in coverage drills. He was caught flat-footed a lot and didn’t display the needed reactive athleticism to trust him to be a three-down linebacker at the next level. He really missed out on an opportunity to show that he could make plays against the passing game and it will show up on draft weekend when he falls farther than most think he will. I see him going in round five or six at this point in the process, and I don’t see how he can improve that since this week and his film illustrate the same weaknesses against the pass.