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7 Senior Bowl standouts from Jim Nagy
Seaside Joe 1123: Could Seahawks target any of these players?
In early February, Mookie Alexander noted on Field Gulls that the Seahawks are often keen on prospects who make appearances at the Reese’s Senior Bowl.
(Normally I might not mention the sponsor but I think we’re all in agreement that Reese’s deserves to be named. Disagree? Leave a comment. But how they couldn’t figure out a way to rename the Senior Bowl the “Reese’s Senior-nut Butter Cup” I’ll never know…)
Dee Eskridge, Jordyn Brooks, Darrell Taylor, L.J. Collier, Marquise Blair, and Rashaad Penny are just a few first and second round examples since 2018. There are many more before that and on day three. Seattle only had three total draft picks in 2021 and the Seahawks still managed to find two (Tre Brown being the other) Senior Bowl participants.
Mookie also makes the important connection that Senior Bowl director Jim Nagy once served as a Seahawks scout for Pete Carroll and John Schneider.
But Schneider did not attend the Senior Bowl this year. Of course, Seattle didn’t have a first round pick and three of the top-41 selections then either.
In 2021, Dee Eskridge took home the title of “downright unstoppable” and was the first receiver mentioned in an article about Senior Bowl standouts:
Is there enough to say about the week D’Wayne Eskridge had? Eskridge was downright unstoppable all week long, thanks to how well rounded his game really is. His release package is excellent, and in many reps he created separation in the early parts of his stem.
Eskridge’s explosiveness and change of direction skills were a sight to behold, and he made easy work of every defensive back he went up against. His route tree is diverse, his vertical presence is there, and he has a great pair of hands and can make catches well outside his frame look easy.
Tre Brown was the first person named in the cornerbacks group:
Oklahoma’s Tre Brown, coming in at five foot nine and 188 pounds, surprised many this week. His role will be in the slot at the next level, but Brown showed incredible competitiveness during practices this week. His transitional quickness was impressive and he stuck his nose in at contact.
In 2020, it was impossible for Brooks to stand out because he was injured. But Nagy may have hinted to Pete and John that he was impressive anyway.
Collier has shown he can get to the quarterback a variety of different ways. He’s shown blazing speed around the edge, a powerful bull rush move, various counters to go along with violent hand usage. Collier also holds up against the run extremely well, and when you consider the success of the offensive line group in Mobile, it’s all the more impressive.
Collier and Blair were both listed as “underrated performers” at their positions during Senior Bowl week.
Surprisingly, Rashaad Penny was considered a Senior Bowl “loser” in practice leading up to the game, with Matt Miller saying he’s more like a mid-round pick. But then he had 64 rushing yards and a 73-yard reception to finish second in the game in total yards. Seattle didn’t hesitate to take Penny in the late first. (Yes, maybe they should have.)
So which prospects at the 2022 Reese’s Peanut Butter Bowl could find themselves in alternate neon action green next season? Impossible to guess correctly, but take these notes into consideration:
OT Bernhard Raimann, long a name I’ve mentioned who fits Pete’s style for tackle, was praised for run-blocking at the Senior Bowl. But he did lose the starting LT gig to Trevor Penning and that may signal that the Seahawks could have top-10 interest in Penning. Or day two interest in Raimann?
QB Desmond Ridder threw 2 of the game’s 3 touchdowns. Malik Willis had the least amount of game action as any of the six quarterbacks at the Senior Bowl, going 2-of-4 for 11 yards, but rushing for a game-high 54 yards. Kenny Pickett might have come out looking the best of any QB and he’s always been my highest rated at the position for this class.
RB Rachaad White (11/52) and RB Abram Smith (11/48) were the leading running backs.
Oklahoma DT Perrion Winfrey had 3 TFL and 2 sacks.
Jim Nagy was shooting out some tweets this week about Senior Bowl standouts from February. I wanted to highlight a few of them for Seaside Joe readers today because there’s a virtual guarantee that multiple names from the game will be in Seattle this year.
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WR Christian Watson, North Dakota State
40 Yard Dash-4.36 / Vertical Jump-38.5 / Broad Jump-136. From NFL.com:
Watson garnered second-team Associated Press FCS All-American accolades (43-801-18.6, seven TDs receiving; 15-114-7.6, one TD rushing; 10-227-22.7 kick returns in 12 games, 10 starts) in 2021, as well as a first-team all-conference nod.
"I love the kid. ... He's going to be great in the locker room and work his tail off every day." -- Scout for AFC team
Kenny Pickett to Christian Watson for the Seahawks?
Tell me now, How would you feel about Kenny Pickett going to Seattle?
CB Joshua Williams, Fayetteville State
I don’t need to put out the measurables on Williams cause Nagy did that for us. Williams was the only HBCU player at the Senior Bowl and also one of the five-fastest.
“This shows you younger guys, we’re watching every level,” Nagy told the Fayetteville State players. Wait until you see our roster this year. There’s a lot of small school players in the game. Josh is hour only Division II player in the game this year — which we’re excited about. Josh is also the first player from Fayetteville State in the history of the Senior Bowl in the game.”
TE Trey McBride, Colorado State
Vertical Jump-33 / Broad Jump-117. From NFL.com:
Rams fans were happy McBride stayed for 2020 and 2021, when he won the John Mackey Award as the nation's best tight end. The first-team Associated Press All-American and all-league selection ranked ninth in the country with 90 receptions and led the team with 1,121 receiving yards (setting school career records in both categories) despite scoring only once through the air.
Two-way tight end with the size, strength and ball skills to help impact games in-line and in space. McBride has room for improvement at the point of attack, but possesses the thickness and determination of a true, in-line blocker.
"Good hybrid Y/U tight end. I think he's a really good TE2 and a TE1 for some teams." -- Personnel director for NFC team
DT Phidarian Mathis, Alabama
6’4, 310 lbs, 23.5” vertical, 109” broad jump. From NFL.com:
Mathis is a Nick Saban-style run-plugger with powerful hands and a dense anchor. He comes into the league ready for two-gapping duties. He's more effective against downhill rush attacks than move-blocking schemes, but he's more a piece of the front than a standout playmaker. He can push the pocket on early down passing plays but is likely to come off the field on passing downs. Mathis should compete for early playing time as a 4-3/3-4 nose or as a five-technique.
Seattle could pass on Jordan Davis in the first, consider Phidarian Mathis on day three.
DE Myjai Sanders, Cincinnati
40 Yard Dash-4.67 / Vertical Jump-33 / Broad Jump-120 From NFL.com:
He needs to diversify his rush counters but has the foot quickness and efficiency of movement to cut a cleaner path into the pocket. Sanders is a segmented mover with a slender build and might need a move to 3-4 outside linebacker to keep from being mauled by NFL blocking. He has the potential to earn snaps as a designated pass rusher.
Pronounced: My-Jay. Sanders was called a day one Senior Bowl standout.
LB Chad Muma, Wyoming
40 Yard Dash-4.63 / Bench Press-27 / Vertical Jump-40 /Broad Jump-129
20 Yd Shuttle-4.28. From NFL.com:
A high-cut linebacker, Muma has a nose for the football but his methodology for getting there will need an upgrade to earn NFL playing time. He falls prey to false steps and wasted motion at times. He has a see-ball, get-ball mentality and hunts runners with good build-up speed and an aggressive demeanor.
"I think he's going to be a good tester. He can run and jump but I don't see him playing with the change of direction he needs to play with." -- Area scout for AFC team
Muma led the Senior Bowl with eight tackles. He’s compared to former teammate Logan Wilson, a third round pick of the Bengals. The Seahawks would probably need to draft Muma with one of their second round picks.
CB Jaylen Watson, Washington State
6’2, 197 lbs, 32.25” arms, 4.51 40-yard dash. From NFL.com:
Watson is big and strong. He can be a physical presence when he's playing with patience from press coverage. With just two years of experience at the FBS level, he's predictably raw with his fundamentals, but the lack of agility and short-area quickness should be more than just short-term concerns. Currently, he's unable to stay in phase with quality route runners but does have physical traits that might warrant a practice squad stint for defenses reliant upon Cover 2 and/or Cover 3 schemes.
Watson has the length and his pro day numbers (unsurprisingly) bested his combine tests. Watson didn’t do the vertical or broad at the combine and his pro day numbers would have put him near the top of the corners group in athleticism. He should be a day three pick.
Which of these prospects is standing out to you? Which Senior Bowl prospects should I highlight next time?
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