Winners and Losers from the Senior Bowl game

If you got to watch the game, I think you'll agree that they do a very good job with the Senior Bowl. Phil Savage puts together a good operation that really gives the players a chance to show what they've got and the NFL teams a good way to get quality info on them. One nice wrinkle was having every quarter be almost like a half, with 2:00 minute warnings (and a change of possession) after the 1st and 3rd quarters. This gave QBs (and the O's and D's) a chance to show what they've got in a 2 minute drill. Each QB for both squads got to play an entire quarter. Also, the NFL Network does a good job covering the event. Mike Mayock and Charles Davis are two of the best color commentators for draft events, and Andrew Siciliano (formerly of NFL Redzone) does a good play-by-play. The network was quick to show replays where Mayock and Davis break down what was happening and who did or didn't do well on that play.

Biggest Winner:

CB Steven Nelson (5'10" 199 Oregon St.) - basically an afterthought at the position by many, he came to play. He was aggressive in coverage and showed off his ability to "challenge the catch" and well as support the run and make tackles. He had an iffy PI called against him and another holding penalty I think, but he was all over the WRs he was assigned to cover and never was in bad position to get beat. The kid they call "Mighty Mouse" isn't tall and won't be a top pick, but he's one to keep an eye on for the Steelers after the 2nd round.

Runner Up:

RB David Johnson (6'1" 224 Northern Iowa) - looking for a backup for LeVeon Bell? Here's your guy! There were times during the game where it looked like Bell suited up and wore #7 for the South. Mayock and Davis even commented that he reminded them of Bell during the game. Johnson is good catching it out of the backfield, can jump cut like Bell and be at patient runner, he is about the same size (Bell dropped to 225 even though they list him at 244), and he even returns kicks. Could he be their 3rd round pick?

Other Winners:

RB Ameer Abdullah (5'8" 198 Nebraska) - he was the game's MVP and was impressive running the ball and catching it as expected, the only two knocks on him are his size and his fumbling issues. Neither were a problem for him today, even though he took some big hits after some nice runs. He's also a great KR. Probably not as much on the Steelers radar because he's likely to be a 2nd rounder, and I don't think they'll go that high for a RB.

RB Tyler Varga (5'10" 227 Yale) - the Ivy leaguer led the way with 2TDs and was often commented on for his impressive physique. He also did a good job as lead blocker at FB (where many feel will be his NFL position). He can do a little of everything for you including being a good STer. He probably bumped up a bit from late round prospect to 4th or 5th.

RB David Cobb (5'11" 229 Minnesota) - another nice candidate to back up Bell. He looked good running (making guys miss and breaking tackles and pass blocking. He did miss a screen pass, but it was thrown high and would've been a tough catch. If the Steelers were to miss out on Johnson, Cobb could be a nice consolation prize.

Almost all of the OL - if you haven't noticed,, 4 of the winners are RBs (and I could've even added Cameron Artis-Payne who looked good to begin the game). A big reason for that was the play of the OL on both squads. On the North side: G Laken Tomlinson (Duke) OT Donovan Smith (Penn St), C Max Garcia (Florida) were particularly impressive but so were the rest that played too. On the South side: OT La'el Collins (LSU) was a stud as expected, G Arie Kuoandjio (Alabama) owned Danny Shelton, so did G Tre Jackson (Florida St.), and even undersized G Shaq Mason (Georgia Tech) was tough.

WR Rannell Hall (6'0" 193 UCF) - another afterthought considered to be a late round pick, he made some nice catches and ran good routes, plus he's a good KR. He should run a good 40 and I think he'll move up the boards.

Honorable Mention:

DE Preston Smith (6'5" 270 Mississippi St.) - showed that he can rush (had a strip sack) and defend the run, made a couple of nice plays beating his man and making the tackle. Keep and eye on him as an "elephant" for the Steelers.

DE/OLB Nate Orchard (6'3" 251 Utah) - flashed his speed keeping contain and chasing from the backside, and made some nice plays fighting off blocks and making tackles in the run game. He's beginning to get in the picture for the pick @ 22 if they are interested.

Biggest Losers:

The Kickers - Justin Manton (Louisana-Monroe) missed a chip-shot, and Tom Obarski (Concordia) missed two FGs. Their kickoffs were fine, but Manton was expected to be the first K drafted and Obarski not far behind. Teams may rethink that a bit and maybe just wait to get them as prority UDFAs.

Other Losers:

Most of the DTs - for the most part, the interior DL were manhandled by the OL. Joey Mbu (Houston) looked slow and was often turned sideways, Grady Jarett (Clemson) got pushed around some, Danny Shelton (Washington) looked very ordinary and whiffed on the one chance he had to make a play in space, Gabe Wright (Auburn) was up and down although he made some plays later in the game, Carl Davis (Iowa) was the best of the bunch and the rest were basically non-factors.

OT Ty Sambrailo (6'6" 309 Colorado St.) - while the other OL were having good days, he wasn't. He struggled against the inside move of some pass rushers, didn't look particularly strong in the run game, and had a false start. Some have him as a borderline 1st rounder, but right now he looks like a mid-round project who needs to get stronger.

CB Josh Shaw (6'1" 198 USC) - he had a lot to prove after missing the entire season due to his suspension. In case you don't know, he's the guy who lied about jumping off the balcony to save his nephew from drowning. Shaw struggled in coverage for the most part and doesn't look like a guy worth taking with a 3rd rounder like some had him projected.

DE/OLB Marcus Golden (6'2" 255 Missouri) - for the most part he was a non-factor and didn't look like much of a pass rusher or run stuffer. He almost looked small even though he's 255. Not sure if he's fluid enough to play OLB for the Steelers and be effective.

There were a number of other players that were up and down and we can discuss them further in the comments section. Two players of interest to the Steelers (RB Jeremey Langford and DE/OLB Owamagbe Odighizuwa) didn't play due to injury.

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