Senior Bowl week is upon us and plenty of players are going to be at the festivities, however, not everyone who attends will generate a ton of buzz. That is why I am listing some prospects that I believe will generate a good amount of buzz from scouts and coaches during senior bowl week.
These aren’t all necessarily prospects that would be for the Steelers either, but rather guys who could impress with their demeanor, football IQ, or just flat out football ability.
I’ll start by position:
Nathan Peterman, QB, Pittsburgh: There’s some buzz already about him from some really well renowned analysts like Lance Zierlein even stating that he’s a 2nd round talent.
@GregariousKoch is tape is impressive. I will have a second round grade on him.— Lance Zierlein (@LanceZierlein) January 8, 2017
I don’t know about that, but from what I have watched of him, I was impressed with his quick delivery, smooth footwork and control of the offense. Pittsburgh ran a pro style scheme and he showed the ability to change protections at the line, had some flashes pf being able to look off defenders and put some zip on the football (underrated arm strength). At the very least, I believe he’ll be a solid backup in the NFL but with his football IQ and the opportunity to impress in front of some of the best players in this class, he could generate a lot of buzz in Mobile.
Antonio Pipkin, QB, Tiffin: A division II QB was invited to the senior bowl and while yes this is what scouts so far are describing as a “weak” QB class, I’m not ready to say that just yet. A division II QB will get buzz regardless but I’ve watched some film of him before and while I won’t say I’ve watched enough to get a good sample size on him, I saw a guy with a lot of mobility at his disposal, I did see flashes of some great arm talent (no kidding when I say this) and some flashes of his football IQ, showing the ability to manipulate defenders to open up throwing windows.
If he can show scouts and coaches at Mobile that this was no fluke and that he can do this against a higher level of competition, the buzz could be huge surrounding him.
Davis Webb, QB, California: I Won’t lie, I did not like watching his tape. I saw flashes but too much inconsistency for my liking (then again he doesn’t play on a good team either), however, I would lie if I said I wasn’t at least intrigued with his off field character, as he has shown to be someone who’s willing to put in the extra work (watch the video to see what I mean).
It hasn’t just stopped there though as Matt Miller reported that he wound up taking a group of receivers from the University of Southern Alabama a few days early to Mobile for a throwing session.
I'm told Davis Webb flew into Mobile 2 days early after arranging a throwing session with half dozen receivers from Univ of So Alabama.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) January 21, 2017
This kind of stuff doesn’t go unnoticed and if he shows to be more consistent during practices leading up to the game, people will be buzzing about him.
Jamaal Williams, RB, BYU: This is a great RB class but some of the RBs at mobile that I saw on the roster just didn’t invoke much confidence in me or I hadn’t really watched before (Kareem Hunt is a guy I haven’t watched yet). You may not hear his name much during practices but come game time, don’t be surprised if he has a heck of a game. From what I’ve seen of him on tape, the guy shows excellent leg drive, quick feet, a downhill running style and power to finish runs. He may not be the fastest but football isn’t about who can run the fastest. Expect there to be some buzz about him after the game.
Ryan Switzer, WR, UNC: Anyone who watches Pit knows that this guy is their kryptonite. Just like Jamison Crowder of Duke, the guy can kill you in the return game, plays bigger than his size, shifty after the catch, is a devastating route runner, has dependable hands, and at the very least will excel in the slot at the next level. Expect CBs in Mobile to have their hands full with him, which will no doubt have scouts buzzing.
Cooper Kupp, WR, Eastern Washington: Before someone calls me out, I swear I’m not just pointing out just white WRs. These are just some of the guys I’ve watched already and have shown traits that can translate to the next level. Kupp was really impressive because I just found myself marveling at his feet and hands.
He'll be one to watch pic.twitter.com/ydH2hkrSee— The Mick Nartin™ (@themicknartin) January 23, 2017
His feet and the fact he showed the ability to get off press with not a lot of wasted steps is an indication of a prospect who works hard on his craft. Don’t be surprised if he generates plenty of buzz.
Taywan Taylor, WR, Western Kentucky: Speed will be the topic, the main question I have is how consistent will his hands be. I have him with a 2nd round grade at the moment because he has the speed, toughness and route running you want in a WR, but I know this guy can drop the ball a decent amount. I want to know if the guy has small hands or if he had just had some bad days because if he can catch the ball consistently at Mobile, whoa Nelly! People will be buzzing about him as possibly a first round WR. Just has to show that his hands are dependable.
Gerald Everett, TE, South Alabama: I’d be typing all day if I mentioned some of the other tight ends prospects like OJ Howard and Evan Engram (it’s a very deep TE group). This position group in general could end up being the one that gets the most buzz, but I feel like when it’s all said and done, scouts will be buzzing a lot about this guy for months to come if they haven’t been already.
Quick cut and hard to bring down. pic.twitter.com/NGRk9A1Plm— The Mick Nartin™ (@themicknartin) January 24, 2017
First off, I’ve never seen a tight end get out of his breaks so quick.
Second off, watching him after the catch is just absurd because you wouldn’t think a tight end would be able to make moves like he does in the open field.
Third off, if you’re looking for a big bodied target and just box defenders out in the redzone, this guy is for you.
Antonio Garcia, OT, Troy: Let me just reiterate this, I have no understanding of the deeper intricacies of offensive linemen. All I know is that people are already buzzing about him and it would not shock me that if he ends up killing it in Mobile, that he ends up being the first offensive tackle taken in a weak class.
I have not much to add except this:
That is all.
Forrest Lamp, OT/OG, Western Kentucky: I’ve heard words like Zack Martin when it comes to him. Some believe the switch to guard is inevitable with him but who knows. He’s actually the first offensive linemen I’ve watched and you know what, I have no doubt about him being a good pro. He not only impressed against Alabama on film, he ended up getting praise from Ryan Anderson saying “he was the best LT he faced in 2016.” If he has a good day in Mobile, his stock will continue to rise.
Jaleel Johnson, DT, Iowa: I’d like to say that this defensive tackle (traditional) class was just about boring me to sleep, until I watched Jaleel Johnson. I want to know why he’s not being talked about as the cream of the crop when it comes to traditional defensive tackles (3 technique, I actually feel like he could also anchor as a nose). I saw some low grades on him from some sites and when I finally got to him I was just super impressed by the power he generates, his hand technique, the ability to fight off double teams and his pad level.
His game against Michigan was one of the most dominant performances I’ve seen from a defensive tackle.
You kind of need to block Jaleel, Michigan. pic.twitter.com/AttnVfd7Mc— The Mick Nartin™ (@themicknartin) January 3, 2017
That’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to his film. Trust me when I say this, he’s getting buzz at Mobile.
Tanoh Kpassagnon, DE/EDGE?, Villanova: He’s a chiseled freak but my question is, where will he play? Some don’t know if he’s a 5 technique or maybe even an Edge defender. At first glance of his tape he looked a bit stiff and I’m not sure he’ll be able to corner the edge but if anything, people will be buzzing about his size and athleticism. If he strings together some great practices, the buzz will only grow louder.
Derek Rivers, Edge Defender, Youngstown State: If you don’t know who Derek Rivers is, that’s fine, not many do yet. That said, would not be surprised if this changes dramatically after Senior Bowl week though. Rivers is one of the best, if not the best small school Edge defender in this class. I was simply amazed by his film, as he showcased the ability to bend and corner the edge consistently, use his hands like a pro (he’s a protegee of pass rushing guru Chuck Smith) and stop the run.
Might as well post these now but Derek Rivers is an absolute stud. He's going to be the talk of the senior bowl EDGE defenders. pic.twitter.com/2rdLGGqjdG— The Mick Nartin™ (@themicknartin) January 19, 2017
I’m really looking forward to seeing how he’ll do against a higher level competition. If he shows that he belongs, his stock will continue to rise in an already deep Edge defender class.
Haason Reddick, LB/EDGE, Temple: I thought this guy would’ve been an Edge defender, turns out he’s going to be playing off the line LB (officially listed at ILB) at the Senior Bowl which I can understand. This guy if anything is versatile and works hard. Mike Mayock says it all the time but these Temple players have a chip on their shoulder and Reddick is one of them. Originally a safety in high school and having walked on to Temple, he changed positions often from LB to DE. That safety background shows up on film when he’s in space or dropping into coverage which makes him an intriguing Edge defender prospect, as he’s shown great ability to be able to bend the edge as well. At the same time he doesn’t have a given move and is very raw as a pass rusher. Because of that, he could be asked to become a full time off the line LB because of his ability in space and his reported 4.47 speed. Regardless, he’s skinny at the moment but full of potential, with a chip on his shoulder. I expect him to at least impress scouts with his athletic ability and the effort he’ll show.
Reddick again, love prospects like this who make hustle plays, really gives an incite of how hard a worker they are, on and off the field. pic.twitter.com/YSNw1ZKCni— The Mick Nartin™ (@themicknartin) October 28, 2016
Jourdan Lewis, CB, Michigan: If there’s anything I love, it’s a short, feisty, physical, fluid CB. Those kind of CBs excel at events such as this. Just like Tavon Young and Jason Verrett before him, we know this guy is sticky in man coverage and can be overly aggressive. That said, give me a guy who’s too physical over a guy who isn’t physical at all. If he’s having great practices, there will be buzz but if there’s no buzz on him, it’s going to be the question of just how fast is he. I want to see just how fast he is before I crown him, because that’s what I needed to see with Jason Verrett and Tavon Young. This is the only question I need an answer to and against the best competition, we should get an answer.
Tre'Davious White, CB, LSU: He’s fluid, you can see above average length on tape, built pretty well too, can play in man or zone coverage and shows the ability to get his head around and find the ball. My one gripe, I want to see him hit someone. I know he can cover like the best of them but for some reason his tackles look so lethargic. He has the technique too but he just falls straight off. I don’t know if it’s a lack of desire or what and I don’t believe it’s from his lack of character either.
I want him to show me so physicality in run support and believe me, he’ll get buzz in practice but if he lays someone out in the game, everyone will want him on their team.
That’s a bigger IF then it may sound though.
Corn Elder, CB/Safety?, Miami: I know this guy is going to fly in the 40 yard dash and he’s going to lay someone out immediately at the Senior Bowl. However, I never really got to see him in man to man coverage, as Miami often deployed their CBs in zone with their eyes toward the QB. I couldn’t get a feel for how fluid he was and that’s what I’d like to see because it could have people buzzing about him. Even if he isn’t though, all I know is that watching him I just really liked how he baited QBs into throwing into spots they shouldn’t have and his hits, can’t forget to mention his hits, which no doubt have scouts liking his physicality in run support, maybe considering him as a safety or a cover 2 CB.
If he ends up being more fluid and sticky in man coverage though, that would be like having corn on the cobb.......
Jokes aside, that’s if he is fluid, if not, he may struggle a lot in one on ones.
Obi Melifonwu, Safety, UCONN: A 6-3, 220 LB safety that is fluid, do I even need to say more? Those are so coveted that I have no doubt if he impresses in practices, the buzz will be absolutely rampant with him.
Lorenzo Jerome, Safety, Saint Francis: After dominating the FCS and impressing at the NFLPA bowl, Lorenzo Jerome will get a chance to show his best against the best competition. He knows how to find the football and while I haven’t watched him extensively yet, I’m always intrigued by small school prospects who dominate their level of competition.
Ball Skills!! ✅ Lorenzo Jerome! pic.twitter.com/R2JihZgUBw— WeAreDBnation (@WeAreDBNation1) January 21, 2017
- There were some prospects I left off that I like but these are some of the guys I believe could generate plenty of buzz in the days to come.
FYI: This list was finished on Monday but could not get published till Wednesday. The first day has already happened and weigh ins for the North team can be found here and the South team can be found here.