The 2017 Reese’s Senior Bowl wrapped up on Saturday, as the South defeated the North by a score of 16-15. Some prospects stood out more than others, and I am here to tell you who did so for both the right and wrong reasons. The Senior Bowl is the last opportunity for these prospects to step on the field and showcase their on-field talent in front of NFL evaluators. With that being said, here is the latest stock update for the 2017 NFL Draft, following the Senior Bowl.
Rasul Douglas, CB, West Virginia
If you have followed my Twitter feed recently, then you know that I am a huge fan of Rasul Douglas as a cornerback prospect. In my opinion, he proved this week that he was the best cornerback in Mobile. Measuring in at 6’2, Douglas has the length NFL teams covet in a press man cornerback, but he also showed his elite ball skills and transitional quickness throughout the week. Anytime a big cornerback can move the way he does, NFL teams are going to notice. Let’s see if he can carry this momentum into the Combine.
Lorenzo Jerome, S, Saint Francis
The player who had arguably the best performance of any prospect on Saturday was Saint Francis safety Lorenzo Jerome. Scratch that. He may have had the best month of any draft prospect in quite some time. In the NFLPA game, he picked off two passes. On Saturday in the Senior Bowl, he picked off two more and forced a fumble. If he was not on the radar earlier, he is definitely on it now.
Haason Reddick, LB, Temple
There seems to be that one player who makes a meteoric rise following the Senior Bowl every year, and my vote this year goes to Temple linebacker Haason Reddick. He primarily lined up on the edge for Temple, but in Mobile, he showed he can play as an off-ball linebacker as well. With his instincts and explosiveness, he projects as a WILL linebacker with a high ceiling at the next level. I am expecting to see his name show up in the first round of mock drafts leading up to the Combine.
Derek Rivers, EDGE, Youngstown State
The best edge rusher in Mobile was from Youngstown State? Yes, and Derek Rivers may have solidified his case as a top-50 prospect on Saturday. Rivers displayed his quick-twitch athleticism to win the corner, as he had no problem getting to the quarterback in Saturday’s game. The most underrated aspect of his skill set is his prowess in the run game. His high motor and discipline against the run served him well on Saturday, and I think teams are starting to realize how good he could become.
Zay Jones, WR, East Carolina
I feel like East Carolina wide receiver Zay Jones puts sticky glue on his gloves because he catches every pass thrown his direction. If not for a holding penalty and a missed call in the end zone, Zay Jones would have had two spectacular touchdowns on Saturday. Despite that, his performance told the NFL loud and clear that he is here. While not an elite athlete, Jones showed he can win with savvy route running skills, an effective release at the LOS, and hands to catch the football away from his body.
OJ Howard, TE, Alabama
OJ Howard was undoubtedly the best player at the Senior Bowl. Howard could have decided to sit it out because of his firm status as a first rounder, but he came to Mobile anyways, proving his dominance throughout the week. Because of his performance, I think Howard is heading into the Combine as a top-15 lock.
With a poor group of quarterbacks, you would expect one to stand out among the rest right? Nope. That did not happen. Instead, players like Nate Peterman and Davis Webb had an up and down game that did not separate themselves from the rest of the pack. Josh Dobbs and CJ Beathard fell flat in their performances. Colorado’s Sefo Liufau did not even throw a pass on Saturday. Last, and definitely least, Tiffin’s Antonio Pipkin threw two interceptions on four attempts. It is clear that there is a major drop off after the first tier of quarterbacks in this year’s class.
Zach Banner, OT, USC
What is worse than celebrating after giving up a strip sack? Other than getting your chain snatched during a game, I can’t think of anything worse. USC offensive tackle Zach Banner was caught celebrating after he recovered the fumble that he basically forced by his inability to block Kansas State’s Jordan Willis on the edge. Banner is a behemoth of a human at 6’8, but he is not ready for NFL snaps.
Desmond King, CB/S, Iowa
Iowa’s Desmond King, the 2015 Jim Thorpe Award winner, is an aggressive defensive back who loves to make plays on the football. That was not the case this week. His marginal play speed and athletic ability at cornerback hurt him this week, as he was exposed by receivers in one on one drills. He is a tweener who does not really have a set position in today’s NFL, and I wonder how far he could fall if he runs a slow 40-yard dash at the Combine.
Gerald Everett, TE, South Alabama
I’m not putting Everett in the “loser” column because of his play this week, but because of what happened on the first day in Mobile. The South Alabama tight end measured in at 6’3, 227 lbs. The problem is that he has smaller hands than Jared Goff. His hands were measured at 8 1/4 inches, a measurement that falls well below NFL thresholds. This could give teams pause about taking Everett as high as some analysts think.