DEEP FRIED DRAFT
The 2019 Reese’s Senior Bowl is upon us. Beginning on Tuesday, 110 senior football prospects will interview with and practice in front of hundreds of NFL coaches and scouts. Tuesday morning, the players will weigh-in and then both teams will lightly practice in the afternoon. Wednesday and Thursday are the two biggest practice days when both squads practice in full pads. This culminates in the game at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama on Saturday at 1:30 pm. The game can also be seen live on NFL Network.
Deep Fried Draft will have it covered all week. Look for daily write-ups about the practices each day.
Below I will look at five players from each roster that have the most to gain from Senior Bowl week.
QB – Ryan Finley, NC State
Finley has a chance to resurrect some of his preseason status. The Wolfpack passer was a roller coaster in 2018. Inconsistent was the best way to describe him this year. However, Finley has a unique opportunity this week. Drew Lock and Daniel Jones are considered potential first-round picks at quarterback. They are both playing on the North roster. If Finley can outplay them in practice, it could cause some second thoughts in the minds of NFL evaluators.
OT – Kaleb McGary, Washington
For the second year in a row, the demand for offensive tackles will far outweigh the supply. McGary has been a starter at right tackle. However, he may get a chance to hold down the left side this week. While it is unlikely that he will get in the Round One conversation, McGary can get himself into the day two talks.
EDGE – Sutton Smith, Northern Illinois
Smith was gifted a terrific opportunity. Utah linebacker pulled himself from the game and he was called in to take his place. Sutton Smith is too small to be an every-down edge defender in the NFL. He is listed at 6’0” 225. The weigh-in on Tuesday will be key for him. During practices, Smith will transition to off-ball linebacker. This will be his best opportunity to play in the NFL. He could then be a situational pass rusher. One does not get 30 career sacks and 58.5 tackles for loss by accident.
DL – Zach Allen, Boston College
Allen has had quite a good college career. Unfortunately, he got lost in the shuffle on his own team behind Harold Landry last season. This year, he was the team leader. However, with the abundance of pass rushing five and three techniques, Allen again may be forgotten. Senior Bowl week is a good chance for him to assert his dominance.
LB – Germaine Pratt, NC State
Pratt is already my top-rated linebacker in Mobile. However, he needs to show off some elite cover skills this week. Darius Leonard (favorite for defensive rookie of the year) and Dorian O’Daniel parlayed outstanding Senior Bowl practices a year ago into Top-100 selections. They did this by showing elite cover skills. That is what Pratt needs to do.
QB – Tyree Jackson, Buffalo
Full discretion, I am a huge fan of Jackson. I have said often, I think Jackson’s ceiling is Cam Newton. However, he is a flawed prospect. He has a huge arm and is a tremendous athlete. He lets his eyes get too big sometimes and makes some egregious throws. Jackson also has a long windup throwing motion. Not unlike Tim Tebow. That is something he needs to fix ASAP. Jackson has a huge opportunity to right some wrongs this week and get himself into the late round one-early day two conversation.
QB – Jarrett Stidham, Auburn
Stidham needs this week for rehab purposes. Think of it as a football version of a fabulous Malibu rehabilitation center. Prior to the season, mock drafts had Stidham going in the top ten. However, he never clicked in Gus Malzahn’s offense. So now begins the mind changing process. Most, like myself, have written off Stidham as a prospect. This week could go along way in changing my mind and the minds of NFL brass.
WR – Deebo Samuel, South Carolina
I already feel like Samuel is the top receiver here. Most feel the same. Then why is he on this list? Measurables. His weigh-in will be key. Is he over six feet? Over 200 pounds? Those are the only things that may hold him back from being the top senior receiver drafted.
OT – Andre Dillard, Washington State
Some of the same questions and statements I posed about Kaleb McGary apply to Dillard. Dillard is a tremendous pass blocker but his run blocking will be tested this week. Dillard can get in the round one conversation if he shuts down some of the excellent pass rushers he will see in practice. Potential one-on-one matchups with Josh Allen, Montez Sweat, Oshane Ximines, and Jaylon Ferguson will be telling.
EDGE – Oshane Ximines, Old Dominion
Ximines was a highly productive rusher for the Monarchs. His size and speed are not questioned. However, the question is, how will he separate himself from the rest of the stud edge defenders on the South roster?
Stay with Deep Fried Draft for week long coverage of the 2019 Reese’s Senior Bowl!
2019 Senior Bowl: 10 Players With the Most to Gain