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2022 NFL Draft

Senior Bowl Week Takeaways: Quarterbacks a Jumbled Mess, Defensive Line Dominates



MOBILE, Ala. — The Senior Bowl practices are now over for the week, and with it, multiple players helped themselves during the week. However, some just as much hurt themselves and only reiterated what was on the tape. Coming out of Mobile and combining it with their tape, what are some takeaways from the week?

Quarterbacks Shake the Tree

The quarterbacks were to put it simply, a jumbled mess of who knows what. There was never a single guy that put himself on top of the totem pole. While the buzz will heat up around some of these guys for the flashier plays they may have pulled off, understand that these guys also outright struggled from the rip. That is the conundrum of this week.

Malik Willis is the guy who has all the buzz. In fact, from talking around Mobile, it seems Willis could be the first quarterback off the ball. The ball flies out of his hand with a different type of juice. His legs are more dynamic than anyone else in the class at the Senior Bowl or beyond. Everything about Willis this week lit up the highlight reel, especially after a strong day two and solid day three. However, the tape he put out this year is still shaky. While his tools are dynamite and many teams, including the Steelers, are intrigued, it doesn’t mean he is a sure thing by any means. He is not a plug-and-play quarterback. He must improve all-around.

Kenny Pickett is likely to be the second quarterback off the board as well. Along with Willis and Matt Corral, Pickett is in the top group of how the NFL views these quarterbacks. Still, Pickett seemed to mostly be himself this week. His leadership and intangibles were clear as day. His accuracy was on the mark for most of the drills and he made numerous impressive off-platform throws. However, his day in the rain may mark over everything. With those fumbles and struggles with accuracy on and off that day, teams will be worried.

Sam Howell was quietly consistent. He seemed to be comfortable and have the acumen to make the right reads the entire time down in Mobile. Day two got a little rocky at times, but by the end of practice, Howell was dealing and playing just like he had on day one. He followed that up with yet another strong day on Thursday. Howell may have done enough to throw himself into the back half of the first round.

Carson Strong and Desmond Ridder can be grouped together, to a degree. There were struggles with Strong, but he was better as the week went along. His arms lively pops and he got more and more comfortable on the move as the week went on. That was nice to see. Ridder’s inaccuracy early in the week flew off the tape. By the third day, he was hitting most of his targets and hitting some wow throws.

Take all of those top five quarterbacks into one pile and it is tough to separate them. That is the overwhelming vibe from Mobile. None of these quarterbacks came out as the clear top guy. More importantly, there is the entire process to sift through this, but at an even where there could have been separation, very little was made.

Defensive Line Domination

There was no better group at the Senior Bowl this year as an overall unit than the defensive line. It seemed like every day the same guys stood out, and new guys would pile onto that list. Travis Jones may have been the most impressive of the interior line throughout the entire week. His explosiveness and natural pad level makes him one of the most traitsy and dangerous interior pass rushers in the entire draft.

The edge rushers were extremely potent as well. Florida State edge rusher Jermaine Johnson looked like a potential first-round pick in Mobile. Arnold Ebiketie, Dominique Robinson, Kingsley Enagbare, Sam Williams, Myjai Sanders, and DeAngelo Malone all had standout moments.

On the interior Perrion Winfrey, Neil Farrell Jr, and Devonte Wyatt were added to the list of impressive defensive linemen. They were good this week, and many are helping their draft stock as a result.

The Standout Offensive Line

The offensive line at this particular Senior Bowl struggled. Bernhard Raimann and Daniel Faalele were thought to be top prospects coming into this week but did not live up to that billing. There was plenty to be worried about from both of those guys this week. A lot of their problems on tape were exacerbated in the one-on-ones at the Senior Bowl, but they never picked it up in the team period, either.

Trevor Penning from Northern Iowa was up and down. The aggression he showcased was delightful. Penning has a real mean streak and it’s appreciated. There are many things that he struggled with, though, especially power and hand placement. He will have to work on that at the next level, and the first-round hype might be a bit much. However, there are tools there.

Max Mitchell, Dylan Parham, Cole Strange, Zion Johnson, and Darian Kinnard all had a good week. These were the five that stood out in a good way and helped their stock by being down in Mobile. If these guys can continue a strong process, expect their stocks to rise.

Linebackers Show Out Deep

Coming into Mobile, it was clear that many of the linebackers here could have a good week. So, it was not surprising to see guys have good weeks, but it seemed like every single one of them stood out in some way. However, there were a few that rose above that crop.

Darrian Beavers, Troy Anderson, Chad Muma, Damone Clark, Brian Asamoah, and Channing Tindall had great weeks. Beavers’ blend of range and pass-rush skills were delightful to watch. Anderson’s coverage ability was heavily underrated coming in and he proved it. Muma shot gaps all week in run defense and was quick enough to make plays in coverage. Clark’s tools were on display and he flashed. Asamoah may have been the best linebacker down here. His range, explosiveness, and fluid hips are amazing. Tindall is physical and flies around with reckless abandonment.

It all comes together to create a really exciting group of linebackers that teams should be excited to learn about and get to know even more about.


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