The North team prevailed 34-24 in the 70th edition of the prestigious Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama with several NFL prospects saving their most impressive performances of the week for the game, itself.
The conclusion of the game marks the real beginning of NFL draft season as this was the final bit of actual football to take place before the medicals, interviews and workouts over the next three months lead up to the 2019 NFL draft.
There will be plenty of analysis of the game and its prospects in the weeks ahead but here is a list of 10 prospects (listed alphabetically) who made favorable impressions upon first viewing.
Nasir Adderley, FS/CB, Delaware
Despite the fact that he played his college ball against the likes of powerhouses such as Stony Brook, Elon and New Hampshire, Adderley entered this week already well on the radar of NFL scouts, projecting as possible first round pick. Any doubt of that may have been erased this week as he was the best defensive back on the field for either team and that transferred to the game, itself, with Adderley collecting the 11th interception of his storied college career and racing in to provide reliable open-field tackles. Adderley showed instincts and reliable hands on the interception, reading the eyes of Buffalo quarterback Tyree Jackson (another standout from this game) but I was just as impressed by the awareness and physicality he showed as a tackler in the game and in fighting through this screen during practice.
Corey Ballentine, CB, Washburn
Ballentine caught my attention with his closing speed during Tuesday’s practice and that same aggressive athleticism flashed during the game itself. He was called for pass interference on the clip below but played the ball as most NFL coaches would prefer, using his terrific length and body control to envelop the receiver and throttle the passing lane.
Jordan Brown, CB, South Dakota State
Overshadowed throughout the week of practice by the many more recognizable names on the Senior Bowl rosters, Brown delivered on game day, breaking up at least two passes, including one against top-rated wideout Deebo Samuel in the first half. Brown combines above average size (6-0 and ¾”, 199 pounds) with good overall athleticism, including a late burst to close and terrific hand-eye coordination to slap the ball away without drawing the flag. Brown did not finish the game as impressive as he began it, getting beaten for a late touchdown by West Virginia’s David Sills IV.
Nate Davis, OG, Charlotte
In part due to his terrific natural knee bend and raw power, Davis earned a surprising amount of attention by the NFL Network’s coverage crew during the game – at least for an interior offensive lineman. By keeping his butt down and firing off the snap, Davis generates explosive power to move defenders off the line in the running game and yet is surprisingly agile laterally to mirror pass rushers, as well. Davis is a top 100 contender and future NFL starter.
Alec Ingold, FB, Wisconsin
A peel back block of Stanford linebacker Bobby Okereke made all of the highlights (including the one below) but it was the variety of different roles Ingold played in this game that could make him a rare draftable fullback. Those paying attention to Ingold in this contest saw him show surprising lateral agility and balance to adjust to defenders downfield, proving that he is not just your typical human sledgehammer.
Andy Isabella, WR, Massachusetts
For players to truly move the meter in terms of their NFL draft stock during an all-star game they need to surprise scouts who are already familiar with their game. Anyone who watched Isabella go for 219 receiving yards and two scores – including a 75-yarder – against Georgia in 2018 knows that he possesses terrific agility and straight-line speed, even going so far as to tell reporters this week that he’d once been clocked as fast as 4.26 seconds in the 40-yard dash. Where Isabella may have boosted his cause the most this week is proving much stronger at a rock-solid 186 pounds than his height (just under 5-09) and school boy mug shot would suggest.
Tyree Jackson, QB, Buffalo
Built more like a tight end than a quarterback at an imposing 6-7, 249 pounds, Jackson drew plenty of interest from scouts throughout the week of practice. While boasting a monster arm to go along with his rare size, Jackson’s inconsistent throwing motion and accuracy made him appear quite a project in comparison to the other, more polished passers competing this week. During the game, itself, however, Jackson’s exciting upside shined brightly, including on a 54-yard bomb deep down the right sideline, an 11-yard scramble and a picture-perfect quick slant for a touchdown to culminate his first drive of the game. He also showed nice touch on a back-shoulder fade for a touchdown to West Virginia’s David Sills in the closing moments of the game. The first touchdown was arguably the most impressive throw of the week for Jackson as he correctly read the defense, sped up his release and delivered a strike.
Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
Lock has maintained his position as my top-rated senior passer all year long and nothing he did during the week of practice or game changed that opinion. He has the strongest and most accurate arm of any of the passers in Mobile this week and plays with the gunslinger mentality needed to continue his success in the NFL, showing the confidence to test tight windows, as well as improvisational ability.
Charles Omenihu, DE, Texas
Twitchy, long-armed and powerful, Omenihu checks as many boxes as perhaps any prospect playing in the 70th edition of the annual Senior Bowl. He was certainly among the most active, registering two tackles for loss (including a sack after initially being double-teamed) and a forced fumble. The issue for scouts is why did it take the supremely gifted Omenihu until his senior season to become a standout with his tackle for loss (18) and sacks (9.5) in 2018 exceeding his production from the previous three years combined.
Dalton Risner, OT, Kansas State
Last on the list alphabetically but certainly not in ranking, one could make the argument that Risner enjoyed the best performance of any player in this year’s Senior Bowl, virtually erasing top-rated prospect Montez Sweat and a host of other talented pass rushers in this game and generating some of the game’s best runs with physical blocks. The fact that Risner played so well against Sweat is impressive as the Bulldogs and Wildcats faced off earlier with the former struggling, at times, with latter’s blend of burst, bend and power. Risner played this week like a man possessed, showing the combination of balance, toughness, power and underrated athleticism that may very well earn him a first round selection.