For the first time ever, I watched the entire Senior Bowl game and was entertained from start to finish. I’m no scout or analyst (as is obvious from my waffling tendencies on this blog) but am a fan of the NFL and more so of the Cleveland Browns.
I watched the game through the eyes of a Browns fan and as such spent most of my time watching the offensive players, as that’s what they need most, in my opinion, this off-season. I’m gutted that I didn’t get to watch the week leading up to the game as that would have given me more insight into the players involved — I’ll have to go back and watch it if GamePass gives me that option…which I doubt.
As far as I can see, the Browns are still in need of a lot before they can become the contenders we’re all desperate for them to be. On offence they need a young QB that they can sit behind a veteran for a couple of seasons (I’ve not totally given up on DeShone Kizer as he was thrown into an impossible position in 2017), a WR or two, an RB to complement the brilliant Duke Johnson and help at both OT spots as it seems pretty clear to me that the legendary Joe Thomas isn’t coming back and the RT spot continues to be a problem area.
So, who did this fan like the look of in the Senior Bowl this year?
Impressive Senior Bowl Players
QB, Josh Allen, Wyoming – Josh Allen appears to be stealing all the limelight from the other top QB prospects in this years NFL draft, at the moment, and his performance in the Senior Bowl will have done nothing to dampen that.
He split time with Baker Mayfield in the first half and, to be honest, neither of them looked great. For Allen, this wasn’t a good look after a reported average week leading up to the game.
I thought we’d seen the last of him in the game by the half but when the second half came around he stepped back out onto the field. This was the best thing he and his coaching staff from the Denver Broncos could have done as he came back out and lit it up.
He ended up with 9/13 completions for 158-yards, 2TD’s and 0INT’s and looked good doing it. His pocket-awareness looked good as he didn’t stop looking downfield whilst the pocket was collapsing but still knew when to get the hell out of there many times.
He showed his strong arm off on a few passes but also showed some great touch as he dropped a few passes in over the top of the coverage and into the perfect place for the receiver.
People have questioned his accuracy and likened him to DeShone Kizer (strong arm but has accuracy issues) so I’m not sure the Browns will go for him, although, to me, he looks more composed than Kizer but that could change once he gets into the NFL and starts playing against the big boys.
Just for the record, Baker Mayfield left the stadium at the half, I assume to go and be with his mum in the hospital again. Make of that what you will but I assume the haters will use it as a question over his commitment to his career, future employer and the game once he gets paid.
The NFL compiled a nice little Tweet showing some of Josh Allen’s performance:
RB, Rashaad Penny, San Diego State – Rashaad Penny was definitely the star of the show in terms of running backs and will have done a lot to strengthen his argument for being an early pick.
He racked up a 7.1-yards average as he ran 9 times for 64-yards and looked good doing it.
I’ve seen reports that he’s not much in the passing game (not that that would bother me as we have Duuuuke!) but he did a good job of showing that could be a nonsense and could be because he just wasn’t utilised that much in that part of San Diego States game. He did only catch the one pass but then could it to the house for a 73-yard TD.
I like his size at 5’11”, 224lbs and he looks like he could be a great workhorse back to take over from Isaiah Crowell in 2018.
If the Browns don’t pull the trigger at #1 or #4 (if he’s still there at #4) on Saquon Barkley or a little later on Derrius Guice or Ronald Jones II, then I’d be more than happy for them to go get Penny. Not only does he look like he could be a good NFL running back, but he’s also dangerous as a kick returner, which is a big bonus.
QB, Mike White, Western Kentucky – I must admit that I didn’t know much about Mike White before the Senior Bowl week but from what I saw I’ve decided I like him as a mid-round pickup for the Cleveland Browns. They’ll probably take a QB in the first round but I don’t see anything wrong with taking another one in the mid area of the process as well.
During my time, up until just before the Senior Bowl, of doing mock drafts on Fanspeak, I was able to grab White as late as the 5th round no matter how I set up the programme with regards to where it got its data. If they could pick him up in the 4th round for real, well, that would be great.
The Tweets below show a couple of his throws from the game:
During his spell in the game, Mike White threw for 8/11, 128-yards and 1TD and looked good.
Earlier in the week, I put GamePass on and I saw White chatting with the guys in the commentary booth (Mike Mayock and Charles Davis) as they tried to throw a quick test at him. He passed with flying colours and Mayock seemed impressed. He came across as relaxed, confident and smart, which is good for a future NFL QB.
QB, Kyle Lauletta, Richmond – Yeah, I know, another QB, but let’s be honest, the Browns need one.
Before this game, I didn’t know about Lauletta but now I do. I doubt he’ll go in anything other than a mid- to low-round as I’ve seen scout reports claiming he has issues with medium to long passes.
At 6’3″ and 9 5/8 hands, he’s a good size, and his 8/12 for 198-yards with 3TD’s won’t have done him any harm.
The Senior Bowl is just one game and I’m sure most/all teams will already have a good idea with regards to their draft boards, but a performance like his in this game will make teams look closer at him during the combine.
Not So Impressive Senior Bowl Player
OL, Alex Cappa, Humboldt State – With the likelihood that Joe Thomas won’t be coming back to play for the Browns after his muscle tear injury of 2017 and the seeming inability to find a good, solid RT, I thought I’d go look to see if there were any small-school prospects out there that the team could pick up in a later round of the draft.
A name that kept cropping up was that of Alex Cappa from division 2 school, Humboldt. He’s, apparently, a nasty player who plays hard and through the whistle with a mean attitude. Ok, I thought, sounds good to me, I’ll watch him for a bit during the game. I’d watched footage of him from his play in college and he looked good. He started the Senior Bowl and LG and looked decent but then he slipped out to LT for a series or two and, to be honest, he looked lost and got embarrassed on a play by the speedy edge rusher (I think it was Ogbonnia Okoronkwo) and then again after he’d shifted to RG by a spin move made by the defensive lineman. Cappa didn’t know what had just happened he got beat so quickly.
I get the impression he performed well during the week in practices leading to the game and people seem to like his tape, but I wasn’t as impressed as many are (I’m sure he’d be gutted to hear that…not). He did look a lot better in run-blocking than he did in pass-blocking, I must admit, and I’d say he’d be a better fit at guard than tackle in the NFL.
I’m sure there were a lot more players who did themselves good and more that didn’t do themselves good, as far as their draft-stock goes, but, like I say, I’m not a scout and don’t have hour after hour of paid time to watch these games and their prospects so that’s what I mainly came away with from the game.
Other Players of Note
RB, Kalen Ballage, Arizona State – Ballage looked good with some nice, consistent running and he would appear to not be afraid to lower his shoulder and finish off a run aggressively against the tackling defender. At 6’2″ and 222lbs, he’s got decent size to do that. He might be one to watch out for at the combine and later in the draft.
WR, D.J. Chark, LSU – Chark got quite a few mentions during the game and he did look like a good receiver. He came away from the game with 5 receptions for 160-yards and a 75-yard TD — not a bad day at the office. It’s Chark in the first of the Twitter posts I posted above in the Mike White section for the 75-yard TD.
WR, Michael Gallup, Colorado State – The best receiver on the North team, Gallup had 3 receptions for 60-yards. Apparently, Gallup has good speed and runs like a running back once he has the ball in his hands.
Anyway, that’s what this NFL fan picked out from watching the Senior Bowl once through with regards to what the Cleveland Browns might need from the 2018 NFL Draft.
What did you see and which player(s) did you like the look of for your team and its needs? As always, should you feel inclined to do so, let us know in the comments below.