So I am not sure if I’ve mentioned this on the blog before but I am a recovered NFL Draft nerd. I guess I just like the research/analysis part and then getting to take a guess based on it. It started when I was a Sr. in high school and had a ton of time on my hands to be honest. I’m no longer into it even close as much as I used to be, but I still like to pop in and out this time of year, learn the big names and those of a couple of sleepers, and have some talking points should such a conversation arise at a bar or function.
One overlooked and sort of not as recognized part of the draft process is what is referred to very unofficially as “pre-draft” activities. The combine is the most well known part but I almost consider that as a beast of its own. There are actually a couple of additional “all star” games that take place. Leading up to these games are about a week of practices which are arguably even more important than the games as scouts can really view a players skill-set in a competitive setting but out of the chaos of a football game. Both of these games (there may be more, I don’t know them), the Senior Bowl and the East-West Shrine Game, are open to those who are four years removed from H.S, Seniors and redshirt Juniors. The East-West Game also actually allows Canadian college players to come play as well, which is cool. These games are designed for players who think that some extra burn in front of scouts can really elevate their “draft stock” or get them drafted in general. Therefore, you’ll see a lot of players from smaller schools attend to get some eyes on them.
The Senior Bowl occurred last week so let’s break down some names that stood out, for better or for worse……
Daniel Jones, QB, Duke – Now that Justin Hebert has decided to go back to school like an IDIOT, WHAT AN IDIOT, there is a battle to be the top QB in this draft. While a lot of folks anointed Dwayne Haskins after he declared. Jones Senior Bowl performance may have put him over. He has ideal size and arm strength and seems like he’ll translate into a “pro’s pro” when it comes to preparation.
Montez Sweat, Pass Rusher, Mississippi St. – He has a beast first step to go with size, length, and agility. He probably broke into the top 20 with this performance as he was already a 1st rounder before this.
Deebo Samuel, WR, South Carolina – Samuel is a brick shithouse of a WR who is now being looked at as having solid complimentary receiver potential in the NFL. In a passing league that requires more than one option, Samuel will be an appetizing 3rd-5th round pick. His build should often help him block in the running game, something a lot of teams are now leaning on their receivers to do more as they deploy 4 at a time.
Will Grier, QB, West Virginia – This is the only one I got for this. Will Grier just looked like shit, which sucks. I loved watching him in college but he has a Pennington-esque noodle arm.
So that’s it. I hope it distracts you from nothing important happening this weekend. Stay calm my friends.